You might be raising your eyebrow at the title of this article, but it actually makes complete sense to prepare for failure in business. You might be an entrepreneur who’s deeply passionate about their innovative business model and you’re striving for success with a positive mindset, but preparing for failure doesn’t mean that you’re suddenly adopting a negative viewpoint. You’re not giving up before you’ve started; you’re just making sure that you always have a backup plan to pull your business back up to its feet in the event that anything tries to knock it down.
Succeed by preparing for failure in business
What you have to accept, no matter how driven you are and how impressive your business may already be, is that mistakes are going to be made and problems are going to come your way. If you want your company to be able to weather any storm, no matter how ferocious, then you need to be thick-skinned. You need to be prepared for failure at all times because that’s the only way any business can truly succeed. Even the brands at the top of the food chain in their respective industry are constantly assessing ways in which products, services, or entire departments might fail. They’re looking at ways in which the market might unexpectedly shift. You need to be doing the same if you want to succeed. Failing to prepare truly is preparing to fail. Here are some pieces of advice to help you avoid doing that.
Constantly reinvent the business plan
The industry changes all the time. That doesn’t just relate to your industry; it relates to every industry. You probably have a smart business plan in place if you’ve already achieved some level of success; you would’ve needed objectives and operational ideas in order to get to any sort of position of success and business profitability. However, things can change in an instant, and they always do. You need to continuously change your plan in order to adapt. The consumer wants newer and better things, and your business is at risk of failure if it stagnates. You’ve done something well to capture the consumer’s attention and you’ve built up a client-base but now you have to keep them intrigued.
As mentioned in another of my articles, “goal setting” is the ultimate goal in itself. However, continuous goal setting is the key to keeping your business fresh and ahead of the curve. Otherwise, you might lose your clients to a competitor who sees your success and decides to do what you’re already doing but slightly better. They might offer the exact same service at a discount, for example. You need to work hard to hold onto your success and prepare for the possibility of losing customers to someone better. Use this as motivation to drive new initiatives. Create loyalty schemes to reward clients who stick with your brand for the long-term. That’ll certainly encourage consumers to keep buying goods or services from your company.
Be an outsider, and listen to outsiders
Many business owners who fail might say it was unexpected, but it’s easy to be blind to your company’s flaws when you have an emotional connection to the brand and the empire you’re trying to build. It’s important to take a step back and view your business’ operations objectively if you want to have a real idea of how you’re doing. Preparing for failure requires a brutally honest eye, but, as mentioned earlier, it’s not about being negative. It’s about being real. It’s about planning exit strategies if the worst was to happen even if you’re in disbelief that your company could ever fail. Detach yourself from the business now and then; approach it like an outsider.
Of course, what might be more effective than that is to actually get an outsider’s opinion on your organization. You could outsource accountancy or advisory roles to get advice on the next moves for your company from professionals who have no bias or ties to your business. Of course, you might feel that you can get this kind of advice by hiring experts within the office to give honest advice, but people might hold back or be reserved about their opinions if you’re their boss. It’s better to get the perspective of people who don’t feel any strong ties to the company and can simply offer a blunt, honest opinion of the things you’re doing well and not so well.
Backup your company’s information
You should really backup your company’s precious and sensitive information frequently. This is about maintaining good relations with your customers, more than anything. Losing documents related to the company’s internal operations is one thing but if customer details are stolen or lost then you’re going to lose the trust of your client-base. You could check out the IO Zoom Cloud VPS if you wanted to gauge your options in terms of Cloud servers. It really does make sense to store your data in a more secure fashion to allow for recovery in the event of accidental loss or purposeful damage. If you use a Cloud server then you can snapshot your data every day and provide a regular recovery point so that you’d never lose any mass amounts of irrecoverable information.
It’s better to prepare for the worse even if you have several layers of security barriers in place to stop hackers in the first place. You never know when some employee might make a mistake and let in an attacker through some vulnerability or when some sort of accident or hardware malfunction might lead to the loss of mass data. It’s better to have a plan B and store your business’ information in an off-site server for protection. If your company’s system is exploited then you can always shut everything down, wipe the drive, and then restore the data from your Cloud server once you’re sure the threat has been eliminated. You don’t want to completely rely on a firewall and the tech-savvy nature of your entire workforce. People can still let their guard down for one second and be tricked by a phishing email even if they’ve been trained not to do so.
Listen to your customers
Even when it’s hard to do so, you need to listen to the complaints you get from customers. You can bury your head in the sand, but if something’s wrong with your company then you’re going to fail whether you pay attention to the problem or not. The best option is to simply accept that you’ve made a mistake in some regard, swallow your pride, and find a way to fix it by listening to the exact problems your customers are specifying. Give these people priority within your business because that’s where your money supply comes from.
You rely on your client-base to keep your company afloat, so if you want to avoid failure by seeing it from a mile away then start finding solutions to the problems your client-base is raising rather than dismissing them as silly complaints. You could start to use social media more effectively, for example. Get a few members of your team to monitor the queries and comments that come flooding in and make an active effort to reply to people. Show that your business cares about fixing problems and that your customer service is second-to-none.
Review employees regularly
The business world is a people game. Of course, whilst we’ve discussed the importance of customers to bringing profit into your company, we’ve not talked about the components of your company in itself: your employees. Business failure so often stems from a variety of variables, but, at the end of the day, it’s all to do with your workforce. Mistakes and miscalculations can be avoided in any business, but these failures can only be avoided if your employees are kept on their toes and paying attention to whatever is happening around them.
That’s why it is so important to regularly review your employees. If you want your business to avoid failure as a whole then look into the departments or sub-departments within your company that seem to be slacking. If small pockets of your organization are starting to fail then this brings down the firm as a whole and increases the likelihood of the entire operation falling apart. Every chain in the link of your company relies on the next chain; it has to be an airtight operation so that the cogs keep turning the wheel. If certain workers are bringing everyone else down then you need to make the tough call and replace them. Don’t wait for things to fail; see it coming. You need a solid workforce. It’s not enough for you to be passionate and driven. Your employees need to share that mentality.
At the end of the day, you can never predict which curveball the industry will throw next. The market can change unexpectedly and so can the people within your business. All that you can do as a business owner is prepared for the worst and always have a plan B to help you bounce back from failure.