Sure, you hope to avoid liability, investment, and market risks as you pursue your entrepreneurial dream, so you take steps to mitigate exposure. But a business owner must embrace and leverage these two essential risks to achieve ultimate success:
1. Decide: Choose a direction and jump.
2. Change: Make both internal adjustments and external innovations to keep going and growing.
With all the potential risks present in business, how could I narrow it down to two essential risks? In my thirty years of experience, I recognized that successful businesses were always moving forward. As the business environment changed, they adapted. As the competitive landscape became more intense, they decided to meet the challenges head-on rather than defer making a move until later.
Indecision is the mental paralysis in humans that prevents them from moving forward. Is there anything more frustrating than waiting for a dinner companion who just can’t decide what he wants even after reading the entire menu, polling everyone at the table, and getting a detailed description of each dish from a clearly frustrated waiter? This is not a life-or-death situation — it’s dinner!
Decision making is a key component of execution, and execution is what transforms a plan into reality. Execution makes a business happen. By deciding to take the leap of faith, you initially embrace this essential risk and your dream becomes reality.
The rule is simple: Businesses must progress, and progress requires change. Change, the other essential risk, holds the risk of failure. It is a difficult concept for most people to accept. In the business world, fear of change probably is the single biggest obstacle companies need to overcome to meet the evolving marketplace challenges. What makes embracing change even more difficult is that a business must be willing to simultaneously change internally and externally, to keep progressing and remain competitive. How a business deals with change is reflective of organizational leadership and its ability to minimize the level of fear.
External change is always customer facing; it’s most noticeable to your customers and competition. Innovation, an external change, brings a new competitive edge to your business by introducing products or services that increase the value of a customer’s experience with your organization. Innovation is announced in the marketplace through branding and marketing.
Tom Panaggio, author of The Risk Advantage: Embracing the Entrepreneur’s Unexpected Edge, has enjoyed a thirty-year entrepreneurial career as co-founder of two successful direct marketing companies: Direct Mail Express (which now employs over 400 people and is a leading direct marketing company) and Response Mail Express (which was eventually sold to an equity fund, Huron Capital Partners). For more information please visit http://theriskadvantage.com