If things are going well, we don’t even think about the ways in which things might go wrong. Indeed, we may do a review of our finances, staff, future orders, and think everything is just fine. This is especially the case when you’re a new start up and things are just beginning to go right.
Of course, it’s asking too much for you to start over analysing everything you’re doing, but it can pay to make sure you’re not overly reliant on any one factor that’s contributing to your success. Because should that factor go away, trouble may lie ahead.
You might have a really great product or service that people love, but they might only be in love with it right now. The might be currently be the big thing, but the next big thing is only around the corner, and if you’re not ready to adapt to the market and solidify your business for those times when it’s not right at the top then a changing wind might spell the end for you.
Rather than getting too wrapped up in everything that you’re doing, make sure you’re setting aside a portion of your resource to monitoring the data that’ll suggest that the next thing will actually be. Data is everywhere – use it!
Technology is only an aid to your business until it’s not. If you’re dependent on one type of software to make your business tick, you’ll need source code escrow protection to ensure you can still use that software should the provider go out of business.
Similarly, it should go without saying that you can’t rely on any single hard drive; make sure you backup everything. If you haven’t already done so, look at cloud storage options and make sure everything is safe regardless of what happens to your hardware.
One killer product could send your profits into stratosphere, but you’ll need a diverse range of products if you want to have a long term business plan. There are very few companies in the world who are able to make just one item and be a success. As soon as you’ve finalised one product, look at what your next one will be.
The same goes for a service you might provide. Even if it’s just about perfect right now, you should always be looking to tweak it and make subtle improvements so it stays at the forefront of what’s relevant.
On your own brain
You’re most likely the brainchild behind your company’s success, but you’ll be holding it back if you’re relying solely on yourself to kick the company forward. The idea of the genius, all creative CEO is a pretty big myth that needs to be busted. You’ll be much better served if you bring other talented minds on board and share the responsibility for the future of your company with others.
It can really pay to hire a financial expert for your company, because they’ll be able to tell you how to spend your profits wisely. If you’re growing month by month at a rate that you couldn’t have dreamed of before, then you might be tempted to expand much faster than you should be expanding. Having strong profits is good; having strong profits and getting carried away by your success is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
The only company that you can really know inside out is your own. Any partnerships you have with others will be built on trust, but reliance shouldn’t come into. If you couldn’t stand on your own without the support of another company, then you’ve got too attached. Partnerships are meant to be mutually beneficial for growth, not stability.
A massive order from a company that operates at a level much higher than your own will always sound like a good arrangement, but it’s not always the case.
It could begin as a situation where one company gives you 10% of your work, then 20%, then 40%, then 60%, and then pretty soon you’re little more than a subsidiary of that company.
If the work from them comes to an end, you’ll quickly learn how severe a mistake you have made. Don’t let any one company account for too much of your bottom line; no good can come from up beyond a quick pay day!
The things as they are
If you stop swimming forward, you’ll soon be swallowed by the ocean. Becoming reliant on things staying exactly as they are, be it the state of the economy or anything else, can be a death knell for a company, because things very seldom stay the same for very long.
Too many companies – big companies, too – have been lost because they failed to innovate at the times when they really should have been innovating. Nothing lasts forever, no matter how good your company seems to be doing. Business is no place to sentimentality – walk on to the next stage of your business growth.
There are many, many small to medium sized companies who are basically operating on debt. Debt in a company isn’t necessarily a terrible thing by any means, but these companies are saying that if they didn’t have all their loans they would not be in business within three months.
That’s too much of a strain placed on a factor that can comfortably spell the end of a company. You should be making it so that your company has a degree of independence from the banks.
But do trust
It’s important to remember that there is a pretty big distinction between reliance and trust. You absolutely should be trusting everybody who you work with and believe that they’ll be able to do as they say.
If you can’t, then you need to be looking at other people to be doing business with. With that said, you should be trusting that they’ll fulfil their role while also being able to stay afloat should they not be able to.