Here’s How to Get Prepared For the Inevitable Business Crisis Headed Your Way
The role of a business owner is a rewarding one. Being the owner of your own operation gives personal and professional satisfaction that cannot be matched working for someone else. Also, if you run your business well, the income opportunities are limitless.
Owning and running a business, however, does not come without stress and obstacles. That’s why it’s important to get prepared for the inevitable crisis you’ll need to deal with. You’re going to face a fork in the road at one time or another but if you’re prepared, you won’t end up losing your business you worked so hard to create.
Here are some crisis scenarios you could face and if you do, how to handle them:
The Problem: The Internet Goes Down
Internet is as essential to running a business nowadays as water is to life because, without it, you won’t survive. Most of your databases and programs are probably web-based, and if you have a VoIP, that means your phones need the internet to function.
Allow Employees to Work from Home in the Event of an Internet Outage.
Many businesses provide their employees with company laptops so that they can work remote. This allows flexibility for employees with the idea that they’ll increase work productivity.
Now that nearly everyone has smartphones, business can be conducted as usual wherever you might be. A mobile app like the one Aline offers allows the business phone to be on employees’ smartphones so that they can always stay connected with staff and clients.
Downed internet should never be a reason you face a business crisis! Be prepared with a business phone app.
The Problem: Your building, computers, and other intellectual property are destroyed in a natural disaster
In the United States, wicked weather is part of the norm. Tornados, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and floods all pose a serious risk that should not be taken lightly. Understand what natural disasters could affect your business and get prepared for a business crisis.
Back up Your Data on a Cloud-Based Storage Program.
If you’re storing all your data solely on computer hard drives, you run a serious risk of losing everything. Get prepared with a cloud-based storage program. Cloud storage and file-sharing programs like Microsoft’s OneDrive or Google Drive are a secure place for storing your data. Best of all, depending on the size of your business, some of these programs are free or relatively inexpensive.
Also, just like in the previous scenario, portable laptops and business phone apps will ensure employees can work remotely if the office is damaged.
Let your customers and community know your business is open despite the tragedy. This is good PR and will prevent them from forgetting about your business as you get back on your feet.
The Problem: High Employee Turnover
Employee turnover reasons vary. Depending on the industry and business, you should get prepared for losing employees. For example, in the janitorial industry, employee turnover is an industry-wide problem. Other businesses may just have an internal problem that’s gone unaddressed. The first step to resolving high employee turnover is identifying where the issue is coming from. Your next step is to take action.
Have Exit Interviews.
When an employee is leaving the company, conduct an exit interview to get feedback as to why they’re leaving. Is it the company culture? Low wages? Unfulfilled workers? Have a discussion to understand the problem and make a change before you face a business crisis.
Prefer to skip the interview? Have annual confidential employee surveys and exit surveys.
Allow the employee to answer questions related to aspects of the job or company culture, and find out where your company is falling short.
For example, if low wages are the problem based on survey results, perhaps you should schedule raises for employees based on work performance. Motivate them by setting expectations and rewards on the day they’re hired. Then, deliver on those expectations when employees meet or exceed them.
The Problem: You’re Hit with a Lawsuit
Lawsuits can destroy both small and large businesses alike. It could be a current or former employee, a dissatisfied customer, or another business. A lawsuit is a business owners’ nightmare and one that is a big time and money drain. Here’s what to do if you’re faced with a legal business crisis:
First, if You’re Hit with a Lawsuit, Don’t Ignore the Complaint!
You should have up to 30 days to respond. If you ignore the complaint, you’ll lose the case because the plaintiff can file a request for default on the complaint notice. Also, be sure to contact your attorney and seek legal guidance on the best approach to proceed with the complaint.
With Employees, Lawsuits are Preventable.
If you happen to be sued by a current or former employee, be sure you have everything in place to help prevent the lawsuit. Understand the federal and your state’s employment laws. Follow them. Also, be sure to have an employee handbook that states company policies as well as advice regarding proper hiring and termination procedures. Small steps like these can save you a lot of money and headaches down the road.
The Problem: Money Management
Famous rapper Biggie Smalls (Notorious B.I.G) once said: “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.” When talking about money management, the same goes for your business. Money is coming and going from multiple directions. Are you in tune with your business’s cash flow? If not, you better get there, or otherwise, you could lose your business.
In fact, as many as 82 percent of startups and small businesses fail because of poor cash-flow management. This can easily be prevented with a few simple solutions:
Tell Your Clients to Pay Up!
Many small B2B businesses’ cash flow suffers when clients don’t pay their invoices on time. Have a policy in place that penalizes clients with late payments so they don’t forget next time. Or, require your clients to set up auto-recurring payments so you never have to worry about them missing a payment.
Use Accounting Software or Hire a Bookkeeper or Accountant.
If you feel competent enough to manage your own expenses and cash flow, use a software like QuickBooks to help you do so. If you have the budget, hire an accountant or bookkeeper. They’ll especially be valuable in identifying financial outlook for your business so you can make sound decisions. They’ll also help you prepare for tax season!
It’s time to get prepared for a business crisis! Make sure you take preventive steps to avert or handle any of the crises your business can face. You’re sure to face at least one of these during your time as a business owner. Start your preparation here and learn more about how Aline Phone Systems can ensure your business phones are never the problem.