People define crisis in different ways and having a business crisis can therefore hold different levels of severity for different people. It is important that you have a process in place that will help you to deal with problems that occur in your business so that resolution will occur at the earliest possible time.
When you are dealing with a crisis you will need to do a number of things in order to come up with the best plan to deal with it:
- Clearly define the problem - Do not let high emotions take you down the wrong path. It is best if you can actually write the problem down on paper or on a flipchart so that everyone who is involved will understand what you are dealing with.
- Gather as much information as possible about the problem - Say, for example, that your business has had a fire, You will need to know exactly how extensive the damage is before you can make any decisions about how you will move forward.
- Set up a team of individuals who will be able to come up with options - This is a brainstorming time where everyone is encouraged to state all of the things that could be done. Every idea, no matter how impossible or impractical it might seem at the time, is respected. Write all the options down for consideration.
- Consult with experts - Make sure that you talk with people who have had experience and training in the problem area that you are facing. Do you need information about finances, product development, facilities, administration or another field of business?
- Set a trial period to try a solution - You do not have to choose something that will be in place forever. Consider setting up implementation of your ideas in stages so that you can try new things, monitor the results and then move on to another stage.
- Choose a solution for the problem that you believe is best - Remember, if you are a solo professional, you make the final decision and take responsibility for the outcome so choose wisely.
- Begin the operationalization of the plan - Assign duties and clearly outline what is expected. Make sure that the person or people involved know that they can consult with you regarding progress and/or future difficulties at any time.
8 Set up a debriefing - You will need to monitor progress and make adjustments if necessary, along the way.
Often what at first appears to be a crisis, becomes a difficult problem that is resolved quickly. You may even find that the crisis results in an improvement in an area that might not otherwise have been noticed.