Small business damage control tactics
Is your business running smoothly? If so, then you may not have given much thought to what might happen if things were to steer off course. It's worth rememering that mistakes, both big and small, are likely to occur at some point, and you need to be prepared for them. In other words, it's important to have a damage control plan in place.
It all boils down to being well prepared and communicating well with both with your employees and clients. In this article, we're going to discuss some of the tactics that you can apply should a problem arise that could potentially damage your business.
Have an immediate response
Be prepared to publish an explanation of what's going on so that everyone is aware of the situation. More importantly, you need to clearly outline the steps you intend to take to put things right and, if necessary, reach out to anyone who may have suffered as a result of the issue. You could do this via an apologetic email or even a call to every customer. It's essential that your clients are aware that fixing the negative experience that they have had with your business is of utmost importance to you.
Try to remain calm
This may be really tough to do, but it’s important that you're seen to remain calm, both in the eyes of your employees and the outside world. If you react calmly, your clients will perceive your situation as something you are capable of dealing with. What's more, your employees may be feeling some of the pressure, so you need to do your best to take care of them during the process too. The right way to communicate is to lead by example; have a plan that you are going to stick to, and make sure you communicate it to everyone concerned. Don’t lay blame on one worker or a group; be prepared to take the responsibility.
Be transparent about the issue
Silence is not the best option in the event of a crisis; choosing to say very little about what is going on with your business, can end up causing damage to your business’s reputation. Be prepared to come forward and inform people in a transparent and honest way so as to maintain the trust of the public, and help mend any damage done. Let people know what happened, how you are taking care of it, and make sure that you appoint someone to respond to any more questions, concerns, and comments.
Identify your stakeholders
As we've explained, it's vital that you have a plan in place, ready for situations like this. So when crisis strikes, you can deal with it quickly and efficiently. Have a list of stakeholders ready. This should include your staff, customers, subscribers etc. You're going to have to reach out to them immediately, so you'll need to have your channels planned out, including social media, email, or even text messages. Remember that news (and particularly bad news) spreads quickly via social media, so you must be prepared with the responses that could save your business and its reputation.
Designate a spokesperson
Not every small business can afford an in-house PR team, but it's essential that you find the right person within your team, with the right communication skills to handle public relations where necessary. Make sure you know who that person is before a crisis even happens, and ensure they're briefed on contingency plans and damage control policy. Having one designated spokesperson to handle your media enquiries, will help you maintain a message that's consistent and clear.
Think about temporarily relocating your business
With a crisis often comes increased expense, so it may be a good idea to consider temporarily moving your business to a smaller location. You may well have a lot of office furniture, equipment and other items that will need to be stored somewhere that's safe and secure; do your research and look around for a cheap self storage solution locally. With a bit of luck, you won't have to wait too long before you can move back to a bigger space again.
Author: Nick Brown
Nick is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged on projects for Media Gurus, an Australian business and marketing resource.