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A crisis is a temporary situation that builds quickly, creates an intense and alarming response, and typically disappears after an explosive climax. While a crisis usually doesn’t last long, your ability to react rationally to the situation can help you control the impact and the aftermath. A poorly managed crisis can devastate your business. However, if you develop a general response plan, you can better manage the fallout from any type of crisis.

Own the Crisis

As soon as a crisis begins to emerge, people will begin to panic and look for someone to help them. As the business owner or manager, it’s up to you to step into this role. Your first action should be to offer comfort by reassuring your customers and employees that you have a response plan in mind.

Keep Communicating Openly

Throughout the crisis, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open for a few reasons. Primarily, you’ll need frequent communication to ensure every aspect of crisis management is being pursued effectively. Secondly, your employees and customers will be experiencing fear, frustration, and concern, so they will look to you for support and comfort. While handling the practical details is essential, you will also have to fill this role.

React to the Problem

Once you take the time to analyze the crisis, you’ll find that there’s an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. Developing a plan for fixing that underlying problem will help you diffuse the situation. In resolving the issue, use as many of your employees as possible. This will give your team constructive things to do while helping you solve the problem as quickly as possible. As an added advantage, resolving the issue quickly will help you engender more trust among your customers. The crisis will damage the relationships you have previously developed with your customers, but how you respond to the crisis and the actions you take afterward will help you start rebuilding those relationships.

In managing a crisis, it’s important to react logically and use all of the resources available to you. Although you may rarely have to deal with crisis situations in your lifetime, it’s better to have a systematic response plan upon which you rely. Knowing how to react will help you keep others calm while ensuring the continuity of your business.