Sometimes even big technology firms make dumb technology mistakes.
That was the case with a company called Marketo recently and it was almost disastrous. Marketo is marketing automation software used by tens of thousands of firms around the country. Marketo relies on its domain marketo.com not only to provide information to potential customers, but also to drive many of its automation services.
But I guess things have been really busy there of late. So busy that the company forgot to renew its domain address! As a result, the company’s entire website went down which affected most of its users. That’s a serious, serious issue for a firm the size of Marketo. Can you imagine the same happening to you?
There’s a happy ending though.
Apparently, a Marketo user (and self-professed geek) named Travis Prebble noticed the problem and, according to this report on Martech Today, took it upon himself to renew the domain himself using his personal credit card. I’m not sure of the cost, but believe me when I say that it was negligible. The site (and Marketo’s business) was back up and running within a few hours.
Tragedy was averted by a good Samaritan who asked for nothing in return other than to add the event to his resume “in case I ever want to apply for a job at Marketo.” Ha ha.
Actually, this is not funny.
It’s not funny when a simple due date is overlooked, particularly when the consequences could be professionally catastrophic. Marketo is a great company that makes excellent software. According to Crunchbase, the company employs between 500 and 1,000 people and has raised more than $100 million since its inception. And yet, a silly oversight almost brought its operations to a standstill.
The same could happen to your business. You’ve got plenty of things to remember, not the least of which is to renew your domain name, right? You need to remember to not only file your income and corporate taxes but forms for payroll and sales tax too. You need to remember to pay your estimated taxes. You need to remember to complete employee evaluations on time and schedule bonuses. You should be remembering customer anniversary dates and birthdays. Your bank will want you to send them financials and covenant reports by certain dates. The list goes on and on.
You say you’re very busy but you can’t be too busy. If any of these dates lapse, then you’re going to be the one held accountable. So before that happens, take action. Assign one person in your company – a trusted administrator, your bookkeeper, your controller – who will be responsible for any due date that affects your organization. Make sure they’re using a simple reminder too – it can be a free reminder app, the company calendar, your customer relationship management system.
These tools all come with alerts and reminders so nothing falls through the cracks. Entrust them with the ownership. Chances are that Travis Prebble may not be available to save you.
Don’t make mistakes that are easily avoidable. If you’re like me then you’ll have plenty of other chances to show the world just how fallible you really are.
Join writer and small business owner Gene Marks each Wednesday for the Small Biz Ahead podcast. You can submit a question for Gene to answer on the podcast.