Taking Risks in Small Business

TakingRisks inSmall business

Starting a business is a risk.

Yes, we can make it less of a risk by investing in market research and conducting surveys. That's sound business practice.

Sometimes even the greatest idea, however, falls flat - doesn't get the right traction - or stumbles into some bad PR.

Plus there are high volume seasons and quiet seasons. There's bad management or leadership. Lots of potential pitfalls and failures await.

Bottom line... being a business owner is risky.

After the 2008 recession, I came to the conclusion that working a corporate job is risky too. Between cross training and layoffs, it became clear that people were a commodity. It was all about getting the job done in the most affordable manner. Seniority? Out the window. Having the most education or experience? Overqualified. The workplace was littered with HR departments fighting over new college graduates - people they could pay entry-level salaries and still get the work done.

Suddenly, no one was safe. A pink slip, so to speak, could come at any time. 

It was a terrible time to be an employee. Even worse time to be someone looking to be an employee somewhere.

Not even landing a corporate job was safe. The idea of stability and predictability? Gone.

Now both owning a business AND working for one is a risk.

If that's the case, why not pursue what you love to do? Why not chase after the power of your own ideas?

The risk is the same.

There has definitely been an influx of folks starting their own businesses and taking the risk into their own hands. I applaud that. Knowing we aren't in control and giving up all of our power are two different things. This is when taking a massive risk is SO worth it.

"The safety zone has changed, but your comfort zone has not. Those places that felt safe - the corner office, the famous college, the secure job - aren't. You're holding back, betting on a return to normal, but in the new normal, your resistance to change is no longer helpful."
Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception

For those of you who already took the risk of starting your own business...

Ask yourself, did you start your business because you wanted to make money OR because you have something valuable to offer that people seem to want/need? There's no point in doing it if you can't make money but you'll NEVER stand out and achieve massive success by following someone else's footsteps. That's THEIR path to success, not yours.

There are too many small biz owners trying to 'copycat' another person's success. And it doesn't work. Why? Because a small business is about the founder. And we are different people. Each person must plow their own path to success based on what their passionate about, trial and error (discovering what does and doesn't work), and how they are building their own community (audience). This is never the popular answer since everyone just wants a worksheet that lays out the guaranteed path to success. Sadly, that's not how this works.

Name a massively successful person who got there by following the well-trod trail of someone else? I'll wait. 

Does that mean you must stumble around in the dark, making guesses and hoping you land on something that works? Of course not. Get ideas from others. Go to events and get inspired. Consume the content of people who know what they are talking about. Ask for feedback. Growth and expansion will open doors for your business.  

And then take all that input, make it uniquely yours and attract people who are fascinated by what YOU bring to the table.

Yes, it's risky being yourself and choosing your own path - but it's THE risk really worth taking.

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