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Dealing with problems as they arise

Get that boiler serviced….

We all know the old saying ‘a stitch in time saves nine’, meaning that if you deal with problems as they arise it saves you a whole load of hassle further down the line.

A friend of mine was bluntly reminded of this the other weekend. She decided she wanted to get more insight into her energy costs, so asked her utility supplier to fit a smart meter.

All was going to plan. The man sent to fit the smart meter arrived on time and with all the equipment he needed.

The only problem was that he discovered the gas meter was leaking.

So my friend called in a gas engineer who mended the leak. After he had finished, my friend asked him to look at her ancient warhorse of a boiler. She’d been meaning to get that looked at for years.

It turned out it was leaking too. He fixed the leak. He also discovered that the thermostat wasn’t operating. So he got that working as well.

That was a bonus. My friend discovered to her delight that the boiler had never been so effective. That night she went to sleep in a house that was as warm of toast.

The next morning she woke up, only to discover that water was dripping on the upstairs ceiling. She called out the engineer again.

After ruling out a hole in the roof, the engineer discovered that if the boiler (with the thermostat working) operated for more than two hours, it would cause a water leak. Don’t ask me how or why this should happen, I just know that it did.

The point is that, by taking the decision to fit a smart meter, my friend uncovered a whole load of problems that really should have been addressed long before.

It’s happened to all of us. You put off the service on your car, only to be hit by a large bill for repairs because you’ve not kept on top of maintenance. You’ve failed to get around to repairing those loose fence panels, only to find them in pieces on your lawn after a storm. You spend the weekend doing the laundry because you forgot to put your clothes in the washing machine while they accumulated.

The same thing can easily happen in business. It’s so easy to get absorbed in your day-to-day work that you drop stitches when it comes to other business matters.

These are some common examples:

  • Not updating your website, so potential clients or customers see it hasn’t been touched for months or years – making them lose confidence in your efficiency
  • Not keeping tabs on product demand, so your marketing and sales strategy aren’t promoting the right items
  • Not keeping track of your software licences, so you end up paying regular fees for software you no longer use
  • Not having regular reviews of your health and safety obligations, meaning you end up being fined or – worse – an accident happens


Of course, all of these things are avoidable – as long as you plan properly and don’t put them off.

It’s the same for my friend. She’s known for years her boiler needed looking at. If she’d done it earlier, she wouldn’t have been hit by a raft of problems now.

Likewise in your business, if you have schedules to update your website, analyse product demand, review your software licences and check on your health and safety obligations, you can deal with issues as they arise – and avoid being hit by much bigger issues.

Often the key to getting these schedules in place is to make sure specific employees have responsibility for them. That way you can concentrate on what you do best, they can concentrate on what they do best and together you can avoid those ‘stitches in time’ piling up to make much worse problems.

That said, looking after your boiler is down to you.

I know from bitter experience they have a habit of packing up over Christmas when it costs an arm and a leg to get an engineer out to fix them. Perhaps it’s time you got yours serviced?!

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About Ben Locker

Ben Locker is a copywriter who specialises in business-to-business marketing, writing about everything from software and accountancy to construction and power tools. He co-founded the Professional Copywriters’ Network, the UK’s association for commercial writers, and is named in Direct Marketing Association research as ‘one of the copywriters who copywriters rate’.

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