Weekly Business Idea

September 15, 2017 – What Can Kill Your Growth?

Posted on | September 15, 2017 | No Comments

Main Idea:

Would you be financial wiped out if your business was in South Florida?  What would happen if hackers got into your computer system and stole your customers identities, as well as their credit cards?  Do you have one supplier that you are dependent on?  What would happen if a key employee was in a traffic accident and was unable to work for 6 months?  What would happen if that was you?

Expansion of the Idea:

Last Friday afternoon, I had a client meeting.  I came out of the meeting and checked my phone.  It was lit up with emails and text messages from one of my credit card companies.  Apparently, I had just bought a couple of beds online for someone in Orlando Florida.  The credit card company wanted to know if this was an authentic transaction.  I was glad that they caught it and I of course told them that it wasn’t correct.  They canceled the card and reissued it.  The unusual thing was that earlier that day, I had tried to use the card and it was rejected at a local restaurant.  All my cards were rejected and then one of them worked at another reader at that restaurant.  Could someone have put a card skimmer on the one reader?  I don’t know.  All I know is that my identity has been compromised.

This was on top of the Equifax notification that a huge number of people’s identities have been stolen.  Throw in two huge hurricanes and you have potential for mass disruption of the economy anywhere in the US.  There are a lot of things that can negatively impact your business.  You may not have a direct link to a problem but a key customer or vendor may have been impacted.  Some of the indirect links may actually be worse because you have no idea when they will be fixed.

We need to focus on growth in our businesses.  I firmly believe that we need to be in a growth mindset or else our businesses will die.  Yet, we also need to make sure that as we are growing we have built solid foundations for growth.  Things to consider are:

  • Great systems
  • Great people
  • Training & cross-training
  • Emergency plans
  • Offsite backups of our digital information
  • Risk mitigation
  • Margin in our personal and business lives
  • Financial reserves

You can add other items to the list.  The key takeaway is that you need to evaluate your situation periodically.  For the business, this can be part of a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats (SWOT) evaluation, focusing on the weaknesses and threats.  On the personal side, this can be done by meeting with your key advisors; normally your financial, insurance and legal advisors.  This is something that frequently gets pushed back.  Yet the events of the last couple of weeks tell us that there are consequences if we push them back too far.

Here are some specific steps to consider:

  1. Consider putting a credit freeze on your accounts with the three main credit bureaus
  2. If you only have one credit card, consider getting a second one.
  3. Meet with your key personal advisors and make sure your financial affairs are set up properly
  4. Meet with your personal and business insurance agents to evaluate your insurance and risk needs.  You don’t need to be insured against everything, but you do need to know what is or is not covered.
  5. Do a Weakness and Threat analysis with your team to evaluate your business.
  6. Evaluate your computer backups and make sure they are working
  7. Evaluate your emergency plans.
  8. Do a cash flow projection assuming something bad happens
  9. Critically analyze your organization chart.  Identify positions that would be a problem if the person quit or was injured.
  10. Do a systems analysis.  Are there recurring issues that are more severe than you think?

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    These weekly ideas are brought to you by FitzGerald & FitzGerald P.C. For more information about how to use these ideas with your small business contact Tim FitzGerald at trfitz@fitz-net.com.