We’ve all heard the expression, “Don’t shoot the messenger!”
That’s because a good messenger is essential to your business at any time, but particularly in the midst of a crisis.
Recently, an organization in our community experienced a public relations crisis. But it made the situation worse by failing to identify a spokesperson, so everyone associated with the group spoke with the media, resulting in a wide variety of messages and perspectives.
The presentation skills of your messenger will dramatically affect the perception the public has of your business. So, if you are that messenger, keep the following in mind:
- Stay composed. Whatever your message, regardless of its content, you must maintain your professionalism. Speak slowly and clearly. Avoid stammering. Don’t try to fill time; say what you need to say, and conclude.
- Dress appropriately and professionally. You are the image of your company. Be polite, respectful and patient with questions and requests for additional information. You don’t have to have all the answers at the moment, but when you say you will get back with the answer, be sure you do just that. Don’t promise what you won’t deliver.
- Now, more than ever before, everything you say is recordable. There is nothing truly off the record except what you don’t say or do. Assume every microphone and camera are recording what happens and that it will all be posted, tweeted and disseminated worldwide in an instant.
- The key to a successful statement boils down simply to preparation. Anticipate questions, and come prepared with answers. Whatever you do, do not say, “No comment.” That is like waving a red flag before an angered animal. The media will then pursue that line of questioning relentlessly. Rather than refuse to comment, steer the conversation away from the topic as best you can.
- And finally, don’t say any more than you absolutely must to handle the situation. Provide the essential information, but do not go off the topic and extemporize on a larger topic. I’m reminded of what my seventh grade speech teacher told me, “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you told them. Then shut up.”
There you are.
There are four main ingredients that are essential to make exporting successful for your company. They are:
- Management commitment to exporting
- In-depth experience with the product or service
- Adequate cash flow to bridge the initial costs
- Capacity and capability to produce international products or services
The best place to start exploring export markets and their viability is to get some training and more in depth information so you can determine if your company is a good fit for the export market.
In most regions of the U.S., the Small Business Development Network and the SBA partner with a regional World Trade Center and the U.S. Export Assistance Center network to provide a four part program entitled, simply, “Export Training.” (more…)
Did you know there are two kinds of businesses in the world?
Those who have had a crisis and those who will have a crisis.
So it may not have been your turn yet, but it could be any day. Building on what we posted last week about developing a communications strategy for crisis situations, there are a few more things you need to do to ensure you are ready for the unexpected.
One of the first essentials to managing your communications during a crisis is to ensure that all players respect one another’s role in responding to the circumstances. Pulling spokespeople, attorneys, managers and owners into the planning process is one way to do that.
The recent airline disaster in San Francisco reminded me of the need for every business – large and small – to have an emergency communications plan in place. But, like many things in the communications world, the traditional way of managing that no longer applies.
If you have watched the coverage of the Asiana flight, you have likely noticed that photos, videos, tweets and other posts went around the world long before the airline could have an official spokesperson address the situation. In essence, everyone becomes a reporter. The old adage of getting ahead of the story is no longer relevant. Unless you are personally standing right there onsite when something happens, you will not be ahead of the story. You will be in catch-up mode, so the faster you can react, the better.
You need a plan. One that is readily understood and available to all of your team members and one that is easy to implement. If you have to stop and think about what to do first, you’ll already be behind the curve.
Here are a few tips: (more…)
The three critical “l”s of a retail lease
If your community is like ours, you are seeing some of the long-vacant retail space start to fill up once again. Hopefully it’s one of many signs that business is getting better, customers are returning and storefronts are not going to ever be totally replaced with online shops.
Finding the right retail space is tricky. It’s a lot more complicated than just location, location, location, although that is a major consideration. Leasing may be the best option, particularly if you are just starting out. But leasing brings forward terms like base operating days, subrogation, indemnity, options to extend and escalation clauses. Still with us? The lease you sign can make or break your business. So what are the most important factors to consider in negotiating a lease for your business?
Length. If you have clearly defined your market, have realistic projections, are confident of our product mix and can acquire a location that is near your target audience, a longer term lease might be appropriate. This is where careful planning comes in. Those are a lot of ifs, however, and you need to think carefully about your product mix and operating capabilities. If you are uncertain about any of these factors, you should think carefully before signing a long-term lease. (more…)