Every Small Business Owner Fails… but Your Data Shouldn’t Be Where Things Fall Apart


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carbonite for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Owning a small business is a gamble. There’s no getting around that fact. All of the preparation, experience, skills, and great intentions in the world can’t protect a business owner from the occasional misstep, miscalculation, or flatout screw-up.

And, when a small business owner screws up, there’s usually a very real cost involved.

For an unfortunate number of business owners every year, the combination of their own mistakes and external circumstances end up putting them out of business. For a larger and hardier bunch, however, the inevitable rough patches and downright failures that pop up along their business journey end up becoming valuable lessons that make the business stronger going forward.

That’s the group I’m talking to today.

The Biz Warriors story

My brother, Adam, and I have been creating, buying, optimizing, growing, and selling businesses since we were little kids. In fact, our first venture – bankrolled by my grandfather – opened for business when we were just 8 years old. We made and sold Dipper Do Stunt Airplanes at a local folk festival. As I recall it, that brief venture went pretty well and we had a lot of fun.

But, over the next 20+ years, we haven’t always enjoyed the Midas Touch. We’ve had our hands in literally dozens of different ventures either as founders, business buyers, investors, or advisors, and – like every small business owner we’ve ever talked to – we’ve had our share of mishaps occur along the way.

Data security keeps us up at night

For example, since a large part of our past and present business portfolio includes online properties like blogs, communities, forums, and social networks, we’ve learned some really tough lessons along the way when it comes to data protection,data backup, and data loss. In a very real sense, 98% or more of some highly profitable business ventures we’ve been involved with over the years would simply cease to exist if our data was lost, corrupted, or otherwise damaged.

And even our offline businesses rely to a large extent on data – from financials to inventory to customer and subscriber databases – that could create a huge problem if it all disappeared overnight.

Just thinking about that possibility keeps me up at night. It reminds me of Thomas Cucco, owner of Table 87 in New York. Check out one of these small business stories:

Fortunately, Adam and I have never hit quite that serious of an issue, but we’ve definitely had our scares here and there. Of course, a smart business owner shouldn’t have to learn the hard way that data security is important:

  • Firewalls and antivirus programs are essential, but even with the latest and greatest apps installed, no system is 100% safe and secure all the time.

  • Business insurance is a wise and necessary investment to replace vital equipment and supplies in case of a natural disaster or accident, but insurance can’t replace lost data.

  • Employee theft is always a sad possibility, and data itself as well as the equipment it’s stored in are prime targets for employees looking for a quick buck.

  • Disgruntled employees only need a few moments with the company’s network to do irreparable damage by deleting or corrupting valuable data before leaving for good.

For all these reasons and more, we decided that a fully guaranteed, secure and protected data backup and restore service was the smart way to protect the data that represents so much of our hard work and investment.

We ended up choosing Carbonite cloud solutions for data protection, backup and restore. Carbonite’s services have been built from the ground up to ensure our data is safe from any kind of threat, and to guarantee that – should the unexpected happen and we lose all of our vital data – we’ll be able to restore it in a matter of moments from clean and secure automated backups that Carbonite maintains.

And so, even though data remains absolutely essential to our ongoing and future business success, we sleep pretty well at night.

What’s the point?

The real bottom line is simple: every small business owner is going to fail at some point. We all make the occasional dumb decisions, oversight, or even catastrophic misjudgment.

But there are plenty of tools and skills we can use and develop to make sure our failures are both manageable and – in their own unique ways – beneficial to our businesses and our lives. Carbonite cloud solutions is a great example of a tool that eliminates the danger of a failure involving our data bringing down our entire business.

So, if you’re a small business owner, how are you preparing for and managing your inevitable failures along the way? How do you protect your dataThat’s a question we all need to ask ourselves routinely as we keep pursuing our entrepreneurial dreams.

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Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs.org, BizWarriors.com and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley).