I know that many businesses have had to scramble to figure out how to manage, lead and thrive during this COVID-19 crisis. It’s been super apparent which businesses had a crisis plan in place and were easily able to adapt to the environment, than those that didn’t. So many organizations have been scrambling to figure it out on the fly, and in the meantime they have lost quite a bit of confidence with their customers and they are paying for it with lost sales.

It’s super important to have a crisis plan in place BEFORE the crisis happens. While it’s impossible to know all the variables of the crisis that will impact your business, if you have some sort of plan in place to respond quickly you’ll be in far better shape. Even if the plan requires some adjusting to the actual specific crisis situation, it is so much better than having no plan at all.

Here are some things you can do now to avoid any kind of delay in reaction time when the next crisis surfaces (and you can be sure it will):

1. Identify a single source in which all crisis information will be communicated from. Make sure your company spokesperson has the right skills and training and is the person you are comfortable being the face of your organization.

2. Establish communication platforms. How will you get your message to your customers, quickly, clearly and comprehensively. Identity the channels in which you will distribute all corporate communication and have a plan in place as to how often you will communicate and with what type of messages.

 3. Develop holding statements in advance. You can pre-craft crisis messaging with the flexibility to insert crisis specific information. These holding statements can be approved by senior-level management in advance so that when crisis does break, initial messaging can be swift without a lot of corporate review.

4. Role play various crisis scenarios. Think about how your business functions now. How you generate revenue, how employees interact with customers daily, and what happens if something disrupts the norm? Have specific plans in place to be able to shift to an “alternative” method of doing business – one that may require a shift in how you operate but keeps communication with customers and cash flowing.

I am sure you have learned a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic. I know as a business owner, I sure have. I could not be more impressed with how my team has adapted to our current “new normal” and how we have innovated to remain viable. However, CMOco is a small business and for larger businesses the red tape is more sticky and harder to unravel. So, make sure you have a plan in place!