You've started your business, shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears to build and make it profitable, now how do you protect it?
"Nobody will want to buy a company that's been ravished by a crisis. Safeguard your investment by assuring that no calamity is fatal to the value of your business. Start a dialog with your family, even if your spouse and children are part of the organization, everyone needs to be on the same page.
Candor and transparency are keys here. Nobody wants to be surprised. By starting a dialog, it sets up a communication process that will last until it's time to transition. The results will lead to less drama, more confidence, and increased wealth. Be flexible (things change). Create a plan, put a crisis team in place."
Inspired by the wildfires this season, I've remixed the content provided by Dan Weedin. Dan provides excellent tips in his Lynda.com course titled "Protecting Profitability by Reducing Financial Risk"
Why form a Crisis Team?
The number one reason for forming a crisis team is to have a group of smart people, ready to collaborate and help the company deal with a crisis that could cause irreparable harm. One or two people can't possibly deal with significant issues as well as a group of people with distinct talents that have been trained. The ultimate reason for forming a team is to save time, frustration, money, and reputation.
Who should be on this team?
Your crisis team should be made up of a combination of internal and external people who represent the primary needs of the company, people, operations, liability, and money.
Internally team members should include heads from the departments of:
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
Have a note taker as well
Assign the role of scribe to one person. They should be detail oriented and able to manage chaos as well.
This role is important because at some point after the event, the team will debrief and see what they did well, and what could be improved. Without notes, they will be forced to try and recall things that happened. The other critical reason for having a scribe is if you end up in court because someone was injured, the actions under fire will be scrutinized and your documentation will be important.
Consult with outside experts like an:
- Insurance broker
- Independent claims expert
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How can you optimize the talent of your crisis team?
Have them meet monthly (or at least regularly) for 90 minutes to discuss crises and events found in the news. Issues like workplace violence, employee lawsuits, building security, cyber-attacks, and social media perils can be discussed. The team should also be tasked with the creation of the business continuity plan, the running of crisis simulation exercises, and with advising leadership on areas of concern.
A small group of smart people that bring expertise and are trained to deal with crisis, will save your company gobs of money when faced with one. The investment of time will be well worth it when the recovery time is accelerated, and your loss mitigated.