ADPR Insightglobal PRTop TipsWork 06.12.2022

Perfect PR in a storm | How to protect your business and people from a crisis

Nobody likes to think about a crisis happening, but most business owners will know the importance of having a plan in place (just in-case). Yet the reality is that only one in four companies admit to having one!

Whilst the word, ‘crisis’, tends to lead to thoughts of catastrophic events, for most businesses a crisis usually involves things like financial problems, negative social media comments, technology failures, disgruntled staff or service and product issues.

Make no mistake, these seemingly minor problems can escalate very quickly. At best, dealing with them will take up a lot of time, energy and money. At worst, they have the power to severely damage your company’s reputation.

UK SMEs spend on average £8.8 billion trying to rectify business crises and it’s a known fact that 70% of smaller companies will go out of business within just one year of experiencing a crisis.

The last two years have certainly shown just how quickly and unexpectedly a crisis can happen. Whilst it’s impossible to predict exactly when, if, or how the next crisis for your business will unfold, don’t let it catch you unaware.

The hardest part of planning for a crisis is knowing where to start, so here’s our top tips for creating a robust crisis action plan:

Ask questions

Essentially, crisis planning is the process of asking a series of straightforward questions, answering them, documenting them and communicating with your team.

It’s essential to consider the following:

  1. What could go wrong?
  2. What will the impact be on the business?
  3. What action should you be taking?
  4. Who do you need to tell?

A stack of thick folders on a white surface

Involve your team

It’s important to involve your team in crisis planning. They are often on the front line and may well be able to identify potential threats that you haven’t thought of.

group of people sitting beside rectangular wooden table with laptops

Plan for the worst

When considering the things that could go wrong within your business, don’t be afraid to delve into worst case scenarios. Remember that your plan is all about preparing for the worst, not about expecting it.

Only when you know what could happen, does it become easier to know what to put in place to prevent it from doing so.

turned off laptop computer on top of brown wooden table

Allocate leaders

The best plan in the world will struggle to be effective without good people in place to execute it. Always think about the best placed person or people to lead your business through a crisis.

Our recommendation is to select a small crisis task force to lead the way. You will most likely need a variety of different skill sets – from marketing and HR, to finance, IT and spokespeople.

person holding pen writing on paper

Keep your plan alive

The biggest tip we can offer is to never cross crisis planning off the ‘to do’ list. Having a plan is one thing, but real peace of mind starts from knowing it’s actually going to work.

Never allow your hard work to gather dust! Review your plan at least once a month to check it is up-to-date and tweak it as often as you need to.

white desk clock near pen and book

If you’d like a more in-depth step-by-step guide to managing a crisis, download our free Crisis Management 101 guide where we walk you through everything you need to know. We also offer a crisis management planning service for just £495 if you’d rather leave it to our team of experts!

You may also like to listen to the following episodes of our ‘Revitalise & Grow’ podcast:

Season 1, episode 6: How to manage a PR crisis

Season 5, episode 5: Why you should plan to fail