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If your mother had not taken the risk of carrying you to term, you would not be reading this. Likewise, if you had not taken the risk of failing, you would not be in business.
Life is full of risks. A tree limb can fall on you, but you walk under trees. An oncoming vehicle can swerve in front of you, but you still drive.
In business you are continually taking risks. You bring in new additions to your product lines. You make adjustments to your customer service. You change the way you manage.
You always face the danger of failing. The small risks you take will help to inch you toward that overall goal. The small risks prepare you to take the big risk.
I have seen this in many small businesses. The massage therapist who could expand into a wellness center, but doesn't. The landscaper who could expand into a garden center, but doesn't. The tax specialist who could expand into a full accounting operation, but doesn't.
To grow a small business into a larger operation takes a dream, a plan, and a follow-up. Taking the risks along the way is part of the game. Of course, if you've built your small business to the size that you're comfortable with and you don't want to grow bigger, that's one thing. But, if your dream is still not realized, then taking risks can get you there. Do the planning, step lively and look back only to learn from it.
Example: Mary tried baking all sorts of goodies in her bakery until she settled on the mix of products that brought in retail customers and wholesale clients. She let the business "settle in" for a few years. Then, Mary decided that the time was right for taking the big risk. She took a big loan, expanded her facilities, hired additional people, and purchased a delivery van. When this new operation "settled in" Mary headed toward offering her first franchise. By taking the small risks over time, she was following her long term plan--and the biggest risk of her business life.
A funny thing happens to many business owners. They get into business and it works. Years of struggle establishing the operation finally are in the rear view mirror. So, they become fearful that any changes will destroy what they have built. They avoid even the little risks, much more so the big risk. They continue to nibble around the edges making little changes. They become complacent, and they never become all they can be.
The key is this--never take unnecessary risks. And before taking that giant leap, think through what you're about to do. That fear of failure can serve you well. Just don't let it keep you from taking the big risks. Your mother didn't hesitate carrying you.
Business teaches the owner many things. One valuable lesson is learned when you realize that everything you do carries a risk. And not all risks turn out well. Consider the risk, and try to minimize it. But don't let it stop you from taking the next step.