A Sign of Change: Is Your Business Ready for a Crisis?

As I was driving past a gas station recently, I glanced up at a sign that displayed the gas price. In a split second, the LED numbers blinked, and the price changed. It made me realize that in the blink of an eye, life can change just like that sign—and so can business. Sometimes that change is a great opportunity; sometimes it’s a crisis that needs attention when it happens.

In business, a crisis can happen, and if you are in business long enough, it probably will happen regardless of the size and type of business. No business is immune to a crisis. Now, with social media in the mix, a crisis can happen at the push of a button.

An article posted by Nicole Castro from the Public Relations Society of America on the PRSAY® blog, Friday Five: PR Crisis: What Makes a Brand Sink or Swim , looks at companies that recently have had social media crises, or are still going through one, and how they prevailed.

A crisis is defined as a situation or problem that puts your business in danger of ruining your company’s reputation. Only your company can define what a crisis is for your business.

Are you prepared? Do you have a strategy, or do you think that the business is running like a well-oiled machine and nothing will change the daily grind? If you made it through the recession, maybe you figure nothing can rattle you now.

Tough economic times are only one type of crisis, however; you need to have a plan for anything that could go awry. What would happen, for example,  if you placed a large custom order for a customer, and then their check bounced? Or if the contractor you depended on to finish an important job suddenly quit?

We have seen problems happen with our clients that put them—and us—into crisis mode. We have to be ready to communicate and decide when to act, how to act, what methods of communications will be used, when to communicate and how quickly. Timing is everything.

While you don’t want to be complacent and bury your head in the sand, you certainly don’t want to go into the “sky is falling” mode either. Communication is key. There needs to be a strategy. Your business can benefit from a firm that specializes in crisis communications.

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