Events such as Hurricane Florence that hit the Carolinas can create major disruptions for businesses.
Just how quickly they recover from this business crisis– or from any crisis that interrupts the normal course of business – depends on whether they have established their fundamentals.
“Businesses impacted by Hurricane Florence or any other type of disaster will inevitably recover faster if they have their core fundamentals in place,” says Alex Zlatin, CEO of Maxim Software Systems, a dental practice management software company, and author of the book Responsible Dental Ownership (www.alexzlatin.com).
From the importance of incorporating human resources best practices (so you can retain employees during stressful events) to customer service (so your customers return after the business crisis is over), it is important that businesses avoid getting so caught up in their profit-and-loss statements that they ignore their structural issues, says Zlatin.
How well a business adheres to its fundamentals will be revealed – good or bad – during stressful events such as personnel upheavals, economic downturns, natural disasters and challenges in the global economy, Zlatin says.
“During flush times when everything is going smoothly, businesses can sometimes get by without following the basic fundamentals,” Zlatin says. “But when times get rough, that is when businesses which have those pillars in place can not only survive, frequently they can eat their competitors’ lunch.”
Zlatin says fundamentals that impact business crisis management include:
- The company’s purpose has been defined. Although this may sound like a simple idea, Zlatin says he is always amazed by the businesses that have never taken the time to identify their purpose. Why are they in business? What is their product? What purpose do they serve in our community?
- The business and its employees know what they are not. For many businesses, it is easy to creep into other areas because management is not paying attention. This “mission creep” is especially prevalent in successful businesses that will suffer when a business crisis hits because they are spread too thin. It is important for management to identify what employees are good at so they can focus on those tasks during a business crisis.
- The business has shown support for its employees. A business owner who has encouraged his employees to have a passion for what they do will allow the business to respond quickly in times of need. They will also be more receptive to “going the extra mile” when the business needs it most
- Human resources best practices have been implemented. If a business owner has been treating his employees poorly all year, it is unrealistic to expect that they will want to be team players when the owner most needs them during a business crisis.
- Employees have been empowered. If your employees are not empowered to take charge of a problem during normal business hours, they won’t be able to do it during a business crisis.
- Trust has been established between management and employees. Has the owner of the business built trust with the employees? Trust goes a long way towards solving problems during a business crisis. Trust is not an outcome, it is a daily effort made by everyone to enhance and maintain a relationship.
“Businesses that have been impacted by Hurricane Florence that had their core business fundamentals in place prior to the storm will inevitably recover faster than those that do not,” Zlatin says.
Alex Zlatin, author of the book Responsible Dental Ownership (www.alexzlatin.com), had more than 10 years of management experience before he accepted the position of CEO of dental practice management software company Maxim Software Systems. His company helps struggling dental professionals take control of their practices and reach the next level of success with responsible leadership strategies. He earned a B.Sc. in Technology Management at HIT in Israel, and earned his MBA at Edinburgh Business School.