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Crisis Prevention, Planning, and Response

I just got done speaking to a tremendous group of women business owners and executives in New Jersey. They just went through a devastating storm last October that was unprecedented in its impact to communications, transportation, and power loss. We spoke about that storm, as well as other crises that can impact their businesses like – loss of power, data breach, and employee issues.

Here is what I heard loud and clear from them…

  • They want to improve their ability to communicate to employees and customers in a crisis. That means setting up layers of redundancy in case of loss of power, email, cell phones, or whatever other methods are being used.
  • They want a plan that is in place to deal with any crisis that comes around the bend. It must be something that is repeatable, intentional, and practiced.
  • Speaking of practice, most business owners and executives rarely set out practice plans (i.e. fire drills or corporate war game scenarios). How do you know it works if you never practice?

My recommendation is to set up a 3-step process for disaster planning…

Step 1 – Set a budget to include insurance premiums, outside consulting help, technology, and internal controls. This will be different for everyone due to insurance premiums, number of employees, and perils.

Step 2 – Go through disaster and crisis prevention response and planning. Allocate at least 8 hours out of an entire year to do this and re-commit annually.

Step 3 – Buy the insurance, monitor your plan, then relax and do what you do best in your business.

You can drive yourself crazy and easily drift into analysis paralysis if you allow yourself to. Make the process simple and move forward. The problem for most businesses is that they never spend the fraction of the time they need to prepare. Doing this little process by itself may save you tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

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