Yes, there is a lot we can learn from the recent BP Oil Spill and the Crisis Communications they have implemented, but for the small (er) company there are five simple foundations to keep in mind:

1 - crisis happens to businesses big and small - and don't think it'll be a calamity (such as a plane crash) - far less serious events lead to a crisis

2 - a crisis is not always your own doing - sometimes you get there due to activities outside of your company, from third parties or just bad luck

3 - speed is vital in a crisis - if you can't act quickly you create a 'media vacuum' that someone will fill - and it won't be pretty

4 - preparation - knowing what your message will be, who will say it and how it will be delivered, is the key to success. A proactive crisis communication plan and media training are not expensive - you can do it yourself or in today's market, ask a local PR agency to help you out - it'll cost little more than a couple of days of consultancy

5 - practice makes perfect - if you practice, or are experienced in dealing with the media, it will be a lot easier when there is a crisis. Getting media trained before a crisis is a vital investment.