Heed the Warnings – Icebergs Ahead!

The sinking of the Titanic seems to be on everyone’s mind lately.  With the recent release of the 3D movie, the subject has been revisited and discussed from all different angles.  The Titanic was called “unsinkable”, but on April 14, just four days into its maiden voyage, it sank.

The Titanic disaster provides some interesting lessons for business. As an entrepreneur, it is sometime tempting to surround your business with a false sense of security, especially when things are going well for your business. But if you think of your business as unsinkable, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. Running a business is not always smooth sailing.  You need to constantly be aware of the subtle warnings happening all around you. Don’t assume that things will work out because they always do.  Did you know that the Titanic was given six ice warnings?   Not one or two but six!  Even though warnings were given, the speed of the ship continued at approximately 23 knots.  It was just 30 seconds between the first sighting of the iceberg and impact.

In business, it is vitally important that you are aware of what is going on around you.  Slow down, re-evaluate, and then take action.

You need to test the structure of your business.  Ask yourself these “what would happen if” questions:

  • What would happen if the economy slows down?
  • What would happen if my circumstances change?
  • What would happen if my products do not sell?
  • What would happen if my services are not needed anymore?
  • What would happen if a competitor takes away some of my market share?
  • What would happen if my equipment breaks down and I don’t have enough revenue to fix it?
  • What would happen if I have more orders then I could handle?
  • What would happen if I lost a big sale?

Today we live in a society where change is constant and flexibility is needed.  You need to be on your game and aware of any warnings that can have an impact on your business so that your business does not strike an unforeseen obstacle.

Take time to think about the unthinkable and be prepared.  As an entrepreneur, you also need to be prepared for emergency situations.  Learn more about business continuity planning at Public Safety Canada.

There was a 60 minute delay between the Titanic collision and the launching of the first lifeboat. This delay probably happened because those on board felt that the ship would never sink. They continued on with what they were doing, unaware that soon the ship would be at the bottom of the ocean. By the time they took action, it was too late.  Now is the time to take action and prepare.  Don’t delay!  Keep your business alive by continuing to research your market and heed the warnings.  There should be no false sense of security when you are in business.

For more information about Halton’s Small Business Centre resources and services and how we can help direct you to the right resources, contact us at 1-866-4HALTON (42-5866), www.haltonsmallbusiness.ca, smallbusinesss@halton.ca or visit us at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville.  We also offer seminars on a variety of Small Business topics.  Check out the schedule.

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