When you are trying to pull yourself back up from a natural disaster as a business owner, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. So many businesses die because they failed to make a business continuity plan (BCP).
New business owners don’t actually realize what a BCP is. They think that it’s something they can transfer off to an insurance company or outsource this service to a consultancy.
Both of these ideas are valid, but they are not the best solution. You need to have an internal BCP so that you can activate it when you need to, your management knows what to do and you will know how many resources you need to get back online.
A CCP is your first port of call
The very first thing you need to get right is your crisis communication plan (CCP). What this does is let all your relevant employees i.e. your managers, your external stakeholders such as investors, and your executive team i.e. c-suite, that you have activated your BCP. The type of communication you need to do is varied.
A phone call is usually best for your executive team. Speaking with them, letting them know what is going on is vital. Email is preferable for your management, giving them details of the initial tasks they need to do.
A formal activation letter of your BCP is what you need to give to your external stakeholders. This will let them know what the BCP is for, what it consists of, and what else you will do after the initial phases are complete.
You need to speak with the media
No business does well when it is leaving the media in the dark. How bad would it look if when the servers of Apple went down, causing panic among customers who have lost their data and cannot log in to their accounts, and the CEO of Apple doesn’t speak with the media? It just looks awful and gives off the image that no one is in charge. Panic will only grow and grow the more media silence there is.
So, be prepared to answer questions from the media and let them know what you are doing. CEOs often go to a media training school or hire a media expert to give them the training they need to behave correctly and say the right things during a crisis.
Saving your business’ reputation
Part of the BCP and the CCP will be for saving your reputation. These sorts of things will include what you will do to make up for any panic and loss you have caused customers. Work with a reputation management agency to find out what kind of improvements you can make in this regard. You may need to give discounts to customers, have a sale campaign sooner than expected, or perhaps write a heartfelt letter to all stakeholders, apologizing and telling them what you will do to improve.
These are the kind of things you should put in your BCP to save your business from further harm and reputational damage. Can you think of any others?