Crisis Management for Small Business

Erik Bernstein crisis communications, crisis management, crisis preparation, Crisis Prevention, crisis public relations, Crisis Response, public relations, reputation management, social media Leave a Comment

Everyone faces crises, take this advice to make it through

It’s easy for small business owners to become lax in their crisis management. The constant appearance of multinational corporations’ troubles on the front page may lull them into a sense of complacency, assuming that their single shop or small chain is simply too small for a crisis.

That type of complacency, however, is the very thing that opens up gaps for reputation damage to slip through, especially with the ease and pervasiveness of social reviewing. Too much of that, and your entire business could be in jeopardy.

In an interview with Platform Magazine’s Margaret Bishop, BCM President Jonathan Bernstein suggested that small business owners and managers follow his “Three C’s of Credibility in Crises,” to help them navigate anything from an upset customer to a spate of food poisonings:

Be confident

Small business owners and managers usually have the additional responsibility of maintaining their image through personal PR efforts. When managing a crisis, it’s important for owners and managers to be confident in their business, employees and mission. It’s okay (and encouraged) to admit when you’re wrong, but don’t admit so many faults that you begin to belittle your business.

Be competent

Owners and managers alike need to remember to be competent when dealing with crisis management. Admit the mistake, correct it and make sure to minimize the chance of the mistake happening again. Bernstein encourages owners and managers to be honest and proactive. “Stay in communication with your customers until you are sure that they are pleased with the results,” Bernstein said.

Be compassionate

Bernstein emphasizes that being compassionate is the most important part of managing a crisis. “If you aren’t compassionate, people are less likely to hear what you have to say,” Bernstein said. It’s important for managers and owners to show empathy toward their customers when a crisis occurs, and to be understanding throughout the situation.

These aren’t magical rules found inscribed on a cave wall somewhere, but rather some bits of simple common sense. Keep pride in your business, do your job well, and have compassion for others as you’d like them to have for you. Take those lessons to heart, and your reputation will flourish.

The BCM Blogging Team

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