The triple A of emergency management
With the recent floodings in Ireland and the UK, I have been pondering on the topic of crisis management quite a bit, because my heart goes out to all the people whose home and business has been destroyed by flooding. Having walked barefooted through kneedeep water really being the extent of the personal effect it has had on me and the B/Right businesses, I really can’t imaging the emotional turmoil entrepreneurs go through when their business becomes flooded with water. If you follow me on facebook you can see for yourself how much devastation was caused in Cork, but I believe a lot of cities throughout Ireland and the Uk had an even bigger flood to deal with than here.
To bring it back to business though, what can you really do when this happens? We came up with the triple A formula for emergency management:
A1 – Assess the damage and what is left
A2 – Analyse your options
A3 – Adopt a plan of action
Let’s look at each step in a little more detail.
When the water retreats, to take the flooding as the core example throughout, seen that it will be relevant to quite a number of people, the first step is to return to the premises and see what is left, what was saved and what is irretrievable. If you are insured it is important to make sure the loss adjuster sees it in the state you found it. At this stage the key is to inventorise everything that you have lost or will be beyond repair as a result of the water damage, the next phase then is to make list of potentially retrievable items and to make sure those items that weren’t damaged are put aside in a dry room, so that the clean up will not cause any further damage. Then the cleaning up part starts…
After you have finished cleaning up and clearing out the damaged floors, furniture and other equipment or stock, that’s when you will truly realise the extent of where the business is at. This is when you start looking at the hard questions: how much will it cost to replace everything, is it an opportunity to change, do we have to close, what will it take to start again, do we keep our staff, are orders damaged, etc..
Once you have a clear picture of the actual damage done, it is then a case of analysing your options. You will still have options no matter how bleak the picture looks. With an uncertain economy it may well mean closing your business or relaunching it with completely different offerings or even completely online? The key is to brainstorm ideas with all the key decision makers in the room and to also seek input from suppliers (will they be supportive, etc.) , employees and customers. You can use the floods as an opportunity to completely change your business and make improvements you may only have been contemplating before. In a way it is a white wash or a clean slate (if the water analogy is too close to home), so there is opportunity in this. My advice would be to have as many options on the table as possible and then one by one examine them for ease of implementation, real cost and benefit.
Factors to look at when examining your options are whether as soon as possible is a realistic time frame to re-open and if you are in retail and need to re-open after Christmas what will that mean in terms of business missed, what is the minimum and ideal you need to be back in business in a small time frame, how can you minimise costs of repair, are you able to start back on a shoestring? A lot of questioning will be the name of the game, in this economy I would say only move forward when you have an actual realistic plan in place, which includes numbers and campaigns to recover the losses made. This business plan can serve a double purpose namely as your action plan, but equally to go to the bank and state your case in the hope that they do live up to the promise of supporting businesses after they have been bailed out.
The final step in the triple A approach is to pick your course and take action. Implement your plan and look at it as if you are starting a brand new business. Remember the days when you started out first time and how exciting it was, well do your best to re-invigorate yourself and your staff with this new positive clean start type of energy. It is only through hard work and regular action that business have survived. If you think of all the multi-millionaire stories, all of them have seen hardship at one point or other.
We wish you all the support and belief you need to succeed and if you are running low on either of those, we know some great coaches that can help you through.