As business owners, we know that every professional endeavour we undertake comes with some sort of risk. Even the act of starting and opening our doors is a major move that throws caution to the wind, as despite our best plans and preparations the first few months are always a little shaky and uncertain.
But risk is a relative term, and many business owners tend to fall into the trap of playing it too safe once they get things off the ground. While this seems like a sensible approach for those who prefer to avoid playing with fire, it’s definitely not the most profitable method, and sticking with it for too long can lead to a lot less growth than we had hoped for from the start.
Whether we’re the daring kind or not, we need to accept that risk will always be a factor in running a business, and refusing to face that fact or take chances will likely do more harm than good in the long run.
This is the subject of an interview conducted by the Intuit Small Business Blog with Tom Panaggio, author of The Risk Advantage: Embracing the Entrepreneur’s Unexpected Edge. Entitled Excuses, Excuses: Is Risk Aversion Ruining Your Business?, the interview consists largely of Mr. Panaggio listing the excuses that business owners often make for avoiding risks and why this is a problem for any business.
Here’s a snippet:
Conventional Wisdom Rules
“I tried that once, and it didn’t work” is another excuse that can stymie business owners. Whatever happened to following the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”? Small-business owners can be too quick to throw in the towel on marketing. “Maybe you had the wrong message or the wrong audience,” Panaggio points out. “How much time did you give it, a week? It can take a long time to get the results you want.”
Marketing is not an exact science. It’s also not cheap, but it is a necessary expense. Not investing in marketing or cutting back on it because one campaign didn’t produce the desired results is a risk you can’t afford to take. “Without proactive, long-term, and consistent marketing, businesses die,” he notes.
I imagine if every business that tried something new gave up after the first go, we’d be a lot further behind in terms of technologically advanced products and services. As Mr. Panaggio points out, marketing – and by extension business as a whole – “is not an exact science”. It takes a lot of experimentation before you strike gold, whether you’re in your first year as a company or your fiftieth, and there’s no easy, risk-free way to do it. If you want to see major growth, you’re going to need to take some pretty major chances – but the payoff that comes from proper planning and execution will be well worth it in the long run.
The interview also covers the issue of blaming timing for everything, why business owners should stop procrastinating and the topic of waiting to take action. We’d strongly recommend giving it a read if you’d like to learn a little more about taking risks and why they’re necessary in order for your business to grow.
What do you think? Did you take substantial risks before starting your business? Did you find this article insightful? Your thoughts are always welcome, so let us know!