We see them every so often in business (and perhaps in personal life): disasters which we could have avoided had we made a decision to spend 1% of the time or money sooner.
I had one such 100X disaster in the company in my early years as an entrepreneur when one of our persons in the billing team took suddenly ill. She used to single-handedly manage the billing for our mailing renewals. And as it happens, there was no backup or written process — there were just so many things in her head! She was amazingly efficient at things, so until she had to take leave for an extended period, we didn’t wake up to the extent of the flaw in the internal system. It would have taken little for us to have an understudy associated with her, but we had not even thought about it — one of these things that slipped through the cracks.
It boils down to “no backup” — either of a person, or of a process. The question to really ask every so often is: which one thing are we doing (or not doing) which could cause a blow-up that can hurt? Of course, one cannot take it to an extreme, and duplicate every person or process. But there will be a few such things that we can do (insurance, Plan B – call it whatever) which can save embarrassment at a future point of time.
For example, a data leak can be a 100X disaster. Many times, businesses optimise on security checks. All it takes is a single error to create irreparable damage. A small investment in cybersecurity systems can go a long way to alleviating such disasters. Some other examples are: underinvestment in IT infrastructure (having a single point of failure), overdependence on a single large customer, lack of adequate backups of key software or systems.
For a growing business, it can be very difficult to recover from 100X disasters. So, entrepreneurs should make sure they are avoided at all costs. Looking ahead, planning and thinking of worst case scenarios can help ensure that such disasters never happen.