Running a small business is something that can be pretty challenging at the best of times, but when a crisis occurs, it can push you to the edge of reason. Putting all of your hard work and investment on the line. That is why it’s essential that you prepare for the worst while continuing to hope for the best for your company. With that in mind, below you will find some information on just how to do this.
The market fails
The problem with running a small business is that the results you get aren’t directly linked to the quality of your product or the effort that you and your team put in behind the scenes. This is because we don’t work in a financial meritocracy. Instead, we operate in a free market, meaning that success is linked to other factors including your competitors, as well as the behavior and strengths of the market itself.
Meaning one of the huge disasters that can befall a small company is the financial market (in general) failing, or the market specifically for their product disappearing. The first is an issue because as markets fall, consumers spend less, making it harder to shift units and turn a profit. The second issue is a problem, as if you place all of your resources in setting up a company that does one thing in particular really well when folks no longer need this, you become outmoded and redundant. Something that can definitely spell disaster for your company.
However, for both issues, there is one solution, and that is to diversify what you’re offering the consumer. Why? Well, about the first issue of financial collapse, it may still be possible to sell products with slightly less functionality at a lower price range. Something that is priced right for the market as it is at the current time.
In regards to the disappearance of the original market, diversification can help here, as you are not putting all of your eggs in one basket, so speak. So by offering your customers other choices, ones that are more in demand you can still make sales. The benefit of this option is that your name and brand will be attached to the new products, making them easier to market to your existing customer base.
You are overtaken by a competitor
A real disaster than many small businesses dread is having their market share stolen by a competing company. Along with the profit loss and reputation issues that come along with it. In fact, this is one of the leading cause of failure in SME’s, so it’s vital that you protect against it as much as possible.
To do this is a multifaceted process. It includes diversifying as mentioned above but is also about getting your company and staff to be as efficient and productive as possible. As well as having your marketing spot on.
Regarding company productivity, ensuring that you are not wasting time and resources by using out of date equipment or procedures is important. As not doing this can give your competitors the edge in production quality and volume.
Also, ensure that you invest in your employees by training them to use the technology they have. As this will allow them to be quicker and more efficient at what they are doing. After all, you can’t expect them to be fast if they are clueless as to what the right way is?
In terms of marketing, utilizing the newest methods can help raise your profile and get your brand seen more than that of your competitors. Also remember to focus on all the stages, including the ones furthest away from the sale. As this can help you establish your brand as trusted and friendly people’s consciousness. Something that will attract more buyers and help filters those with some interest down to a buyer position.
Your IT fails
While your employees may cheer and go and make themselves a cup of coffee when the server fails, for you, it can be a major disaster. This is because it either represents a breach of security that could endanger your reputation with your customers, or a technology failure that can affect your internet visibility, internal and external communications, and access to specific programs. Making it a major issue with ramifications for productivity and profits.
Now, add to this that, unless you are a trained IT professional, you probably don’t know your infrastructure from your CMS, and you can have anarchy on your hands. That is why it’s a great idea to preempt such problems, ensuring IT continuity and so productivity, no matter what happens.
To do this, as in any specialist area it’s always best to consult with the experts to see what solution they can come up with for your particular situation. Just ensure that you do this ahead of time, so you are not firefighting if the worst does occur.
You have a PR incident
Opinions matter, especially in the world of likes and follows, and that means your public relations, or how the public views and reacts to your brand and product is important. Meaning PR disasters are to be avoided at all costs.
Of course, there are different levels of PR issue and not all of them with cause your company to come crashing down around your ears instantly. However, all of them will need to be responded to proportionally and professionally.
That means if you are getting an outcry on one social media platform, it best to use that platform to respond and apologise. Confrontations should always be avoided, especially on social media, and if you can give some details about why the mistake was made and the actions that are being taken to prevent it happening again like someone being suspended, or sacked, then that can help a lot.
Remember though with the really critical ones is best to not comment on them yourself. Instead get a professional company to come in and advise, helping you to minimize the disaster fallout and so the effect on your profits and reputation as a business.