While action flicks may destroy businesses using in-depth heists and powerful explosions, ending a company proves much easier in real life. From bad service to impulsive tweeting, there are numerous ways to ruin a business, and below we’ve listed a step-by-step guide on how you can destroy your own.

Hire people you wouldn’t want to work for

Mark Zuckerberg is famous for a couple things; he built a social media empire in his twenties, and he sports the same shirt virtually everywhere he goes. Perhaps less known, however, are the Facebook founder’s insights on hiring employees. Zuckerberg only hires someone to work for him if he would would work for that person, too.

Not only is this an interesting concept, but it makes sense. You probably want to hire a competent individual, but you probably need to hire a critical thinker, a troubleshooter, and someone who will challenge you professionally. A yes-man (or woman) may seem great in the moment, but it could disarm you later. Teamwork is crucial, and you want team members to help you, not hurt you.

Post your thoughts and grievances on social media often

We’ve all heard about companies’ accidental tweets and PR nightmares, but the truth is, everyone’s public words are just that—public.

And therein lies the dilemma with the viral age; things can go viral instantly, but often for the wrong reasons. While people love cute animals and funny memes, people also love outrage. So, if you’re trying to be clever or funny on social media, keep in mind, virtually everyone can see what you’re saying. This means your job or business could be on the line if your joke is negatively perceived. That’s a lot of weight resting on a punchline.

Make choices without assessing all possible outcomes

When a company fails, it’s easy to brainstorm the reasons for failure. Perhaps the company appealed to the wrong demographic. Perhaps the company implemented outdated practices. Numerous articles tell us brand evolution is the only way to stay ahead.

However, companies frequently do evolve. Being “stuck in the past” doesn’t necessarily destroy a company. Instead, changing a brand rather than a company’s mission—making decisions without thoughtful consideration—these can be the downfall of an otherwise good business. Simply put, your company can be affected by anything, and if you’re basing a decision on past successes, you may need to assess your current business and your current world. This kind of consideration could save your company.

Accept that SEO is dead

Some companies feel SEO is unnecessary, or more commonly, that SEO is dead. This is an interesting theory, especially since most of us still rely on Google for a myriad of things, like, “How do I jumpstart my car,” or “Can I eat cheese with this antibiotic?”

And as Moz points out, Googlebots can’t describe your dog the way you can—or anything else, for that matter—making SEO pretty handy. SEO helps Google understand what you want, as well as the information you’re inputting. This means we should not only employee SEO, but we should invest in it. SEO offers a “fairly good ROI,” sure, but it also works. What’s more, there’s no likelihood SEO will stop working any time soon, so until it’s really dead, better safe than sorry.

Don’t worry about encouraging employees

Complimenting an employee on a task may seem unnecessary, but failing to encourage your team may be the perfect way to land disengaged workers.

Like all relationships, employees and managers should communicate, because employee engagement can be measured by how challenged and valued someone feels. This means employees want to know how they’re doing. With this in mind, regularly consider how you and your employees can grow and advance.

Assume you’re already the best manager you can be

If you’re already encouraging your employees, you may think you have nothing to to worry about. However, as you can probably guess, employee engagement is only half the battle.

This rings especially true, since problems may begin early in the hiring process. That is to say, if you hire someone—even if it’s a great someone—for the wrong position, you’re going to experience problems. (And that goes for promotions, too.) Remember, hiring a good fit now can prevent a difficult situation later.

Put everything above customer service

Chances are you’re not going to please 100% of customers 100% of the time, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. In fact, more than half of Americans are willing to spend more and/or try a new company simply based on good customer service.

But forget the numbers. Think about a time when you had really bad service vs. a time when someone took care of you. Chances are, both situations stuck with you in a big way. Customer service is important, and even if providing good support requires more energy, your reputation and paycheck may be better for it.

Make poor financial decisions

There are plenty of horror stories about CEOs who have ruined companies, but white collar crime and bad investments are not the only examples of poor financial decisions.

For companies big and small, there are a few simple things to keep in mind. For instance, keep an eye on how much money is coming in and going out each month. This advice may seem obvious, but disciplined organization and analysis will maintain financial responsibility. In addition to cash flow, ask yourself this; am I spending more than I should each month? With a proper set of goals and a financially responsible team, you will have a better chance at fiscal success.


You never know if a startup will be successful. What may have worked two years ago may be old hat now. Even still, some of the greatest businesses have destroyed themselves by following a point or two from the above list. Want your business to be a success? Be smart, be thoughtful, and be encouraging. Oh, and a good product doesn’t hurt.