Being a business owner is a challenging thing, there are highs and lows, and everything in between. Some days we have all our ducks in a row and everything goes smoothly. And then the next day a crisis hits and we are struggling to find the right path forward. And no matter how much planning you do, there will still be obstacles that pop up from time to time and you will be forced to deal with them head-on.

So today, I wanted to share with you the five things that you should think about when a crisis strikes, to get through them faster and with less collateral damage. This is the same formula that I have used with my business coaching clients for over 25 years, and it could prove valuable to you one day, as well.

1. Get clear on the issue. 

When you hear bad news, it is easy to get tunnel vision and start focusing on the problem in front of you and block everything else out. But it's important to get clear early on about what the actual issue is and what the root cause may be, so that you can properly deal with the problem head-on. Did the issue arise because you had another problem right below the surface that had gone unnoticed? Or is it something entirely new? Getting clear on the issue will help you tackle it.

2. Reduce the fear. 

When a problem strikes, fear can take over quickly as you think of all the possible outcomes. So face them head-on and write down the real risks that you are dealing with in this situation. Will you lose customers? Income? Key team members? Once you know what you stand to lose, you will know how much time and attention to devote to prevent that loss from occurring.

3. Visualize the worst-case scenario. 

Is it scary? Yes. Will you survive? Yes. Lay it all out and visualize what it would look like if you did nothing about the current situation. Sit with the idea for a minute. It isn't a fun exercise, but it will help you put the problem into perspective and get clarity for step number four.

4. Create a game plan. 

Once you have played the "what if" game, it's time to start formulating a plan. What are the best first steps to start dealing with the situation to make it better than the worst-case outcome that you already played out in your head? What things can you do easily? What steps take more effort but would be worth it if they were successful? Once you have these steps laid out, it is much easier to execute them.

5. Find support. 

Do you have people in your network that can help you with the problem at hand? Do you have a mentor or coach to lean on during this time? Is there someone you can call for help? Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. And if you have to enlist the help of another company or professional, don't be afraid to do so.

Dealing with a business crisis is never enjoyable, but you may end up coming out stronger and a better leader because of it.