Beating Murphy’s Law – prevent disaster by preparing for common business problems

Don’t just wait for problems to arise – put measures in place to minimise damage in the event of a security breach or website crash

Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it will go wrong. That’s true for most start-ups, but you just have to keep rolling; find solutions to problems and move on to the next one.

There are four common disasters that every start-up is likely to face:

  1. Security breaches
  2. Website crashes
  3. Social media complaints
  4. A lack of time

And there are two ways to beat Murphy’s Law:

  • Desperately running from problem to problem, prioritising the most urgent
  • Anticipate problems before they arise

Problem fixing is sometimes necessary, but that means minimising damage and recovering from potential disasters seven days a week.

Anticipating problems is much better for your health and that of your business.

You can prevent an issue becoming a disaster if you act soon enough. Prevention eases your blood pressure and means your bank statements aren’t printed in red.

1. Business security

An alarm system, even a monitored one that costs £250 a month cannot prevent all security breaches – though it’s certainly a start. Startups has a guide to choosing a CCTV system to help you out in this respect.

In addition, training and monitoring staff helps, as does a strict password regime where employees passwords are changed regularly.

However, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the €20,000,000 elephant coming in the door. With fines that are designed to bite, and bite hard, your start-up must be in compliance by 25th May, or face the possibility of penalties that will break your bank account.

GDPR is something you can’t afford to get wrong, and it’s coming regardless of Brexit. Security companies such as Bulletproof can provide independent assessment of your GDPR compliance and help determine how easy it would be for a hacker to destroy your company.

Hacking is another aspect of your start-up’s security. Remember Murphy’s Law; if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. In 2015, 74% of small and medium-sized UK businesses were the victims of hacking: Your turn is coming. Preventing hackers costs money, but being hacked could mean the end of your company, which will make you look at the costs of protection against hackers in a different light.

2. Website crashes

Websites crash when the server is under too heavy a load. If you attract too many visitors to your web pages, your server will lock you and them out.

Some hosts, even the ones that advertise everywhere online, have a policy of slowing down your website long before it reaches the point where it could affect other sites on the same server.

A shared hosting service has grave limitations on the number of processes your site can run at any time. Hosting companies never mention this limit on your server demand in their marketing, but every company limits you.

There are two ways of beating Murphy’s Law here; choose a good host, and upgrade your hosting to a VPS, WordPress or Cloud hosting. All options will cost more, but your users won’t face server error messages.

3. Social media complaints

You can’t please all your clients all of the time. Fact.

Some unhappy customers will take to social media to air their grievances. Their unhappiness might be based on a misunderstanding or something you have done wrong: It doesn’t matter whether they are justified in complaining about you, they can severely damage your start-up’s reputation.

You must monitor what is being said about you, and HootSuite is one low-cost tool you can use to find out when someone is talking about you. As a bonus, Hootsuite also lets you schedule your social media posts for the week ahead.

4. A lack of time

Not having enough time might not appear to be a disaster in the same way as precious problems, but if you don’t have the time to work on your business, it will slowly wither away, like a worm exposed to the Sun’s rays.

You have two hours of ultra-productive time, and about five hours that is somewhat productive each day. And that’s it. If you can’t get everything done, you need to hire someone else to do it.

Insufficient time becomes a disaster if you are typing blog posts rather than networking with potential clients. Hire people to take the mundane tasks off your hands and leave your mind free to create and build.

Take preventative measures to protect your business

Beating Murphy’s Law comes down to expecting things to go wrong and doing everything possible to keep your start-up moving along the right track.

Logically, these negative situations will affect your business at some point, so prevent yourself having a heart attack and deal with unpleasantness before it happens.