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Handle Crisis At Work Like A Pro

Ramya GovindRaj

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Crisis situations are unavoidable and have the potential to create irreparable damage to the reputation of the corporation. A crisis can affect the employees, the shareholders and the consumers as well. The panic and uncertainty associated with a crisis can cause more damage and chaos than the actual crisis itself. Here is how you can handle a crisis like a pro, instead of running around like a headless chicken!

1.  360 assessment
Before coming up with any solution for a crisis, it is important to do an all round assessment of the situation. Understand the situation, the players and the landscape in which you are operating to develop an effective strategy. Take a step back to assess which areas of work have been affected, consider what you know and gather information on the rest. A complete 360 degree assessment will let you be prepared for the worst case scenario and not be blind sided by any new problems.

2. Keep Calm and Carry On
While navigating through difficult situations even two simple words can make matters worse. Panic will only add to the chaos and chaos is not the solution. So, instead of adding fuel to the fire, keep calm, breathe and try to stay above the water. This will allow you to take in more information, assess it faster and create an appropriate response. Put the problem in a broader context and trace it back to the roots. Generally, problems arise out of small missteps or miscommunication. Find the root of the problem and unravel the issue from there.

3. Engage and Communicate
Once you have a handle on the problem itself, engage the other employees and all key stakeholders. Engaging the employees and everyone involved will make the decision making process and the internal communication far more effective. Engage in open and transparent communication with all levels of the employees but understand how best to tell them what they need to know and when they need to know it. While two heads are definitely better than one, too many cooks will also spoil the broth.

4. React
Many times, during a crisis, the first instinct can be to ignore the problem on the whole and do nothing. Not reacting will only escalate the issue at hand, making a mountain out of what is possibly a molehill. Be proactive in your approach to any issue. Contain the problem and eradicate it quickly with a fast but well thought out response. Objective assessment and planning leads to a calm mindset and self confidence and then it’s all about the execution. But it is important to acknowledge the problem from the beginning itself and not turn a blind eye.

5. Ethical Business Practice
When the company is facing a crisis situation, ethics might be the last thing on your mind. Amid the pressure to put the issue to rest, ethics tend to take a back seat. It is during such times that remaining true to ethical business practices is of utmost importance. Short cuts and the easy way out have a tendency to come back and can harm the company later. Although this is easier said than done, make sure that all the team members are comfortable with the decisions being made and with the level of rigor with which you are conducting the investigation. Be true to your morals, ethical responsibilities, employees, consumers, stakeholders and yourself. 

Crisis situations are like mountains during the monsoon season. Small missteps can lead to a landslide. Never underestimate any situation, your customers or the media. Crisis situations can be handled neatly and effectively if you know what needs to be done. 

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How To

How To Launch A Successful PR Campaign For Your New Business

Smruthi Kishore

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Every new business has certain guidelines that make you a success. For a new business, one of the foundations of a successful startup is to have a really great PR campaign in place. Here are some tips that will help in setting your company on the path of success.

1. Identify why you need a PR Campaign

Before you hire a PR company or even create a public relationship building strategy, it is extremely important to understand why you need a PR plan to make it to the big leagues. If your primary goal is to build a strong public image for your brand, then you need to work with a company that will help you grow in that direction. Through web seminars, press releases and a strong online presence, the right PR company can help you in establishing your business in the right manner.

2. Create a complete detail oriented plan about your brand

Marketing and personal brand building always go together. At a time when it’s all about connecting with people on a micro level, it goes a long way to tell your potential customers about who you are. Get your bio right and establish a picture that is exactly who you are (nothing more, nothing less.) Your online presence should be all about who you are and who you want the world to see you as. When you give all the details and not leave the important bits out, your presence is stronger than your competitors.

3. Have an idea about what you want from your PR plan

At a time when everyone is online and when you are battling with more than just one competition, PR strategies help in giving you a clear vision on what you want. While it may seem viable to work on your own in the long run, it doesn’t always work like that. Now is the time to connect with other companies. Rather than pushing them away, see how you can partner with them to make a stronger impact on the world.

4. Have a “soft” launch

It is important to have a soft launch to see how your potential audience will relate to your business. While it has picked up only in recent times, this is a trend that was doing the marketing rounds with considerable success. For example, when Facebook launched, it was available only for Harvard students. However, both MySpace and Friendster had national launches and the outcome is quite obvious to everyone, right? Have a soft launch and get feedback from your audience.

5. Have a plan B in place

Although a really good PR plan helps in creating a solid plan in place, it is always important to have a plan B in place. Take a look at the different things which will keep your customers engaged not just for a short while, but for a long time. Discard the ideas which do not work and take a look at how the elements of your plan A are replaced by things in your plan B, thereby giving you a growth pattern that will prove to be successful.

6. Be prepared for the future and the outcome

A good PR plan is a building block for a successful business. It helps in setting your road for a future you can appreciate. Have all your ducks in place and always, no matter how much you work you put in, be prepared for the outcome. Even if the plan does not go according to what you want, stay prepared and know what you want to see in the long run.

Having a great PR plan for a new business involves a lot of hard work and a lot of attention to detail. Only when you have everything in place can you look at where your business is going. If you think we missed out on any other points which would make for a good PR plan, comment and let us know!

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How To

How To Market Your Business Offline

Smruthi Kishore

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With the increasing presence of the internet, digital marketing emerged as the next big thing in the field of marketing and advertising. While there may have been a drastic shift in the kind of platforms people are using for marketing, there is still a large preference for traditional marketing formats. If you have just started your business/startup and are thinking of the best way to market it, then here are some offline strategies which are relevant even today! 

1. Use the media to your advantage

The media is always looking for a new and exciting story to talk about, so why not give them some interesting information about your startup? This way, the media gets to talk about things no one has access to and you can get the word out about your business before anyone else!

2. Brand endorsements

Your business requires a factor that appeals not just to your target audience, but to the larger demographic as well. With the right kind of endorsements targeted toward just the right crowds, your startup has a larger opportunity to connect with people. Send out free products to potential customers and if they like it, the word just starts spreading in the right direction!

3. It’s all about networking

Before you market your idea, you need to realise the first rule of marketing is networking. Talk about your startup and let people know who you are. Speak on panels related to your startup and make sure the people in your circle know exactly what you are doing. Further, networking helps in understanding the competition and also gives you a clear picture on where your business is going.

4. Coupons and flyers

Coupons and flyers help in putting your message across in the way you want it to be perceived. Pick out your target audience and distribute the flyers in places where you think there will be a large response. Make sure the information you have on the flyers and coupons is something that will keep your readers hooked, with the intention of attracting them to your business.

5. Business cards

Last but not the least, business cards are like your name tags. They let the investors and customers know who you are, what you are and where you can be reached. Share the cards with the right kind of people and with enough distributed, your word will get around faster than you know! Business cards are a great way to establish initial contact and to let people know who you are.

6. Increase your local presence

While sponsorships, securing your investments and spreading the word about your business are all important things, another important factor is to increase your local presence. Partner with other brands and work to create a strong impact on the community around you. Keep time aside to plan out your events and schedule the events which will help spread the word about your startup! Through this, you learn what the competition is doing as well.

7. Keep using images

Pictures are a great way to spread the word. The more visual connect people have with the startup, the more the relationship builds. Photos and videos related to your business (such as photos of your products, or videos related to your business’s activities) tell stories. When marketing is done right through offline platforms, not only does the presence of your brand increase, online branding is helped as well.

Traditional methods of marketing are not dying. In fact, they are still relevant. It just depends on how you use them to your advantage. If you think we missed out on any other traditional marketing strategies that need to be talked about, comment and let us know!

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Things you need to start a business that are not money related

Smruthi Kishore

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All that glitters is not gold and all that makes a startup sparkle is not money. Every time you start your company, you think money is the most important thing to begin with, right? More often than not, there are a lot of things one needs to get done apart from going down the road of securing finances. Here is our list of things you must have in place (other than money) before you start your business!

1. An understanding of the market

You have an idea and you want to turn the idea into reality, which is all well and good. However, what most people who want to start a business do not realise is the necessity of understanding the market as well. Understand the competition, analyse what makes your peers work and realise what you as a business need to do to stand out from the crowd. Get your analysis in place and make sure you have your unique selling points outlined loud and clear!

2. Self discipline

Often times, people get side tracked during the beginning of a business. Running your business requires a lot of control, focus and effort into achieving your end goal. Decide your goals early on in the beginning and every day, make sure you complete all the things on your list before the day ends. Even if you feel like you are wandering off the track, take a break and get yourself to stick to the straight road.

3. Time

Ever felt like you don’t have enough time on your hands? Ever felt like there is too much happening around you and you just do not know where the time goes? Just like it is important to have your goals in place, it is important to keep a check on the time you take to finish these goals as well. When you structure your time according to the things that are important to you, then you know where your time is going and how you can make the most of the 24 hours you have. Schedule the morning hours for the important things you need to get done during the day and then work your way toward achieving your goals.

4. Secure a team

More often than not, not a lot of employers realise the value of having a strong and loyal team in place. Get all the people you need in your corner with you and when you do hire the first round of people, make sure you give them all they need to stay on with you to the very end. A loyal team helps in giving your business the backbone for a strong future and honestly, no business can work without a strong team. 

5. Be sure of what your business’s vision is

While this point seems like an obvious one, it just has to be mentioned here. With a market that is already fragmented and diverse,it is important to have a vision for your startup. Having a vision for your business is essential to help you understand what is to be done to achieve not just the short term goals, but also the long term goals. A business vision also gives you a direction as to what you should and should not invest in to grow your business.

Only after you dot the i’s and cross the t’ can your business grow. What is your checklist? Comment and let us know!

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