Do You Know These Five Hidden Company Killers?

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In his latest Huffington Post article, Jack Garson discusses five hidden company killers that you should know.

Jack Garson, Founder Garson | Claxton LLC

Stuff crashes—stock markets, power grids, computers, even meteors. You need to be prepared for unexpected disasters.

You obviously wouldn’t deliberately put your own company out of business. But you could accidentally sink your firm, warns best-selling author Jack Garson in his latest Huffington Post article. Garson, an attorney, business writer and author of How to Build a Business and Sell it for Millions (St. Martin's Press), says that while some “company killers” are obvious — competition, obsolescence, too much debt — you need to keep your eye on five high-priority but hidden threats that could blindside you.

1. Bad Customers

Some customers just aren’t worth the trouble, observes Garson. If you want to make money, especially when times are tough, focus on solid paying customers, not time-sucking clients who don’t pay.

2. Employee Turnover

A lot of businesses call employees their most valuable assets, but some don’t really mean it. Actions speak louder than words, and employees know full well whether their employer’s love is real or fake. When employees quit, the company incurs a host of nasty costs. Garson’s Huffington Post column offers tips for boosting retention.

3. “Supervision? We don’t need no stinkin’ supervision.”

Lululemon’s peekaboo pants. Carnival’s transformation from popular cruise line to late-night-joke punch line. The New England Compounding Center’s contaminated injections. The news is full of quality-control horror stories that can not only damage short-term business but also hold the potential to kill customers — and whole companies, says Garson.

4. Whoops! We Broke the Law

If you like orange jump suits, supervised family visits, and mega-million-fines, go ahead and let sales-driven employees dream up new products, propose them to prospective customers, and only then seek quick, cursory approval from your lawyer. Better to adopt what Garson calls a “culture of compliance,” as well as retaining — and heeding — skilled legal counsel.

5. Crashes: Plan for Disaster

As Garson observes: “Stuff crashes—stock markets, power grids, computers, even meteors. You need to be prepared for unexpected disasters.” If you’re spending big money on incomplete insurance coverage, for example, trusting in inadequate computer back-up, or relying on a sole supplier for a critical product, you will be unable to withstand a disaster. Plan for the worst.

Company killers can sneak up on you and strike like lightning on a sunny day. With the foresight to address problems that aren’t obvious, you can protect your company and prosper.

Jack Garson is the founder of the law firm of Garson | Claxton in Bethesda, Maryland. Garson has been a go-to source for reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post and Bloomberg Businessweek, and has a track record as a successful negotiator of commercial transactions including the purchase and sale of multi-million dollar businesses, the structuring of eight-figure construction contracts, and the sale and leasing of commercial properties throughout the United States. He is a frequent author of articles within his fields of expertise, and shares valuable insights and time-tested perspective via videos and blog articles at Read his Huffington Post columns here.

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