A business firefighter is similar to the person who educates the public about fire prevention, jumps down a pole, hops onto a fire truck, wields a hose, and dashes into burning buildings. After all, businesses do not need to literally be in flames to experience hot, smoky trouble. Business firefighting includes developing a checklist for disaster prevention, and staying calm and efficient in the face of trouble. To that end, here are seven techniques that the best business firefighters follow.
1. Putting Safety First
No matter the problem at hand, a top-notch business firefighter puts safety first. In a literal fire, safety often includes the physical well-being of a firefighter as well as the well-being of people in the vicinity. With business ïfires,ï safety more often equates to the security of the business as well as the mental health of employees and customers. For example, say a data hack occurs. To ensure the safety of customers, a business firefighter would send out an email or another form of communication explaining what happened, what was at risk, and explaining that customers are required to change their passwords. This type of safety comes with high levels of transparency and the potential of short-term damage to the business, but it’s necessary for long-term survival. Better than ignoring the fire and hoping no one notices.
2. Anticipating and Planning for Potential Problems
Good business firefighters try not to be caught off guard. In this respect, they identify possible problems by looking at competitors’ history, the history of the business, and at other factors such as the economy and resources that are available to the business. Armed with this information, a firefighter is able to better douse problems when they occur. For instance, in the case of a data hack, one potential problem that is easy to anticipate is media relations. To this end, a quality firefighter plans ahead for the appropriate person to speak to the media. The person should be high-up enough in the organization to give the issue the gravitas it deserves and to show that the business is taking the matter seriously. The spokesperson should be honest and straightforward, never giving the impression that the business is hiding the severity of a problem or trying to cover wrongdoings.
3. Communicating at All Levels
When a fire is blazing, it’s important to stay in touch with personnel to best fight the creature. Doing so provides the big picture of what is going on and keeps everyone informed.
4. Identifying Exits
Just as a business has a literal fire evacuation plan, a business firefighter must have an exit plan