It's been an interesting week in damage control.
Goldman Sachs, one of the mercenary handlers of the "animal spirits" of capitalism, found itself the subject of a lovely parting gift from departing employee Greg Smith. (Ouch, that one will leave a mark.)
Dollar Shave Club, whose funny, snarky introduction generated a viral sensation and tons of new customers, found that operating the business was a little trickier than creating a funny ad: they announced that they can't ship initial orders on time because they weren't prepared for the demand. The impact: to be determined.
How well are you prepared to defend yourself in the court of public opinion? Every organization -- whether a globe-straddling colossus or a start-up just launching itself -- will face an emergency at some point. After all, accidents happen, things break, smart people do stupid things and sometimes good people do bad things -- occasionally on purpose. As the saying goes, "stuff" happens.
A good reputation is one of the most valuable assets of any organization. It increases value and drives loyalty among key stakeholders. Studies show that businesses with better reputations have higher sales, among other benefits.
Preparation can be the difference between a short-lived and inconsequential event and a full-blown, business- and reputation-busting calamity. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail.
Develop a business contingency plan: It should be comprehensive, include specific action steps and assigned responsibilities.
Don't turn a drama into a crisis: Perspective is critical: don't make the issue bigger or try to wish it away.
Take ownership: Act fast to acknowledge the problem and put it behind you...don't extend its life.
Be visible: Ultimately it's your business and your reputation.
Mismanaging a visible issue adds a layer of cost and complexity that most small businesses cannot afford. Conversely, when issues are well-managed, they can enhance the regard for you and your organization.
Your world is watching, listening and keeping score. Failure to communicate can have unfortunate results. Act accordingly.