By Brian McKay
When you're getting a business up and running, you will read everything you can about making it work. You may read the book "Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People". You may read its follow-up "The Eighth Habit", and reflect that maybe the ninth habit is "Writing A Cash-In Sequel".
You may well read articles, watch films and TV shows and learn about the people who inspire you. In short, you may get pretty carried away with the idea of success.
You may think unless you're actively making money at any given moment, you're not doing enough. Chasing the dollar, the status symbols (can a Bugatti Veyron be a "business expense"? Probably not, and it will make you hard to insure.) and focusing on making a quick buck can be attractive. It may also leave you vulnerable.
Vulnerability doesn't just affect the companies that fail to put themselves out there and make as much as possible. Think of business as being like a prize fight. If you're always going for the showy knockout punch, you leave yourself open to a sucker punch. So focus also on how you can protect yourself.
Making Your Business More Secure
There is no escaping the fact that a business with money is a target for criminals. We hear about corporate crime with increasing regularity these days. We hopefully know that any information held electronically needs to be well encrypted. But we shouldn't think that an increase in cyber crime means analog theft has gone out of fashion.
Speak to security companies about installing vault systems. Everything that contains bank details or financial information needs to be locked down every evening. Things connected to future business plans need to be protected too. Proprietary technology and designs can be as valuable as cash, depending on your industry.
Making Your Workplace Employee-Friendly
Not only does a business need to be aware of Sick Building Syndrome, the building itself needs to be efficient to get the best from employees. That means that you need to ensure that there is enough natural light in there. Employees who only ever see four walls and a screen will get stir-crazy.
There also needs to be a lot of space. If your employees can't move their chair without bumping a colleague's wheels, never mind stir-crazy. They'll become irritable and resentful very quickly, and that's really bad news.
Be Ready For Worst-Case Scenarios
Much of the prevailing mood in the world today is about an "Alpha" mentality. In business, politics and everyday life, there is an attitude of "if you aren't winning, you're nothing." And while success is a laudable aim, it needs to be balanced.
That alpha mentality lacks the nuance that will make a business truly successful. In short, you need to be sure that if bad things happen, you can ride them out. Elections, public scandals, natural disasters and terror attacks can hit financial markets. They can affect consumer confidence.
If people are suddenly reluctant to spend money, can your business survive it? Having the answer to this question - based on fact and not in unfounded confidence - is essential to your success.