Have a Plan

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    Preparation Pays

    Are you ready for a crisis? You may think you’ve got your bases covered, but unless you’re running regular crisis simulations and training sessions, I’d be willing to bet that there are serious gaps in your planning. This weakness is a common one, as Jonathan Bernstein pointed out in a recent interview for Entrepreneur magazine:

    The failure to plan tops Bernstein’s hit parade of crisis management mistakes. A close second? The failure to provide backup for critical suppliers, key personnel, computer systems (off-site, please) and pretty much any piece of your business that you can’t live without. He proffers this food services scenario: “If all the lettuce from a particular area is deemed to be suspect, and that’s where you get all your lettuce, what are you going to be putting on your burgers this week if you don’t have a backup supplier?”

    With some slight imagination it’s not hard to change this situation to fit nearly any business. Rely on your website to do business? What happens when your provider’s servers go down? Do you have any key admin personnel without whom everything goes to heck? Got a backup for her or him?

    Establishing secondary providers and other forms of backup are just a small part of a complete crisis plan. Take a look around your business and identify your weak spots, there may be more than you think!

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is a writer, publicist and SEO associate for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]