Tip of the Week: How to Adapt to a Business Disaster
“Stuff” happens. While this may not be the kind of thing you want to consider in terms of your business’ operations, it is something that must be done if you want to be prepared for the moment when all of that “stuff” hits the fan (as so many businesses are now learning firsthand). We wanted to share a few best practices and tips to help you stay positive during this, and other, serious crises.
1. Keep Your Team Involved
Your team is going to be one of—if not the—the most vital resources you have during any crisis. Therefore, your ability to remain positive amidst a disaster event is going to be strongly influenced by how you work with the other people in the office, even if you’re not actually in the office.
Keep everyone in the loop… as appropriate.
Too many people naturally respond to a crisis by falling back and withholding as much information as possible. Don’t do this. All this will do is encourage rumors to start (distracting from the productivity you are trying to salvage) as well as prevent you from communicating with your team effectively.
Having said that, there is a difference between keeping your team apprised of how things are going, and oversharing. If something shouldn’t be disclosed to the team, or you are unprepared to give a complete enough answer to them, tell them that. While remaining honest and straightforward with your team is important, sharing incomplete information or private matters is not the way to go about it.
Lead by example.
Your team is apt to internalize some of your actions as a leader and interpret them as the way that the business is to operate in troublesome times. While some adjustments must be made in response to any circumstance—many on the fly—you also need to show that you have some control of the situation. Make sure that you are seeing to all your usual responsibilities as the boss, in addition to whatever your circumstances have thrown on your plate. Your employees may just do the same.
Believe in your employees.
Consider the talent you currently have employed at your business. Once you have figured out what can be done to handle a situation, assign elements of that plan to the people that you know have the capability to handle it. Lean on their talents—after all, they are there to support you.
2. Adjust Your Operations
It only stands to reason that any emergency or disaster will require some level of modification to your processes. While it may be too late to do this now, it is generally best to consider these modifications proactively.
Figure out where you stand.
Here’s the thing: you aren’t going to be able to make the necessary alterations to your business’ processes without some understanding of how the situation specifically applies to your business. Identifying what would happen—or is actively happening—and what impact it will have allows you to better predict how your operations will be influenced. This enables you to come up with alternatives to put into action.
Ask yourself the tough questions.
Once you have an idea of what to expect, figuring out how to mitigate these expectations will require you to make some tough, but necessary, choices. Start with the simpler ones, such as who will take on certain roles if the usual person gets sick or whether you will reduce the times your business is open.
After that has been established, move to the bigger, tougher considerations; like, how you can help your staff and clients if they are in a jam, or how long your business could last if a shutdown became necessary.
Adapt as you can to the situation.
You may find that you have other options available to preserve your operations. For instance, remote work (whether that’s from home or in shared workspaces) has been a standard practice in many industries and has seen quite the burst in popularity lately. You can also shift products you may sell in a storefront to an online store, allowing you to maintain some source of incoming cash flow.
3. Stay Positive
If your business is to have any chance of survival, however, you need to make sure that you and your team are in the right mindset as these preparations are put into place.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Borrowing from the meme (itself derived from an unused British propaganda poster from World War II), the best thing that you and your team can do during a crisis event is to try to maintain as much of a sense of normalcy as possible. Reach out to your friends and family, do something that you enjoy. Even something as simple as watching a goofy comedy can help. Pick up a new hobby, spend more time with a pet… or, if it’s something you’ve been seriously considering, adopt a four-legged best friend from a local shelter. Our current situation likely gives you plenty of time to spend training them, after all.
Do What You Can to Help
If there is something you can do to contribute during your free time (which many people have quite a lot of, nowadays), why not do that? Write messages to people who are separated from their families, drop off a meal for people you know are having a rough time, or bust out a needle and thread to sew whatever supplies are needed. While it may not seem like much, a lot of people each doing a little can accomplish big things.
Source your news responsibly.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who are using today’s technology to spread untruths and falsehoods around. While it is often the case in disasters for misinformation to spread, the access we are all granted today makes it far easier for scams and conspiracy theories to gain traction. Stick to established, trusted news sources for your information. Even if the news doesn’t make you feel better, you’ll at least know that it can be verified and you are getting the right information.
At Directive, we are committed to helping you use your technology for the betterment of your business—including helping it to survive through these kinds of circumstances. Give us a call at 607.433.2200 to learn more, and please stay safe.