If you own a business, you know about taking risks. Chances are, deciding to become an entrepreneur was one of the biggest risks you’ve taken in your career. But once your business is running smoothly, it’s difficult to know when to play it safe and when to climb out on a limb. The fact is continued risk-taking is required for continued success. If your business doesn’t evolve, it will surely fail. But if your day-to-day operations are chugging along nicely, it may seem counterintuitive to change what seems to be working well. How do you instigate progress and simultaneously minimize negative impact? By taking calculated risks.
It’s tempting to shy away from change in your company. Often, small-business owners have a difficult time removing themselves from the daily management of their businesses long enough to devote time to planning for the future. The idea of implementing significant change brings anxiety and even fear. But it’s really a critical role as the leader of your company to move beyond your comfort zone and forge ahead with new ideas.
Here are some basic points to consider before taking a risk.
Always have a current plan.
You have a business plan. Have you updated it? It’s important to set aside time regularly to review your business plan and strategy with a fresh perspective. As your company grows, you can modify your plan to accommodate for unexpected challenges. And you will have more confidence and experience to know what is working and what isn’t. Take time to consider shifts in the economy, in your industry, and in the rise of your competition. All of these factors will affect your strategy and your rate of growth and development.
Consult with others.
The best ideas often come from employees and customers. After all, they are the two essential elements of a thriving business. Provide a way for your customers and employees to offer comments and suggestions, and give consideration to the feedback you receive. When you have some new ideas in mind, consult with other professionals or mentors who can provide useful guidance. Sometimes, an outsider’s point of view can offer a better angle or can help you see a new direction that you wouldn’t have considered yourself.
Don’t fall victim to analysis-paralysis.
Before taking any risk you should certainly weigh and consider all of the possible outcomes. It’s crucial to study and evaluate the market research and to examine the possible financial impact of a change you are considering. But be sure to give yourself a deadline for turning analysis into action. With all of the data and information available today, it’s easy to over-analyze and stall. Allow sufficient time to research and plan — and then decide whether or not to take the leap.
By carefully weighing and considering risks before you take them, you can minimize negative consequences. But even if you fail — and everyone does from time to time — you will still learn valuable lessons about yourself and your company that will ultimately lead to success.
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