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Bray & Long – Crisis Management for Small Business

By William Bray

(October 12, 2022) I’ve worked closely with businesses and their owners for nearly 30 years in a variety of roles.  Litigator, general counsel and board member to name a few.  Most of my client interaction involves deal-making.  Negotiating master agreements, creating incentive structures, buying and selling businesses. No matter the transaction, there is always some moment when a “crisis” evolves but those moments are fleeting.

Crisis Management, on the other hand, is an entirely different task and one that I view as perhaps the most important role I play on behalf of my clients.

So what makes a true “crisis” in the life cycle of your business?  And at what point do you need a true Crisis Manager as opposed to a scattered group of professional advisors?  Here are a few examples:

  • Critical investment pulls out just before a timely closing, leaving you unable to make payroll and honor myriad obligations to vendors, clients and partners.
  • Your company is under siege and teetering on insolvency due to a siege of unexpected lawsuits.
  • A critical mass of key employees has left to launch a competitive business and your company isn’t protected by non-compete agreements.
  • As a micro-manager, you take pride in “getting into the weeds” on operational challenges throughout your platform until you realize things are out of control and there aren’t any quick fixes to reach solid footing.
  • Nature strikes, and a hurricane renders your workforce and your hard assets useless as customers demand action and accountability on their contracts.

As a business owner struggling to mount an effective response to any of the foregoing examples, who is your first call and what do you expect from their input?

Are you making calls to a dozen different professional providers and juggling their responses and responsibilities as you struggle to keep your business afloat?  Or are you entrusting a key advisor to manage your crisis management while you focus on your core business and key relationships so that you survive to recognize your long-term goals?

Being able to take the reins and manage a true meltdown is a task I relish.  I’m a small business owner and appreciate the blood, sweat and tears it takes to build a company.  I’ve dealt with plenty of “gut check” moments in Bray & Long’s history over 20 years, 3 locations and many terrific employees, partner and associates.

My goal when engaged in my Crisis Manager role is simple – I want to:

  • Make sure the client survives to live another day.
  • Ensure continuity of all customer, vendor and employee relationships.
  • Work with ownership to create a platform from which the company vaults from crisis to growth as quickly as possible.

Is a lawyer the best person to manage this process?  The answer is an absolute YES.  We understand contracts, legal pitfalls and negotiating leverage.  We are qualified to actively interface on behalf of distressed clients without question.  And at the end of the day, we are the ones who will ensure that your commercial platform is on solid footing so you can focus on your core business.

Please, please, please don’t delay if you see things slipping away in a downward fashion.  Let’s talk.  My team and I can sketch out a plan for whatever challenges you and your business face. We can take the heat off in tough times and allow you to engage your key relationships while we pull those distracting weeds as fast as they grow.

William Bray is the founding member of Bray & Long, PLLC, a boutique corporate law practice in Charlotte, North Carolina.  For more information visit their website at  William can also be reached directly at or at 704-523-7777.