How to make your company fail

You may have read tips on running a successful company but are you aware of things you shouldn’t do? Improve your business by avoiding these traps:

Don’t change

If you keep the same website, produce the same products and provide the same service year after year, customers will get bored and move on to a sparkly new service or product. Over time, customers’ interests change and they want products or services that meet their needs. Great businesses evolve by updating systems and producing fresh ideas to keep up with competition.

Forget to chase late payers

Not collecting debts owed to the company is an easy way to lose money and put pressure on cashflow. It is well worth producing stricter contracts and policies, visiting late payers face to face or even asking for payments in advance to combat the problem. 

Ignore the accounts and cashflow

Ignoring the financial accounts will put your company in danger. If you aren’t keeping tabs on cashflow, you’ll probably end up make wrong decisions on spending and it will be very difficult to spot future problems.  A weekly or even daily cashflow model will help you to identify any non-essential payments that could be better saved or spent somewhere else.

Remember “turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is reality”.

Focus on one customer

Never has the saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” been more relevant. If your only customer backs out or becomes insolvent, what is your back up plan?

Forget what USP stands for

If you don’t have a Unique Selling Point, why would customers choose you over another competitor? Your company won’t stand out from the crowd if there is nothing different to offer. Be sure to not confuse your USPs or mix them together. If you want to provide an exclusive or upmarket service, you probably shouldn’t promote ‘mass availability’ as a USP.

Try to do everything yourself

A leader does not leave everything to one person but instead delegates and employs the right people for each department (marketing, sales, operations, bookkeeping and so on). Employing in-house support or outsourcing agencies will make sure your business reaches its full potential.

Don’t plan or strategise

Throwing money at problems when they crop up or trying every new idea that comes along might seem like good ideas at the time but without a set plan or strategy, things can quickly get out of control. People will work harder when there is a goal to reach.

Don’t communicate with staff

If you don’t let managers and staff know where the business is heading, how can you expect them to help you get there?  Keep departments in the loop with regular meetings, emails or phone calls.

Ignore advice

Sometimes you have to go with your gut instinct instead of someone’s advice but most of the time, it’s there to follow and learn from. Treat feedback from clients like gold dust and really listen to critics. They give you perspective.

Remember if your business fails, it doesn’t mean you haven’t tried everything you possibly can to keep it running – sometimes these things just happen. Many directors end up starting another company which becomes successful because they’ve learnt from the experience. If your company is struggling but viable, there may still be a chance to save it. A turnaround or insolvency professional can talk you through your options.  

Anna-Lisa Searle writes for turnaround and insolvency specialist firm, KSA Group, and is a contributor to

This information should not be interpreted as financial advice. Commercial mortgage rates are subject to change. Speak to our advisors for a mortgage illustration.