Small business crisis management starts with strategic communication

This time of crisis brings a need to spend extra time reevaluating our business strategies. This is a critical first step. The world’s major small business service providers like Intuit, Google and banks are already helping their networks of small business advisers offer practical help. I’ve already taken five additional training hours with past week in crisis management coaching and that internal ‘retooling’ will continue. We are scheduling calls each day to discuss strategy to handle the evolving business and financial impact.

If your business financials feel volatile, you’re not alone. News reports this morning of a global recession have already prompted cost-cutting and workforce reduction locally*. Here are some ways business owners can take action now to minimize the financial damage:

  • Business continuity planning: Jot down worst-case scenarios and potential business struggles. Then finalize a plan for dealing with those problems before they arise. This is your guide to moving forward with speed and confidence.
  • Supply continuity planning: This plan will focus on getting all the resources you need from alternative sources, should a vendor cease production.
  • Refine your communication strategy: This should be both internal and external communications, both in person and online, to avoid unintended messaging and focus on the message you want your audience to hear. Decide what you need to tell your customers, investors, employees, and neighbors. Larger organizations should create a chain of command so messaging goes through consistent planned channels.
  • Expand virtual and e-commerce services: If your business relies on face-to-face contact or in- store purchasing, now’s the time to think outside the box. Consider virtual meeting rooms for consults and services and online retail spaces for goods.

The main thing I am focused on this week is talking to people. That means scheduling calls with clients, potential clients, vendors, community leaders and neighbors. As I wrap up this post and hit the “publish” button, I will turn next to my calendar to plan a strategic services of calls and video meetings. If you are reading this, then I’d love to have your input included among these strategy calls.

*Last night I responded to an email request from our local elected leaders and chamber of commerce by offering free assistance completing a preliminary financial impact report for the Small Business Administration free of charge to local businesses. This is intended to bring local financial recovery resources to our community more quickly.


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