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June 17, 2011
If a Crisis Strikes, 'Breathe'
There's lots of advice on the Web about what to do if a crisis strikes your business, but one of the more dead-on tips is simply to "breathe." The American Express' Open Forum blog for small business reminds us that "it is essential to keep a level head in the face of a firestorm." It's easier to do that if you've planned well for unsettling events that may not be likely to happen.

The AmEx post includes linked pointers by a few practitioners on viewing a crisis - possibly something as pedestrian as a negative review on Yelp — as "an opportunity to fix something wrong in your business," or simply to explain well something that's been misunderstood. Other on-the-mark recommendations are to respond swiftly, acknowledge reality and, after a bit, launch a positive campaign to push possible reminders of the crisis further down on Google. It helps if you've already been involved in a community event or charity.

"Write a release about good things your company is doing and post it on press release websites like PR.com and PR Web,” Melissa Cassera of Cassera Communications says. “Also, ask your happy customers to go online and write reviews. Pretty soon, people will start thinking positively about your company again.” One other pointer, of course, is don't mess up to a point where that isn't possible.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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