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Business Lessons from The Walking Dead

Hello and welcome to my first blog on Business Lessons from The Walking Dead. If it's not something you've watched before, The Walking Dead is a horror drama TV series, based on comics by Robert Kirkman, and is well worth your time watching, especially now Breaking Bad is finished. This blog is my follow-up series to my previous blogs on Business Lessons from Game of Thrones.

The Walking Dead is set in a world where an unknown plague has gripped the planet, turning most people into zombies, with only a few people left alive. Surviving is a constant threat for those left alive in an ever changing environment.

In many ways the similarity to running a business is uncanny at the moment, many are fighting and scrapping to survive in a business environment that is changing fast and faster, while actually enjoying the ride may sometime seem like a pipe dream. This is a series of blogs to guide you through the trials and tribulations of running a business, and avoid becoming what Vince Cable has dubbed zombie companies

 It is almost inevitable that things won't go exactly as you forsee, and that is why you must have contingency plans in place.

Be prepared for the proverbial roof caving in

Season 4 started off with a treat of a mini-raid on an out of town store, with an apparently un-sighted horde of zombies (or walkers as they are known on The Walking Dead) on the roof.  Now it seems fairly unlucky that the roof caved in while they were in the store, but after all this time since the plague began, it's not unreasonable to expect a roof to be struggling after a helicopter had already crashed into.

So what, why would this apply to your business? Well, the team in the programme still only had themselves to blame, they should never have let themselves be put in that kind of position. As a business, when you are looking into selling a new service, or selling to a different market, it is vital you do your market research, for example:

  • Do a full analysis of the market environment, using a tool such as a PEST analysis and Porter's five forces

  • Have you done an honest forecast on the costs and income from your project?

  • Can you easily adapt your strategy if things start differently to how you expect?

You need to be prepared and consider all the possible outcomes, and make sure you are comfortable with dealing with any situation which may emerge. It is almost inevitable that things won't go exactly as you forsee, and that is why you must have contingency plans in place.

Sadly, you can't possibly consider every eventuality, all you can do is make sure you have covered all the critical components. The market is constantly changing, and sometimes a roof will cave in without any prior warning. All you can do is learn from the experience, identify why it happened and what you can put in place to stop it happening in the future.

Thanks for reading, I'm Thomas Szczepanski, Master Accountant

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