Starting up a business – seven (7) operational threats to your business!

It is not my intention to sound like a profit of doom but it pays to be cautious and examine all conceivable scenarios.  So I am playing the devils’ advocate!

When starting up a business, it is normal to do some serious planning before jumping in.  One of the tradition planning tools is SWOT analysis – i.e. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

It is important to identify weaknesses, just as it is important to know your strengths.  However, weaknesses aren’t generally fatal – at least not in the short term.  They may cause you problems and probably slow you down.  However, threats are potentially fatal in the short term.  So it is worth spending a little more time on potential threats.

Regardless of the business you are in, here are seven (7) potential threats that could prove fatal to your business.

  1. Putting all your eggs in one basket (e.g. relying on one customer or supplier)
  2. Growing too fast (i.e. too much business to handle, insufficient resources)
  3. Negative cash flow (e.g. from poor pricing, poor costing or unfunded expansion)
  4. Failure to innovate (i.e. not keeping up with technology or competitor products)
  5. Going it alone (i.e. trying to do everything yourself and doing nothing well)
  6. Non responsive to communication (e.g. customer requests, feedback, criticism, complaints, creditors)
  7. Loss of power and / or connectivity (e.g. power outages / surges, internet / telephone problems, failure to back up)

Note that all the threats listed above are operational threats.  And there are more!   Unlike threats posed by natural disasters, these are well within your control.   More importantly, they can all be planned for.  In fact, avoiding these pitfalls is what business planning is all about.

So if you fall victim to one of these threats, it is of your own making.  The fact that you didn’t know that the threat was even possible simply means that you didn’t do enough research before starting up a business.  Any competent business coach or adviser could list these threats.  Get advice!

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Until next time!


‘Where ideas come from’ by Steven Johnson

This is a great 4 minute video for anyone starting a new business. It shows you in simple terms how good ideas are generated.
Every entrepreneur goes through the sometimes frustrating process of innovative thinking. You sit there and sit there … and nothing happens.
So if you are starting business or innovating / renovating your existing business, watching Steven Johnson’s video for the next 4 minutes will put you on the right track and save you a lot of time. Highly recommended viewing.

Business startup – female entrepreneurs rule!

Your seat?

Your seat?

Entrepreneurs are imaginative business creators and builders who are also good at enlisting others to their cause.  To date, the majority has been male but more and more females are taking on new business startup ventures and succeeding.

In my experience, female entrepreneurs are not better or worse than males.  They are different.  It is the gender differences that translate into different approaches to the conduct of business.

For example, walk into a female’s office and the décor is a little softer and a little more welcoming.  The space is a more organised and there is often evidence of a balanced life outside work.

In my experience, females are good listeners – the best listeners.  They tend to listen first and talk later, after they understand what’s important to others.

Women can be very shy but once engaged in a conversation, they are much more social and vocal.  Women network really well, particularly with other women.  It seems to make no difference whether it is play group or a business breakfast; women are capable of networking with each other many times faster than males.

In general I have always found a higher level of empathy among females.  It seems to go hand in hand with their willingness to engage and listen.  For mine, they are much better at putting themselves in another’s shoes, taking a genuine interest and taking the time to understand.

Women really get it!  They know business is about socializing.  They know it’s about listening, really listening; starting conversations, interacting, bringing people together and collaborating with each other.

There is a lot of ‘businessey’ stuff that many women don’t know.  Many men don’t know it either but women are more likely to ask for advice.  I find that they also heed good advice much better than males.

Women are smart enough to realise that they need help in certain areas and not afraid to ask.  They are also less likely to allow ego to get in the way.

I have found women to be very diligent with planning as well.  It is part of their need to be organised and knowing what is happening day to day.

One of Anita Roddick’s most famous quotes was, “Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking.”  It seems to me that women are a lot more practical in their approach and have a lot less ego driving their business decisions.

Women don’t always have the opportunity to spend 14 hours a day in the office because they have other priorities to balance in their lives.  In many cases, there are young children to consider, school hours to juggle, a home to manage and a partner to spend time with.

Opinion is divided on the value of a female’s ability to multi-task.  It is said that trying to do too many different things at once detracts from the singular focus needed to succeed.

However, I believe that females have an advantage with their ability to multi-task.  The reality of daily business is distraction.  It is rare that you get to do exactly what you want in the day with out distraction.

For me, women create a nicer style of business.  It is welcoming, collaborative, empathetic, and fair minded.  I find a lot more win-win activity and a lot less ego-drive win-lose competition.

There are a lot of guys out there who could learn some valuable business startup lessons from our entrepreneurial girls.

Until next time!


For 100 top business startup ideas and lots more tips and traps for newcomers, read my latest book at: