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Crisis management and business continuity are business concepts that revolve around the essential functionality of a company or corporation. Crisis management is a company strategy to deal with system-wide crises that threaten the business. Business continuity is an ongoing process that ensures a business is functional and accessible, both for workers and for customers. When a problem rears its ugly head, good crisis management and business continuity plans can prepare a business to deal with the issue and ensure that customer service and company functionality are impeded as little as possible.
Many businesses face crises; natural disasters, workplace violence, market crashes, and public relations disasters can all throw a once-efficient organization into total chaos. In order to survive threatening situations, it is important for a business to have contingency plans available for a variety of difficult problems. Though safety of employees and customers is often the first concern of crisis management, the preservation of business continuity is usually the second most important issue at hand in a crisis.
The relationship between crisis management and business continuity works in both directions. In planning for crisis contingencies, a business must create a plan for how the business will function as the crisis occurs. Some considerations may include the use of automated systems or websites for customers, remote and redundant facilities, and reserve funds to sustain a company through a monetary crisis. Business continuity can help crisis management by analyzing the market and function of a business and forecasting potential areas where a crisis may be most likely.
Some business experts suggest that crisis management and business continuity plans both benefit from a consistent management program. Periodically, both types of plans need to undergo review and assessment to ensure that they are accurate to the times and understood by workers. Some experts suggest a continual cycle of reviewing, adapting, training, and implementing crisis management and business continuity strategies. Keeping both systems up-to-date and open to improvements helps ensure that training stays fresh and all employees are on the same page.
Generally, a company that undergoes a crisis will have a better chance of survival if it does not appear to be floundering around in confusion about what should be done. One of the best ways to maintain a public reputation of confidence and aptitude is by ensuring that customers undergo little or no inconvenience as a result of the issue. By maintaining business continuity throughout a crisis, companies can reassure customers, employees, and the market, and may even pick up a few reputation points for being able to meet a challenge with a cool head.