How to Fail in Business Without Really Trying


Business: A Loser’s Manual

In a tough economy, there are any number of ways that you can ruin your reputation and sink your company. But why settle for only one? If you’re ready to fast-track your path to obsolescence, here’s a step-by-step guide to ensuring that your business goes down in a truly spectacular blaze of glory.

1. Ignore your customers.

Customers? Who needs ‘em! They’re loud, they’re demanding and they’re constantly contradicting themselves.

Rather than molding your business and its offerings to suit them, charge forth with your plans and your strategies like a bull in a china shop. After all, it’s your company, and nobody knows better than you what your customers should want, need and be forced to accept.

Besides, customers are a dime a dozen. If the current crop doesn’t appreciate you like they should, just tell them to take a hike. Won’t they be sorry when they realize what they’re missing?

2. Resist change at all costs.

Let’s face it: change sucks.

It’s uncomfortable, difficult and just downright annoying. It’s like someone dragging you out of your favorite recliner and forcing you to go for a run. I mean, sure, running would improve your health, but why bother, when you were perfectly content to stay glued to your chair. Stagnation is bliss, right?

It’s the same in business. No one likes branching out from what has been proven to work to try new ideas. Innovation requires risk. There’s safety in the status quo.

What’s that famous line about “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance a lot less”? Bah. That guy was only Chief of Staff of the United States Army. What does he know about change or the risks that come with it?

3. Chase shiny objects.

Ooh ooh – have you heard? There’s a great new social media network that just launched that’s kinda like Facebook plus Pinterest with a little bit of MySpace thrown in the mix, but it’s only for people who are left-handed. You have to sign up RIGHT NOW! If you don’t everyone else will be there, and your competitors will steal all your customers.

And did you hear about that new app that will do that one specific thing that you never thought you needed until you found out about it? It’s like an answer to a question that doesn’t even need to be asked! It’s amazing!

No need to worry about running your company. It’s practically on auto-pilot. Playing with gadgets and dabbling in social media are way more fun!

4. Refuse to innovate.

You could pursue a new vision or chart a course to lead your company to something bigger and better, but why bother? Surely everything that’s always worked in the past will continue to work in the future. That’s why Circuit City is still going strong after all these years, right? Guys?

5. Don’t listen. To anyone. Ever.

The whole reason to start your own company is so that no one can tell you what to do.

Warning signs? Ignore them! Words of wisdom from more experienced colleagues and peers? They’re not the boss of you!

Just do your thing. Run your company however you want, and don’t pay attention to the handwriting on the wall or the advice of those who’ve been there before. They’re just trying to bum you out and bring you down with their “knowledge” and “insight.”

Back to reality.

On a more serious note, this is clearly a satirical look at why some companies go under while others sail through adversity relatively unscathed.

And while these scenarios are humorous when painted in such extremes, in reality, the underlying tendencies and traits they represent are all too human. At times, we can all be susceptible to such faulty ways of thinking. We all have our moments of arrogance or capriciousness or stubbornness or fear of change. They key is to recognize these dangerous impulses so we can actively combat them and maintain a steady course toward growth and greater success.

Remember: no one is immune, so be alert. Keep an close watch on your own thought processes and focus on creating a culture within your company that fosters self-analysis, creativity and courage.