Eve Of Destruction?

No sweat, right?

Well, sort of. Even if all your bases are covered, it may be the other guy you have to worry about. If your bank account disappears, your suppliers can't ship to you, and your customers can't pay, it won't matter if your computers are up and running.

First things first: Call your bank, and ask what kind of progress they're making to become Y2K-compliant. Most larger banks are on track for compliance, but for the sake of your business and your money, don't take chances. If you don't feel comfortable, now's the time to change banks.

What about suppliers? "Work with reputable vendors," says Bob Janacek, vice president of Safetynet Inc., a Springfield, New Jersey, software company that produces a Y2K "fix" for individual PCs. "Ask to see their Year 2000 compliance statement"--a written account of steps the company has taken to remediate software code, plus contingency plans for any problems that crop up after the millennium.

If your business depends on one or two key customers, beware. "If those customers are unable to pay or buy [because of Y2K problems], it could put a start-up out of business," says Rick Harris, a Hartford, Connecticut, attorney who consults with businesses about the risks of Y2K. To help your customers, point them to the Internet--the best place to get reports on compliance issues and forecasts on damage control, plus resources for dealing with Y2K (see "Cyber Solutions").

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This article was originally published in the February 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Eve Of Destruction?.

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