Is Your Business On The Brink Of Disaster?

November 14, 2008

Is your business on the brink of disaster? If so, don’t wait for a business disaster to happen. Check to see if your business is making one of these crucial mistakes and fix the problem fast.

Last night I had a dream. Actually, it was a nightmare. I wound up in the middle of a huge business disaster. I’d taken a job at Disasters R Us – the most inefficient business I’d worked in, since the NHS. And aside from showing me how much I’d hate to work for someone else; it also reminded me how small problems can escalate into a huge business disaster, if you don’t fix them.

Technology That Sucks Money From Your Business

Disasters R Us was ran by two partners. I think they were brothers, so we’ll call them Cain and Abel. Abel seemed to spend most of his day trying to fix three dodgy printers. And Cain disappeared so often that I initially thought the bathroom was his office.

The time wasted in this business was astounding. Three more women worked in the office, aside from me. But they spent most of their time talking, because they couldn’t work while the printers were broken. I had trouble figuring that one – I guess Cain and Abel were a bit gullible.

Most of my day at Disasters R Us was spent typing piles of letters. They looked perfect until I came to fold them. The business used some cheapo ink which dried slowly, so the print smudged.

When it comes to materials, you want to save money. But using low quality products that don’t do the job properly, is just a massive waste. And replacing technology that sucks can be expensive. But if it’s wasting your time, it’s losing money. And if it’s wasting the time of your staff on a regular basis, your business is probably leaking so much cash that business disaster is imminent.

Business Partnerships Often Lead To Disaster

As I said, two brothers ran Disasters R Us. And while Cain appeared to be doing bugger all, Abel ran round like a demented chicken, fixing the printers and doing meaningless tasks, like unblocking the toilet and making everyone sandwiches at lunchtime.

Halfway through the day, Cain disappeared altogether – he had a headache. This wasn’t surprising. Disasters R Us was one huge headache.

Before you enter a business partnership, ask yourself if you really need a partner and what value they will bring to the business. If you’re already in a partnership with someone who’s as much use to your business as a dinghy with a puncture, make arrangements for one of you to leave, as soon as possible. And if you’re worried about falling out with your partner, remember that the fall out will be much worse if you wait until your business finds itself in the middle of a huge disaster.

Also, realise you can’t run a business efficiently, if you’re spending most of your time doing meaningless tasks and fixing broken equipment.

Expensive Business Premises And Overstaffing Could Lead To A Massive Disaster

Disasters R Us wasn’t the type of business where customers visited the premises. Yet they had a ridiculously expensive town centre building. And because they were so unorganised, the business was paying folk to sit round talking all day.

Expensive business premises won’t add value to your customers experience – especially if they don’t see them. And even if they do, they might wonder how much you’re ripping them off to pay for overpriced office space.

Also, if you don’t have a system in place and your business is like an episode of Fawlty Towers, simply throwing more staff at the problem will lead to a huge disaster.

Last year, I interviewed Ian Denny. His small business met with disaster, when it went from £1 million a year in sales, to bust. One of the reasons for his business disaster, was not having a decent system in place and taking on more staff, instead of trying to fix the problem.

He started the business up again, put a good system in place and they were able to do the same amount of work efficiently, with far fewer staff.

Unneccessary Paperwork

On my first day at work for Disasters R Us, my boss gave me two filing trays full of letters to respond to. Some of the letters appeared to be weeks old and I had to wonder if it really was necessary to reply to most of them.

Does your business spend a lot of time doing unnecessary paperwork? Does every letter that comes into your office really need a response?

Too much time spent on trivial things, instead of activities which will make your business money, could eventually lead to a huge business disaster.

Have you ever worked at a place like Disasters R Us? Are they still in business? What other business disasters should we be trying to prevent?

Related Resources

Profiting From Misery: Is It Right For You?
Prevent Business Disaster: 7 Tips For Covering Your Ass In Business
Do You Take Precautions?
Anti-Squash Business Survival Tips
20 Things I Wish I’d Known About Business And Life When I Was 20.
Oops – I Sank A Business

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