Take Firm Steps to Handle Crises, Independent Dealers
The recent developments concerning Rutt and Heritage have had a
happy ending, thanks to Viking Range’s acquisition of the ailing
custom cabinet manufacturers. However, the situation does point up
the need for savvy independent kitchen and bath dealers to develop
some contingencies for crisis management.
Of course, there are some difficulties in planning for a crisis
not the least of which that the very definition of a “crisis” is an
unforeseen, sudden event. But, it is possible to draw up some
possible circumstances and develop strategies to act on should
those circumstances occur.
Therefore, here are just a few questions kitchen and bath
dealers should be asking themselves:
What would happen to your business should one of your key
suppliers be eliminated without receiving any warning?
If your showroom were to burn down, would a copy of important
business records be available offsite?
What would happen to your finances if one or more of your
customers wanted their deposits back?
What would happen if an essential employee took sick or even
Sometimes businesses have “secrets” what would happen if the
world learned your secrets?
Once you’ve outlined some possible business crises, examine your
operation for possible warning signs. Then, mentally develop some
strategies that can help you cope. For example, back up your
important business records offsite. Make sure your employees know
enough about the business to be able to fill cover jobs should
something happen to another employee or you.
You can also reward employees who communicate potential “bad”
news. They may carry the warning signals for a crisis, and are
often aware of problems that you may be unaware of. When you’re
aware of the worst, you can prepare for it.
Lastly, when a crisis does occur, be honest. Don’t blame others.
Move quickly to resolve matters, understanding that a delay will
only prolong any crisis. Your customers and suppliers will judge
your actions in dealing with the crisis on the basis of your moral
character; delaying or attempting to hide bad news only weakens you
in the eyes of the people who matter most.
Looking for possible pitfalls and being ready to react is a
prudent step for small and large businessmen, and can help you
avoid or minimize even greater trouble when a crisis occurs.