Every new venture or direction comes with an element of risk. And this can be scary as a business leader with a team that is relying on you for stability, income and reward. However, risk is a necessary element for growth. The secret is to recognize which risks are sound and likely to pay off, and which ones are fool’s errands. When you get this right, new opportunities that you can’t even imagine will open up for you and your team.
I know that risk is intimidating, so here are some things to keep in mind as you consider new directions and adventures for your company:
Put risk in perspective
It’s important to acknowledge that when you take a risk, not all of the results will be welcome or comfortable. You may have a rough time ahead of you as you adjust to your new normal—sometimes an extended one. However, preparation helps ease the pain and anxiety of these rough times. Save up funds and energy, as you’ll likely need both, and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You simply have to persevere to see it.
Money, money, money
Finances are crucial to the success or failure of your business, especially when you are thinking about entering new waters. However, simply looking at your gross revenue isn’t enough. Break down your income into quarters for the year and look for patterns that indicate when your bookings are slower and when they peak. You might be pleasantly surprised or discover areas of concern, but either way you will have a clearer picture and the data you need to set realistic goals. You’ll be ready to take the risks that are most likely to benefit your company.
Listen to your team members
Do not forget about your key players—in a real way, your risk is their risk. Make sure you are playing off their skills. For example, when I took a good hard look at my team, I realized that one of my team members was exceptional at social media, blogging, and search engine optimization. This was also where she wanted to focus her attention, so we made the switch and leveraged her talent to make decisions and push the business forward.
Team input about everything from daily processes to new ventures is important—seek it and make decisions with your staff in mind. Consider taking a retreat or at least a lunch together to talk things through. Some people think better outside of their typical work environment, and you might just hear some brilliant risk-taking ideas that will yield amazing results.
Be intentional about your timing
When things are rocky—your income isn’t quite sufficient, your staff isn’t at their best, or you have other pieces in your life falling apart—you don’t need to be dealing with risky business changes. Make sure you are in a good place before you take your next step, as risk will test you and you want to measure up to the challenge.
Set your own pace
People get excited about new ventures and new opportunities, but don’t move forward until you are ready. The time has to be right, or failure is almost certain. Think about the long-term impact of your change, not your dreams of overnight success.
Whatever risky moves you’re considering, take courage—you need to take risks to reap rewards. Simply set aside some time before you make your next move and make sure that your business is optimized for the coming excitement. Summon your courage and your good sense, and you’ll be on your way to success.