7 Steps to Manage a Power Sweeping Business Through a Crisis

There’s too much to do. Taking on a big project that does not immediately contribute to revenue generation doesn’t seem to make sense, and possibly never will. Creating a crisis management plan may appear to be one of those wish list projects. After all, it’s a plan you hope will never be realized. But, it’s like insurance ¬— you hope you’ll never need it, you may have even begrudged what it cost you to have it, but if you find yourself in need of it, it can be the most important advantage you have at that time.
The gamut of possible business crises includes economic disasters, natural disasters, social unrest, terrorist attacks, oil spills, building fires, sabotage, loss of a key company leader, and many other kinds of catastrophes. Maintaining a strong crisis management plan for each different kind of potential disaster can help avoid potentially extreme damage to a company’s financial health and its brand.

Managing Your Power Sweeping Business Through a Crisis

Disaster can happen to any business, at any time. Preparing for managing a crisis is essential to leading your company through a challenging period and on to a successful outcome. Without a practical plan in place, managers are faced with trying to figure out what is right for the future while under the pressure of an extremely stressful, often confused situation, sometimes without enough facts.
Being equipped with the formal guidance a set crisis management plan provides allows everyone involved to understand their roles as leadership navigates through the crisis. Here are seven valuable tips that owners of any size power sweeping company can use to help develop the framework of your own business crisis management plan:

1. Develop a strong crisis leadership team.

Highly effective leadership fosters a company culture of performance excellence and strong values. These attributes serve well to ground your crisis management plan design. These management qualities convey the professionalism of demeanor and relatability of the message that defines your brand in a time of difficulty. A response based on strong company values is naturally more inspiring to the internal team whose motivation to execute the crisis management plan, and more favorable to customers and the community.
Assemble your crisis management team of people in various internal and external disciplines that are most relevant to the situation. Those may include human resource firms, finance, legal services, construction, engineering, public relations, and others. Compromises between these varying viewpoints of this diverse group should be reflected in the finalized plan.

2. Create a practical crisis management plan.

Without a clear plan and leaders that are hesitant to accept responsibility for managing in a crisis, a business is at increased risk of the worst potential consequences in the event of a crisis. Anticipating and planning for the need to lead through a crisis is a standard part of good strategic planning and prudent risk management.
Create a list of all the potential crises that could happen to your organization. Develop a detailed plan that your leadership team can use to direct activities of workers, allocation of resources, and the flow of information throughout the crisis period. The more detailed you make your plan, the more organized and less chaotic the process of managing the business during the crisis will be. Review your crisis management plan periodically, to improve it and update it to reflect new technologies, increased resources, loss of external resources, and other important changes that can affect the execution of the plan in significant positive or negative ways.
In designing your plan, consider how each type of disaster can be expected to impact your company’s employees, customers, vendors, and the surrounding community. Your advance plan may make a difference in the well-being of people involved and in some cases may be responsible for saving or losing your business. So, carefully evaluate the feasibility of your plan, and have it scrutinized by as many knowledgeable people as possible.
Build-in flexibility, emphasizing the need for effective agile responsiveness and improvising as needed in all areas of the plan in cases where reality overwhelms any part of the plan.

3. Train employees to follow the crisis management plan.

As workers perform their daily tasks in the field and the administrative office, they should understand that their role is not just to carry out their usual responsibilities, but also to detect potential issues as they emerge. Employees also need to be empowered to communicate concerns about such developments directly to senior management. The best chance of averting an oncoming crisis is in early recognition of a possible problem, prompt analysis, and quick course correction, or other remedial action.
Employees should clearly understand their roles in the event of an actual disaster. Crisis management planning and training are advanced agile initiatives that improve a team’s readiness, responsiveness, collaborative skills, and confidence. Those are, of course, all valuable upgrades to the everyday workplace dynamic and culture of your power sweeping company.

4. Objectively assess the emerging situation.

When the unexpected arises, focus on putting emotions aside as well as you can, remain calm, and bring all your attention to the critical process of analyzing the situation, identifying the cause of the emergent circumstances, and determining what your first several steps should be over the next hours, and then over the next days, weeks, and months.
By clearly defining the problem, you have taken a large step toward deciding on an immediate course of action toward solving it. Keeping your composure will also model the kind of professionalism you want to encourage your employees to emulate as you and your team begin to coordinate and go forward to manage and ultimately overcome the crisis.

5. Keep all stakeholders frequently updated.

When people are left with a prolonged sense of uncertainty about how a crisis is being managed, years of hard work to build a brand can be lost within days and weeks. On the other hand, when information is shared, people are helped to understand the process the organization is undertaking to manage the situation in an exemplary manner. This generates renewed confidence that your business leadership maintains the professional procedures for successfully managing such issues and any others that might arise in a power sweeping operation.
Maintaining a frequent flow of information updates to employees, customers, suppliers, and other close associates of your company helps keep operations running as smoothly as can be expected during a challenging situation. It avoids having rumors flourishing and leading to employees and others sharing inaccurate reports across social media and elsewhere.

6. Communicate with the public promptly and consistently.

Protecting your brand in a crisis depends on timely and consistent communications with all stakeholders and the general public if the problem extends beyond your business to affect people out in the community. Communications should start with acknowledging the problem, continue with providing updates as additional steps are taken in the process of alleviating the situation, and end with the final phases of implementation of effective solutions.
Sparse, inconsistent, or dishonest information naturally damages a business’s credibility. Develop a thorough set of communications protocols and directives as part of your crisis management plan. Include provisions for information updates to internal and external stakeholders, news media, your company’s website, and social media pages. Designate a social media monitor to respond to posts and users throughout the crisis.

7. Include succession planning.

A fundamental piece of your crisis management plan is laying out a business leadership succession plan. Identify the person who will step into your role and continue operations, if something happened to you suddenly?
Clearly set forth the steps to be taken if you suddenly are unable to perform in your leadership role. The succession plan may direct a transfer of management and/or ownership to a family member, a business partner, an employee, a trustee, or another person, or it may call for the business to be sold. Consult with your attorney to ensure that all legal requirements are met to ensure the validity of your succession plan.
The succession directives and the larger crisis management plan must be established while things are running normally and all parties involved in authoring the plan can concentrate freely and clearly. Advance crisis planning affords your planning team the important advantage of being able to take their time to develop ideal strategies for managing succession or any other kind of crisis.

Conclusion

Even the largest and most well-managed power sweeping businesses can find that a crisis of one kind or another can have a severe impact on profitability. For smaller operators, the risk is even greater, as a lesser impact can cause a devastating effect.
Inadequate business continuity planning and preparation can leave leaders overwhelmed with emergent demands for resources and prevent the rapid and effective response to crisis conditions that are necessary to sustain the organization and its stakeholders through a period of unexpected extreme challenges.
The consequences of insufficient preparedness for crisis management naturally can include a negative impact on the ability to meet customers’ needs, reduced revenues, employee attrition, work stoppages due to impacted systems and processes, serious issues with vendors, loss of profits, and brand damage.
The above list of seven basic preparatory strategies can serve as a general guide to position or partially position your power sweeping business to weather a crisis of most any internal or external kind. However, in case of an event that extensively damages or destroys the physical housing and assets of the company, an additional continuity plan that provides for moving some administrative and dispatching functions to alternative locations and networks is necessary to cover disaster management for all forms of prolonged crisis conditions.
As you design a crisis management plan for your power sweeping business, ask for a lot of input from industry peers, other business management experts, your leadership team, your field, and administrative staff, customers, information technology and telecommunications services experts, lenders, financial managers, your attorney, and any others who may be able to contribute well to the process.
Remember, of course, that coming through a crisis with the least possible lasting negative impact on your business depends on both the robustness of your formal crisis management plan and its appropriate fit with your organization’s fundamental values.
Yes, crisis management planning is a big project. But, the pay-off in helping everyone move together in a clearly specified direction at the onset of a real business crisis will far exceed the effort and time invested. Ensuring that you have prepared yourself and your team in advance for whatever may come, can reduce the magnitude of a threat to the continuous operability and long-term viability of your enterprise.

BY BOBBI JACKSON

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