It was a scorcher in Shakawe, the Northern part of the Okavango-Delta in Botswana. This is an African safari adventure paradise for local and international tourists who flock to this delta wonderland near Maun.
Danelle Viljoen (38) was there with her daughter Ariel (11) fishing with a friend along the banks. All was a happy picture of a family enjoying themselves until Danelle decided to cool off in the shallows.
Unknown to her a deadly creature with a linage dating back to the dinosaurs lay waiting beneath the placid waters. Danelle slipped her body into the cool, soothing waters for only a few moments. In a split second the monster exploded on the surface and disappeared with her in its mighty jaws.
The five-metre crocodile with a back one metre broad shattered this idyllic scene and left Ariel an instant orphan.
Danielle had been warned not to go into the water but for whatever reason she had ignored the warning despite having lived in Botswana for some time.
When we ignore warnings in our business the consequences may not be deadly as it was for Danelle Viljoen but they could be fatal for our business and livelihood.
Yet warnings about increasing security measures can result in loss of life. In crime-infested cities and towns where killers take your life after holding you at gunpoint for a cellphone or small amount of cash, it pays to be highly vigilant. Do what you can to protect yourself and your employees. A butcher and his son were recently gunned down in cold blood for little more than R1,000 ($100).
Another potential crocodile lurking in your business unseen is cash flow. In this economy big customers are extending payments to the suppliers at shamefully lengthy periods. Customers are eager to use your balance sheet to finance their businesses through extended credit. Detect warning signs early that your custom is heading for bankruptcy. Don’t extend credit. Even shareholders of large media groups are using their company’s free cash flow to finance debt they own and leaving shareholders without dividends for years.
Beware customers from hell who won’t kill your business but they will lose money for you faster than playing roulette at your local casino. Carefully placed wording in your offer can turn away the chancers – the people will never be satisfied with your work or product and then refuse to pay. These predators finance their businesses by getting work from you for free. I’ve had to repel predators and take their abuse but fortunately have caught them out early in the game so they can give away their true rapacious intent.
A guilling crocodile for business people faced with hiring outside help of any sort – lawyers, marketing specialists, business consultants – is bad advice. Get more than one opinion before you act on business advice.
Do yourself a huge favour. Fill in your email address and I’ll keep you updated on other crocodiles that lurk beneath the currents in your business.