Friday, November 10, 2006

Top ways of coping with crisis in your business

No matter how big or small your business, there will be times when you may think that your number is up and you wont be open for business come next week. Perhaps you’ve just loss a big account or two of your biggest customers have gone to the competition. Its times like these that really tests your resolve and its up to you and your team to ensure that all your hard work is not going to waste and the trust your clients have invested in you will be preserved.

So what do you do when your back is against the wall, the unpaid invoices are piling up, the bank is calling for the third time today, but you are not yet ready to give it all up?

1. When you're running a business in a situation like this, you have to pay attention to people.

You have to pay attention to the fact that something horrible has happened, and you've got to run a business. You know, we're not Old Mutual -- we're 50 people, and we're a family. If you don't acknowledge people's needs, you risk hurting that family.

2. Don’t start blaming one another.

Blame is one of the easiest things to dish out, especially when times are tough. It won’t get you anywhere and it won’t resolve the issues at hand. Stay together and make the best use of all the resources (including people) that you have at this point.

3. Resuming business.

Make sure your business opens its doors in the morning. Get everyone together and talk about what’s going on and how to get past it.

4. Make decisions together on upcoming projects.

You are where you are, possible because you don’t know as much as you thought you did and your way - just maybe - isn’t the best way. Listen to those ideas you always brushed aside. Consider the outrageous plans and give the shy guy in the corner an opportunity to air his views.

5. Learn from survivors as resource people on how to cope.

There may be a number of people on your team who has been in this situation before. Listen to them and learn from their mistakes.

6. Get a consensus.

While there may be disagreement about what to do next, ensure that you get agreement about what to do next. Every one may be feeling vulnerable, ensure that you get agreement from everyone involved.

7. How do you carry on at such a time?

It isn't easy. Allow for a period of mourning. Don't celebrate, but life doesn't stop.

8. Contact your customers and clients as people.

Decide early on to contact all your customers, just to make contact on a human level. It helps to know that people are there for you and may stand by you in tough times.

9. Offer personal help.

There may be some members of the team that see themselves as the reason for your failure. Make sure that they get some attention even if you agree with their view.

10. Understand we're all in this together. Foster unity and build unity.

People want to go on -- they don't want to give up. Use this feeling of unity to forge a path for the future.


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