Sunday, September 25, 2011

9 (old) + Three (new) Early Warning Sings of a Troubled Company

Gems stated in 1 to 9 below I read about a decade ago.

  1. The One Man Show - Does the company allow key person to grow in their jobs and make key decisions?
  2. No Succession - Is someone being groomed to replace the president?
  3. High Profile / Low Tech - How does company's hardware compare with that of its chief competition?
  4. The Giant Customer Trap - Would the company survive if it lost biggest customer?
  5. Operating on Old News - Does the company have an accurate financial snapshot of its operations on a monthly or fortnightly basis?
  6. Touring Without Road Map - Does the company have a written business plan & its still valid?
  7. Banking Blues - Does the company communicate with lenders regularly?
  8. Hazardous Growth -Expanding too quickly on a non sustainable basis ?
  9. The Change Factor - Whether company and how much company has changed during last 12 months?

This was the fact about a decade back. However MOST of these may still hold true, rapid change in economies , technology and entrepreneurial landscape,  we can safely add a few more.   

x) No focus on CUSTOMER. - Business Plan/Strategy defines everything else but  Customer Experience company propose to offer.

y) Not engaging customers on social media (SM) platforms by providing great insights on the products and services being offered.  Using SM to address customer concerns and complaints {quickly}.

z) Inability to attract Great Talent. Yes war is of TALENT. People run the business. Rest all can be improved upon if people are right. This also applies to having diversified & some what weird board members.

As we advance in the TIME we need lesser reasons to fail { even survive and succeed }. Test Check TODAY. Its all early warning signs. Be alarmed NOW or be surprised and shocked, later. 


  1. Interesting.. but steve jobs says otherwise when it comes to focus on customer.
    "There is a school of thought in management theory that — if you’re in the consumer-facing space building products and services — you’ve got to listen to your customer. Steve Jobs was one of the first businessmen to say that was a waste of time. The customers today don’t always know what they want, especially if it’s something they’ve never seen, heard, or touched before. "
    more at

  2. Appreciate.

    Steve Jobs certainly have customer in focus when designing new products. That is customer focus not customer feedback only.

  3. Great Insights...... And appreciate your views.

    Agree with all the points. Very valid and bang on.

    Few Doubts
    1) Do these points fit all Industry? (IT I agree but not much can be said about the Infrastructure companies)
    2) If we generalize the same the wouldn't it be a big question mark on Indian SME sector. Who are present from past n decades.
    3) What about the companies who are satisfied with their limited growth and clientele?

    I feel it surly works with all the IT and ITES cos but may not be generalized for the remaining sector.

  4. On LinkedIn by Vasudevan B. I.
    President - Projects at Orbit Corporation Ltd., Mumbai, India

    I liked your writing very much. It brings out very important points, so lucidly! Thanks. Keep it up !
    Best regards,
    Cmde VB Iyer

  5. Thank U Sir. Inspiration like this is appreciated. U may also share yr thoughts here.

  6. Dear Abhishek,

    Vaild issues.

    However yes these are universal rules. Limited growth and clientele is ok as long as no dependence on major one or two clients.Many companies have gone out of business by just depending on major couple of clients.

    Those surviving must be managing the above signs better. Abt succession , need will be felt after couple of decades. So surviving a decade or so is ok, its abt long term survival.

    Hoe many SME companies survived beyond 2nd generation?? Reasons may be many.


    Read collection of this blog posts in the book form.