If you’re an entrepreneur, you know that starting a business is based on risk-taking. In most cases, you invest at least some of your own money, follow a dream or fill a need in the marketplace, give up your regular salary and hire people who are willing to accept your vision and work hard to make it happen.
However, if you’ve been in business for a while and have had some success, you’ve probably established some policies and practices to reduce your overall risk – and that’s good. Not all risks are good ones and choosing a risky path doesn’t always pay off.
But to really take your business from ‘good’ to ‘great’ you have to continue to take some risks, accepting that sometimes you’ll fail . . . and learn valuable lessons in the process.
Here are 5 business risks that are often worth taking:
The idea of outsourcing some of your needs to another firm can be scary – but it can also provide great benefits. For instance, if you outsource some or all of your production or accounting, you’ll be able to take advantage of knowledge, skills and resources your team doesn’t have. You may save money by delegating some tasks to another firm or individual who can accomplish them more cost-effectively. Above all, outsourcing to the right firm can free up your time (or your employees’ time) for other, more important tasks, letting you focus your energies on bigger goals. And on that note . . .
- Delegate tasks to a key employee
If you’re just starting your business, you probably have a small team of employees and everyone works very hard – including you. If it’s your business, it can be really hard to hand critical tasks to someone else, but if you’re overloaded, you won’t be able to do your job well. At some point, you have to let go and delegate some to a trusted employee. Find the right person, set clear expectations and you’ll stay healthier and get better results for your company.
- Take a chance on someone
Most successful business owners will tell you that at some point, they followed their instincts and hired someone who didn’t have the ‘right’ qualifications or the ‘proper’ degree. Maybe they were too young for the job or unfamiliar with the industry. But there was an intangible quality that the owner just felt was important. The candidate was hired – and turned out to be a fantastic employee. It won’t always happen, but sometimes it’s worth taking the chance. Remember, a bright person can learn skills in the workplace, but you can’t teach someone to be dedicated, hard-working or to have the right personality for your company culture.
- Spend money on marketing
If you’re running ‘lean and mean’ in the early days of your business – or if the market takes a downturn – it might seem unwise to spend money on marketing. After all, you can post on social networks, get referrals from clients and send emails for free, right? But cutting back on marketing dollars is rarely wise. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but you need to create brand awareness, build a reputation and establish a client base to create sales. Of course, you need to know your target market and use the right methods to attract them, but this is an area where you have to spend money to make money.
- Showing your softer side
Want to demonstrate to your team that you’re really a great leader? Don’t try to be strong all the time. As strange as it may sound, showing vulnerability can powerful – in the right situations. It’s OK to acknowledge if you make a mistake, if you face disappointment or if something doesn’t work out. Sharing your feelings can be a way to prove to your team just how much you care, and it will inspire them to care, too.
Remember, no matter what business you’re in, some risks – even carefully calculated ones – will not always work out. Accept it, embrace the opportunity to learn from the experience and move on.
Looking to take a business risk and need some financial advice? Contact the experts at AHO today.