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I can’t tell you how many fires I’ve had to put out in my career. From technology failures to reporting issues which lead to wrong promotional payouts, I’ve seen my fair share of marketing disasters. Both things I’ve messed up and learned hard lessons from, and things that were completely out of my control but my job to clean up.

In the online business space, it looks like internet trolls, shady competitors, and, of course, tech failures.

In all of my experiences when things went wrong, I was always better able to recover from it when I had already thought about what I might do when things went wrong. 

Today I’m going to share my best tips on how to be prepared, so you can recover faster and with more grace.

One of my goals is to not only provide you with quick wins, like the tactical email marketing tag post last week, but also help you shift your mindset to think like a marketer in order to make you a better business owner. And this is something all good marketers need to have in their back pocket for when things hit the fan.


Your first step to being prepared is to identify potential dangers. Before a big launch, or before you start running a polarizing ad, are both great times to sit back and think of where some potential for trolling or tech failures could get a little crazy. 

Or maybe it’s that a launch isn’t going as well as you wanted, and sales are down. 

Or a client refuses to pay. Or even a vendor you’ve paid goes dark – not completing what you requested.

There are an endless list of ways that things could go crazy within your business. And part of easing the anxiety around them is simply to acknowledge what’s possible.  Without first acknowledging that, you won’t be able to be better positioned to overcome it. 

Once you’ve identified potential pitfalls, you can look at developing situational strategies. What’s your plan for commenting (or not commenting) on internet trolls?  How will you handle in-the-moment issues that come up? What can you have in your back pocket to amplify a launch that isn’t going as well as planned?

As you think of what you might do in each situation, be sure to reflect on your personal or brand values. A solid plan includes taking responsibility, not arguing, and focusing on serving your audience as best you can.

As part of a plan, be sure to assign responsibilities if you have a team. Who will be responsible for what? And what is the expectation of response or resolution?  When do you want them to bring it to your attention? 

For each situation, how long might it take for you to recover? What tools might you need? What kind of communications might you need?

If you can, craft communications in advance that can be edited to fit situations that arise. That way, should something happen, you just need to edit and send. You’re able to respond much faster than if you had to craft the communications from scratch. And, writing communications in the moment, you’re much more likely to let your emotions drive your response rather than your values and strategy.

Plan to also evaluate what happened afterwards. Ask yourself: what made this situation different? Is there anything that can be done to avoid this in the future?

Lastly, you can do fire drills.  Do you know where to find the help you need in the moment? You can build your confidence in ability to react by simply practicing. It will help reduce some of the pressure, and help you stay calm in stressful situations.

I know you’ll be able to tackle anything that gets thrown at you. As Marie Forleo says, “everything is figureoutable.”  My hope is this gives you a CEO mindset on how to prepare for, and tackle, anything that comes your way. I know you’ve got this.