There has been a lot of news coverage on invasive species over the last few years in an effort to make the public aware of their detrimental effects. While in some cases there may be some positive benefits to the introduction of a species into an
area, there is usually also some adverse impact. An example is the inadvertent introduction of the Zebra Mussel into the Great Lakes. The Zebra Mussel is a small fresh water mussel native to lakes in southeast Russia. It is thought that the
mussel was introduced into the Great Lakes when ocean-going ships traversing the St Lawrence Seaway discharged their ballast water. The Great Lakes have become much cleaner as the mussels filter the water but because there are no predators to control the Zebra Mussel population they are multiplying at an alarming rate and upsetting the natural balance of the lakes and causing an estimated 5 billion dollars in property damage.
Closer to home is the introduction of the Canadian goose into north central Colorado. Some 60-years ago a biologist working with the Colorado Division of Wildlife introduced one mating pair of Canadian geese. The idea was to establish a flock of geese that would remain in the area year-around. The program has been very successful and over 10,000 geese now calling Colorado their home. Hunters have benefitted from the introduction but recreational, commercial and residential properties have suffered as geese strip lawns clear of grass and leave copious amounts of goose poop behind. At one shopping center my firm manages, I estimate it costs roughly $10,000 per year just to clean up goose poop.
You’re probably wondering why a writer of a business related blog is writing about invasive species. I felt that the two examples above illustrate very well how both small unintentional and intentional actions can create expediential costs. As any business owner knows, controlling costs is essential for the financial success of their organization. A small decisions carelessly made today can explode into a financial nightmare over time. While it sometimes frustrates my employees when I delay or don’t make a decision on something seemingly simple, I would prefer that small inconvenience over making a quick decision that will become costly in the future. If I don’t have the expertise necessary to make an educated decision I hire the resources necessary to help me with obtaining the background necessary to make the proper choice. Consultants have their place in every businesses tool box.
I encourage you to educate yourself on invasive species; you will be surprised at the number of them that exist in the United States and the economic price we pay because of them. Closer to home, look at some of the decisions you’ve made on behalf of your business and determine the economic cost of those decisions. Perhaps, unlike invasive species, a poor decision can be reversed and a cost saving realized.