Get automatic updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Connect with Steve Sipress


How To Avoid A Business Disaster

Oklahoma tornado

Natural disasters were all over the news this past holiday weekend, as our President visited both the sites of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation last fall and the Moore, Oklahoma tornado last week.

Over 100 people died in the two disasters, and thousands more lost their homes and/or all of their possessions.

In one news clip, I saw someone turn to the camera and say, “It’s all gone. I’ve lost everything.”

Now, of course I don’t want to minimize the devastation of natural disasters in any way. But when I heard that statement, I couldn’t help but think how often I’ve heard business owners say the same thing.

Depending on which study you believe, anywhere from 50% to 90% of businesses don’t even last five years. In other words, the vast majority of business owners will feel at some point that they’ve lost everything, and they’ll close their doors forever.

But in business – unlike with natural disasters – it doesn’t have to be that way.

The key is to build a list.

When you have a strong relationship with a list of your own customers, you have what smart marketers call “a license to print money.” What that means is that even if something horrible ever happens to you where you lose your physical location and/or equipment, if you have a solid list you’ll never have to say “It’s all gone. I’ve lost everything” – even if to the outside world it appears that you have.

So what’s the moral of the story?

Don’t wait until a disaster hits your business. Concentrate on building a strong relationship with your list right now, so that if a disaster ever does hit, you’ll never feel hopeless or lost.

And speaking of losing…

This week, I conclude my How To Catch Your Big Fish series with the third and final discussion of what I call The Five Killer Mistakes you can make that will not only cause you to lose your Big Fish, but possibly your entire company.

The final one of my Five Killer Mistakes is: Being Up Cash Creek Without a Paddle.

Even when things are going well, there’s still always the chance that you could run out of cash. That’s why you must always be prepared for a slowdown in sales or a surge in expenses that can wreak havoc with your cash flow.

One of the big keys to balancing your cash flow is getting your clients to pay you on time. This can be a difficult and uncomfortable aspect of your business to deal with, but it’s absolutely essential to maintaining a successful business.

Here are some tips to speed up your clients’ payments:

  • Always send invoices on time, and make sure they’re always correct
  • Constantly adjust your records for potential audits
  • Learn how each of your clients process their payments, so you know precisely where to send your invoices
  • Find out who’s in charge of processing orders and payments, so you know who to contact if needed
  • Have an effective follow-up procedure in place, just in case
  • As a last resort, make sure to call your contact and ask questions

You also need to make sure your cash flow is protected. You can do this by:

  • Always knowing which accounts need to be paid, and when
  • Negotiating with your suppliers for the lowest costs and best terms possible
  • Having a bank contingency plan in place
  • Building your own investor network BEFORE you ever need cash

These are all great ways to protect the cash flow of your business and prepare for Big Fish transitions and slow sales periods. Catching your Big Fish can be a major positive turning point for your business. Do everything you can to avoid it becoming a major negative.

Big Fish clients are essential to the long-term success of your business. Make sure to review my posts for the past few months, and take the time to work through each of the How To Catch Your Big Fish steps carefully and correctly. Your time will be well-invested.

And if you need help with any step of the process of Catching Your Big Fish Clients, try my FREE test drive for access to a wealth of great tools and resources in addition to my expert business coaching staff:


One Response to How To Avoid A Business Disaster

  1. Kyle @ Whales and Business Reply

    July 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Nice work. Sharing this with my readers in the next week or so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *