8 Steps To Thriving as an SMB Even in a Crisis

NATALIA MRAZOVA

8 min

·

April 17, 2023

As a business owner, it’s essential to understand that crises are a natural part of running a business. No matter how much you plan and prepare, something will always go wrong. And at that point, how much damage the issue causes is all up to your strategies and processes. 

Whether it’s a natural disaster, an economic downturn, or a pandemic (just some random examples), there are steps you can take to protect your business and not only survive but thrive in a crisis. 

8 Ways to avoid business failure in any crisis

We’ll discuss 8 ways to avoid business failure in any crisis. By following these strategies, you’ll be able to prepare your business for unexpected challenges, navigate crises with confidence, and emerge on the other side stronger than ever before.

1. Stay Calm and Analyze the Situation

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when a crisis strikes, but keeping calm and evaluating the issue with a clear mind is vital to stopping the problem from turning into a catastrophe. Begin by determining the causes and effects of your situation. This will help you estimate the severity and expected duration of the issue and develop a strategy to counter it.

Don’t be afraid to seek advice from specialists or coworkers who have already dealt with similar issues. Collaborating with others and getting multiple points of view can help you make better judgments. Additionally, keep your team members updated and participating in the analytical process. 

2. Develop a Crisis Management Plan

Creating a crisis management plan is the best practice for any company. It will help your organization minimize the impact of the crisis and rapidly get back on track. But to work well, you’ll also need to ensure everyone knows what to do and who to contact during a crisis.

Hence, a crisis management plan must clearly describe the processes, specify roles and responsibilities, and contain communication tactics to keep all stakeholders in the know. However, even if you already have a crisis strategy, don’t rest on your laurels and revisit it regularly. 

For your document to be more than a scrap of paper, it must reflect the ever-changing circumstances and hazards of your industry and the economy.

7 Tips on Creating a Crisis Management

  • Identify potential crises that could impact your business and prioritize them based on severity and likelihood.
  • Establish a crisis management team with clear roles and responsibilities, and ensure that all team members are trained on the plan.
  • Develop a communication plan that outlines how you will communicate with employees, stakeholders, and the media during a crisis.
  • Determine the steps that need to be taken to mitigate the impact of the crisis and maintain business operations.
  • Establish a protocol for evaluating and monitoring the crisis, including identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress.
  • Test the crisis management plan regularly to ensure that it is up to date and that all team members are familiar with their roles and responsibilities.
  • Continuously review and update the plan as needed based on changes in the business environment and feedback from team members and stakeholders.

Management plan

3. Learn How to Communicate Effectively

Excellent communication is key to maintaining healthy relationships with employees and other stakeholders throughout a crisis. But to achieve it, you may have to do some things you’re not completely comfortable with – regular contact and honesty being common issues. 

You’ll also need to choose appropriate channels for each audience and use empathic language to show that you understand and care about their worries. Be prepared to answer any questions or concerns that may emerge, and do so transparently and honestly.

In staying connected through a crisis, utilizing modern technology like a VoIP phone system can be beneficial. This digital tool can streamline your communication process, allowing for easy access to clear and honest discussions with concerned parties. 

Do this correctly, and you can weather the crisis but emerge with a stronger, more loyal customer and supporter base if you communicate properly.

5 Tips for Effective Communication

  • Communicate regularly and promptly with stakeholders to keep them informed of any updates or changes.
  • Use empathy when communicating, acknowledging the concerns and difficulties of your stakeholders.
  • Choose the appropriate communication channels based on the audience, such as email, phone, or social media.
  • Train employees on effective communication strategies to ensure consistency across the organization.
  • Anticipate questions and concerns from stakeholders and prepare responses in advance.

4. Manage Cash Flow

Unsurprisingly, one of the things you should keep an eye on during a crisis is your bottom line. To stay afloat, you’ll first need to find a way to maintain at least some stable revenue stream. Identifying which aspects of your company require the most investment while cutting back on non-essential spending is equally important. 

One tool that can be particularly helpful for the latter is invoicing software like Billdu. On top of creating all forms of financial documents (i.e., invoices, purchase orders, estimates, etc.), accounting systems can help you ensure you get paid on time, find any payment inconsistencies, see where all your money goes, and more. This is always helpful, but in a crisis, it’s vital.

8 Tips How to Manage Your Cash Flow

  • Create a cash flow forecast to identify upcoming expenses and revenue.
  • Implement a system for invoicing and collecting payments in a timely manner.
  • Cut unnecessary expenses, prioritize spending and deploy smart budgeting.
  • Consider alternative financing options, such as loans or lines of credit, to cover cash flow gaps.
  • Maintain strong relationships with customers and clients to ensure timely payment.
  • Plan for unexpected events and have a contingency fund in place.
  • Monitor inventory levels to avoid overstocking or understocking.
  • Work with a financial advisor or accountant to manage cash flow effectively.

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5. Stay Agile and Adapt

When disaster strikes, businesses must be ready to pivot and adapt quickly. But doing so requires a fair degree of flexibility, as well as readiness to test out new business models. Above all else, being agile means taking calculated risks and modifying your strategies in response to changes. 

This could entail looking into new markets, creating new product lines, or collaborating with other companies. Sometimes, a crisis is an opportunity in disguise, so keep your eyes (and mind) open for revenue streams that may have been inaccessible to you before.

For example, many companies refocused on online sales and subscription-based services during the pandemic to make ends meet. The bottom line is, don’t be afraid to think outside the box, and when all else fails, take some inspiration from your competition.

3 Tips on How to Be Agile and Keep Up

  • Take calculated risks when necessary.
  • Explore new markets, create new product lines, and collaborate with other businesses.
  • Don’t  hesitate to think outside the box and seek inspiration from your competitors.

6. Embrace Technology

In today’s fast-paced world, technology is essential to sustaining success. From managing remote operations and physical security technologies, keeping in contact with customers, facilitating business across long distances, and automating repetitive processes, companies use tech for nearly everything that’s why picking the right software is crucial for business efficiency and productivity.

And these tools become even more valuable when you’re faced with a difficult challenge. For example, say your conventional sales channels aren’t viable for the time being. Well, there’s always e-commerce, online lectures, consultations, and more. 

Can’t work from the office, or struggling to find the necessary talent to meet your customers’ needs? Spread your influence across the world with remote work solutions, and your odds of success instantly rise. 

5 Types of Tools to Boost Performance in a Crisis:

  • Cloud-based Project Management: Tools like Asana, Trello, or Basecamp can help teams stay organized and on track with their tasks on and off-site.
  • Video Conferencing: Tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet can help businesses maintain face-to-face communication with their clients and remote teams. Virtual event platforms allow you to hold bigger events online while keeping engagement high.
  • VoIP Phone Systems: Tools like CloudTalk can help reduce communication costs by allowing businesses to make online calls instead of traditional phone lines.
  • Collaboration: Tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive can help teams share and collaborate on documents and files in real time, regardless of location.

Technology

7. Improve Customer Service

As is well-known, companies that focus on meeting their customers’ desires tend to thrive. However, your clients’ needs may change if they face disaster. That’s when your customer service teams have to rise to the occasion because they’re your first line of defense when it comes to discovering changing trends and adjusting accordingly. 

In order to address customers’ requirements during a crisis, outstanding customer service is crucial. When responding to client questions and issues, businesses should be proactive, responsive, and compassionate. Building trust and loyalty with clients can be facilitated by keeping lines of communication open and immediately resolving any difficulties.

Adapting products or services to new conditions is another technique to satisfy client needs. To accommodate the need for convenient and safe food options during a pandemic, a restaurant might, for instance, start offering take-out or delivery services. Businesses can maintain their relevance and competitiveness during a crisis by being adaptable and sensitive to shifting client needs.

Finally, companies can get client feedback to see how their requirements and preferences are changing. Making informed judgments about changing products or services, enhancing customer support, and broadening corporate strategy can all be done using this input.

3 Tips on How Leverage Your Customer Service

  • Be proactive, responsive, and compassionate with your customer service. 
  • Adapt products and services to new conditions to help satisfy customer needs.
  • Gather customer feedback to inform business decisions, including improving products and services, enhancing customer support, and broadening corporate strategy. Email remains to be one of the most successful and reliable means of gathering feedback since customers may respond at their convenience, just make sure you have the right email address.

8. Focus on Customer Needs

Focusing on customer needs during a crisis is crucial for the survival of any business. Customers are the backbone of any company, and their loyalty can make all the difference. To understand their needs, businesses must tailor their offerings to provide value, build trust, and retain customers during difficult times.

Providing exceptional customer service is an essential aspect of meeting customer needs during a crisis. This means being responsive, empathetic, and flexible to accommodate their changing circumstances. 

For example, offering extended return policies, providing free shipping, or offering discounts can show customers that their needs are being prioritized, build a positive relationship, and retain their loyalty.

Adapting products or services to meet changing needs is also vital during a crisis. Businesses must remain agile and willing to adjust their offerings to meet the changing demands of their customers. 

This could mean pivoting to new product lines, offering virtual services or experiences, or changing the way products are delivered to customers. By prioritizing customer needs and adapting to meet their changing demands, businesses can increase their chances of surviving a crisis and come out stronger in the long run.

Customer needs

6 Tips on How To Meet Your Customers’ Needs

  • Tailor your offerings to provide value, build trust, and retain customers during difficult times.
  • Provide exceptional customer service by being responsive, empathetic, and flexible to accommodate changing circumstances.
  • Show customers that their needs are a priority by offering extended return policies, free shipping, or discounts.
  • Be agile and willing to adjust your offerings to meet the changing demands of customers during a crisis.
  • Consider pivoting to new product lines, offering virtual services or experiences, or changing the way products are delivered to customers.
  • Prioritize customer needs and adapt to meet their changing demands to increase the chances of surviving a crisis and come out stronger in the long run.

Conclusion

To summarize, no firm is immune to the crisis, but there are steps you can take to lessen the damage and boost your chances of success. These techniques can help your firm weather any storm, from developing a solid financial strategy and establishing a strong support network to embracing technology and focusing on client demands.

Flexibility and adaptation are required for flexibility and adaptability. To stay up with changing conditions, be willing to ask for advice and pivot. Remember that every crisis is a chance to learn and grow and that by taking proactive actions to prepare for the unexpected, you can emerge stronger and more resilient. So, if you operate a business, don’t allow fear to stop you. 

Take action today to implement these techniques and begin preparing for the future. With the correct mindset, tools, and support, you can navigate any crisis and emerge with a stronger, more profitable company.

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NATALIA MRAZOVA

Senior Copywriter at CloudTalk

For the last 3 years, Natalia has been working as a PR and Marketing copywriter. Throughout her career, she acquired experience in various kinds of topics, yet her main expertise is technology-related content.

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