The roots of a business crisis can be many and varied – from a simple downturn in the country’s economy to a mistake made by one of your employees; from your suppliers raising their prices to new competition rolling into town and stealing your customers. Crises happen when you are a business owner and in order to be a successful one, you will need to know how to handle them. This is something that requires a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of expertise. The good news is that with some careful maneuvering, you will most likely be able to navigate it in a way that leaves your business unscathed.
Identifying the Cause
Every crisis management process will need to start from identifying the cause of the said crisis. Like we already mentioned, sometimes the cause is something that is out of your control. For instance, if the cause is the fact that the economic situation in your country has worsened dramatically, there is pretty much nothing you can do about the actual cause. In other situations, the cause can be identified as something you or someone who works for you did. This will both help you handle the crisis and ensure that same mistakes are not made in the future.
Planning the Action
Identifying the cause of the crisis will signal that the time has come for you to start thinking of ways in which you can take care of the crisis. You will need to make an overview of the consequences, ways in which you can use your people and your own skills, as well as your resources. You will also need to come up with a timetable that should indicate when you should do what. Furthermore, you might want to think strategically and consider the big picture. Perhaps this crisis is the perfect opportunity to make necessary changes in running your business.
Making the Tough Choices
Time of crisis is often the time when a business owner needs to make some very tough choices. This may include letting some people go, especially if they were responsible for the crisis. This may also include outsourcing certain parts of the operation. This may also involve facing insolvency and even bankruptcy which is the last thing you want your business to face. If such dire times come, it is important you do everything to try and handle things more proficiency and efficiently. For instance, you might need to use software like Encompass to help you deal with insolvency or make some truly serious cuts to try and keep your business afloat.
Adhering to the Plan
Another very important thing to keep in mind is that you need to stay focused and stick with the plan that you came up with initially. We are not saying that you should blindly follow it if it turns out that there are better ways to do it, but it is also very important that you do not give up on it too quickly. It takes time for a business to dig itself out of the hole and even though things may look very bad, it is quite possible that this is just temporary.
There are two ways in which your handling of the crisis can end. Either your business will be saved and back on track or you will have to consider closing it. Whatever the outcome (hopefully it will be a positive one), it is crucial that you analyze everything you did. You need to look long and hard at what your people have done and how you as a business owner handled this crisis. These are all facts that you may be able to use in the future.
If you remain calm, come up with the best plan possible and apply yourself to putting that plan into motion, you should be able to handle any crisis that might affect your business.