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How to skillfully manage a small business crisis

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How to skillfully manage a small business crisis

Crises are an inevitable part of life, so of course they're an inevitable part of business. Sometimes an order will ship late, threatening a relationship with a client. Dell Small Business can help.

Sometimes, tech fails, so a presentation is a big flop. You can't avoid all of it.

Small businesses tend to have more at stake during these crises, though. One lost client or customer can be the difference between making it to the end of the year, and suddenly needing to cut staff or overhead. One bad computer could end an entire company when things are on a smaller scale.

Because of that, it's important for small businesses to know how to manage crises as they come up, to keep themselves going, and to grow in the future. Whether that crisis is employee-related, or tech-related, you want to know how to keep treading water and survive. Particularly with technology, you want to make sure you’re prepared, with the right people and resources to help you weather any storm.

Small businesses have a real partner in Dell. Dell wants small businesses to succeed, and offers special deals on their products for them, as well as an entire department — Dell Small Business Central — to help small businesses with their technology-related questions, security, and issues. Check out tips, gleaned from Dell's Inside Sales Director Burt Powers, for how to skillfully manage a small business crisis below. These three suggestions should help you in a majority of situations. Call 877-Buy-Dell to speak with an adviser today to see how Dell can help your business flourish.

1. To get through the crisis, stay calm

When a person panics, they're not thinking clearly. Fear takes over, and decisions are made haphazardly, or with some information missing, as the need to make the source of the panic stop overtakes all else, even rational thought. So one of the best things you can do in a small business crisis is take a deep breath, and remain calm.

Don't focus on what could go wrong in the crisis — focus on what you can actually do moment-to-moment. If customers are calling to complain that a big shipment had a glaring flaw, set your best staff on phones, and decide what you will be giving to customers as an apology gift or deal before you throw up from anxiety. If your computer crashes mid-render, call your tech support and see what can be done before you burst into tears. The better you keep your cool, the faster you'll be out of the crisis, especially according to Burt Powers.

Burt says that Dell works very, very hard to keep calm during outages and other crises with their equipment in order to help small business owners keep their cool as well. They keep in active communication to help maintain that sense of calm (another good tip for a small business crisis: have clear communication with all parties involved!), and focus on the status of what's going on. Resolving an issue quickly is paramount, and to do that, Dell's team has to be focused and calm. Small business owners have to be the same to handle things on their end too.

2. Plan ahead

Some crises can be anticipated. Not necessarily to the exact time and affected customer, but some businesses come with some predictable difficulties or risks. In a small business that hand-wraps each of its products before sending them out, it's possible to see a time when they could be out of packaging materials, or a time when employees accidentally break the products while wrapping them.

What could the small business do in these moments — and what could it do to prevent them? If the small business owner gives it some thought ahead of time, and considers the worst-case scenario before it manifests, the crisis might be considerably smaller, or less likely to happen thanks to a little planning ahead. So taking the time to plan ahead is key for managing crises in a small business.

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Burt gives a three-point piece of advice to all small businesses that deals with planning ahead.

First, when a business works with Dell, he makes sure Dell doesn't just provide them with immediate technological needs, he wants to plan for future needs as well. So make a similar plan with your own business.

Second, think about security of the tech, and of the data your business accumulates. Your data is important and valuable, to your business, but also to others. A small business is less likely to have expensive resources to keep data safe, so think about what your business is able to do, and make sure it gets done.

Third, think about ways to make sure your small business has immediate capital available. Dell has business credit and leasing options for its products, allowing for small businesses to have some flexibility with their finances, and therefore some flexibility with their growth. Thinking about how and when to spend money requires a lot of planning ahead, so you can see how valuable it is to do in general, and how it can really help mitigate crises as they emerge.

3. Have an expert IT partner

We live in a digital age. Entire businesses exist solely on the internet, and computers aren't just a helpful office feature, they're the number one necessity for even getting a small business started. You need good, reliable tech to work well in this day and age, and you need people who know how to work it and fix it.

Therefore, you want to make sure wherever you get your tech from is a reliable company with a great reputation. A company like that will be right at your side during a crisis — the thing you want as a small business, who can only afford so many risks.

Dell is one such company, keeping its focus on problem-solving with the application of its technologies, finding gaps in a business's needs, and filling them while also planning for the future. On top of that, Dell is there to answer your questions in good times and bad through its ProSupport and ProSupport Plus services.

Support specialists are always available, and always able to help with any tech-related problem, as well as any issues a customer might have while working with Dell. As Burt boasts, there is actually an individual in Dell's small business team whose only job is to help navigate customers through the steps of care, tech, and ownership experience resolution activities.

Dell knows technology, and knows small businesses. Worry a little less in a crisis by having an expert IT partner on your side by calling 877-Buy-Dell and speak with an advisor today. Don't forget to check out Dell's business deals, and start on your journey to minimizing and managing your small business crises.

Remember, you want to keep calm and plan ahead while you have this great IT partner. Dell can help with that, and therefore help your business grow and flourish beyond your wildest dreams.

Get tech advice and one-on-one partnership to help your business grow.

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