Is your small business ready for a crisis?

An aerial view of damage done by the tornado that hit Western Massachusetts earlier this month. Flickr photo by the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection

Week before last, a tornado plowed through 30-some miles of Hampden County,  just south of where I live. As it moved from Westfield to downtown Springfield to Brimfield, the tornado tore through both homes and businesses, leaving unbelievable destruction in its wake.

Now as our community works to pick up the pieces and put lives back together again, I am wondering how many of the small businesses impacted by this natural disaster were prepared to handle such a crisis. I’m betting not many.

In my experience, small business owners tend to ignore the possibility of a disaster befalling their company. For most, the types of disasters they worry about are limited to such things as a sudden dip in cash flow or the loss of a major customer. They don’t contemplate, much less plan for, the type of disaster that many business owners are now experiencing here in Western Massachusetts.

With this in mind, I want to encourage you to take time to consider the set of crisis preparedness questions below. I’m sure there are business owners in Hampden County right now who wished they’d been better prepared for the crisis that hit them. By taking time now to answer these questions, you’ll be a major step ahead if something similar should ever befall your business.

Crisis Preparedness Questions

1.    What kinds of crises could occur for your company?

2.    Do you have a crisis management and communications plan?

3.    If so, when was it last updated?

4.    Who would be your spokesperson during a crisis?

5.    How would you contact people in your organization if a crisis occurred at 2:00 in the morning?

6.    What is your plan for contacting customers and other key audiences in times of crisis?

7.    What basic information do you have prepared to give to the media if a crisis occurred?

8.    Do you have a media list that will enable you to contact key reporters in a crisis?

1 comment

  1. Great post Jeanne. I am sure many of these same business owners are wishing they reviewed the replacement value on the business property and considered business interruption and income replacement coverage.

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