Is there a SPOF in your business?

Is there a single point of failure in your business?

I’ve lost count of the number of businesses I have helped identify and deal with the single point of failure in the business.

Sometimes, this is a computer system. It’s not robust, possibly not backed up properly and if it were to fail the business would grind to a halt.

More often, it is a person. If that person isn’t available, is sick or on holiday, things don’t get done and eventually the business fails. That’s not you, is it? It is often the business owner, with all the levers of control in their own hands.

Perhaps it is a single contract with a customer. That represents such a high proportion of your business that if you lose that contract the business will go under. You don’t have to do anything wrong for the worst to happen – it could be something completely out of your control. Perhaps the customer is taken over, or they lose their customer…but you still lose out.

Sometimes it can be a supplier, or a component from a range of suppliers that is rapidly coming to the end of its life.

Do you know where your points of failure are?

Are you sure that computer backup is actually working ok? When was the last time you tested it? How many people actually know how to restore from a backup?

If it is an individual, training can help. Delegation is often something that doesn’t come easily, but it is a vital skill to avoid becoming a road block. Delegate a responsibility, not a task, and try offering support with the delegation “What do you need to make this happen?”

If it is a customer or a contract, put your efforts into diversifying that business. It it’s a supplier, look for alternatives.

If you do have a single point of failure there is a law that says you will get caught out – eventually!


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