Get moving or get out of the way. Business leadership is full of risks.
When I was in middle and high school, I remember a number of students who found ways to make money; such as selling candy and pencils in the hall, doing other people’s homework or giving people rides home in their cars. There was always a risk of getting caught, which wasn’t without consequences, but this didn’t stop the people who were really committed to having some money.
Risk is still a very real part of business ownership today, and the consequences could be more devastating, in some cases. Regardless. Business leaders, if you want to build a strong business, you have got to learn to eat risk for breakfast. When you started your company, you had only a 30% chance of being successful. Do what it takes. Be tough.
One of the challenges I have heard a number of times from would-be business owners is that they are afraid to make the investments that could make the difference between success and failure. The goal has always been to “boot strap” it. As a result, hundreds of other businesses, seminars and trainers have focused their energies on teaching people how to bootstrap their businesses.
On the other hand, the most-admired companies tend to be those that hire hundreds if not thousands of people and make millions or billions of dollars. Why is this? These are two completely opposite ways of thinking; you don’t build a billion-dollar company by bootstrapping. Bootstrapping gets you bootstrapping results. Doing what everyone else does, simply to make a presence, simply to because it worked for them won’t make you successful.
Think about it: how many multi-level-marketing millionaires do you know?
How many thin, fit people do you know that have followed the latest diet craze?
Certain things just simply can’t be bottled, boxed, shipped and sold. Your business is unique to your offering, your clients and your business model. Do you believe in it? Then invest in it. Whatever it takes. If you have customers, there is a good chance that there is some way to get the resources you need to get the business to the level it needs to be at.
Another challenge is fear of delegating. Seriously…if you are the only one who is producing, who is going to sell. And vice versa. In most cases, there are people who can assist you in getting more done. Note* while interns can be great and potentially inexpensive, their primary focus is on school. Take the time to consider, carefully, what you need done and who you need to do it.
Say no. You cannot be all things to all people. More than likely, if you focus the lion’s share of your energy on meeting the needs of your primary target market, you may attract a wider audience, which is great. What happens when companies try to be all things to all people is that they dilute their brand; no one knows who they serve and thus, the business misses out on opportunities.
Market. Advertise. Get the word out there, beyond the people who you can reach directly. Not every marketing tactic works for every business. Not to mention, people are bombarded with all kinds of advertising. Every time someone says, “hey…if you aren’t doing such and such…”everyone starts doing it. If everyone does it, it is no longer a differentiator. Especially if you are late! Invest the money. Will it pay off right away? Probably not…but people are watching. It is like planting seeds. When you plant a garden, if you come back in a week, you aren’t going to have vine ripened, juicy, delicious tomatoes!
What about risk? Certainly, it exists. You need to know what the risks are and how you will handle them. No one walks a tight rope without considering that they might die. But what does that really mean? More importantly, what happens afterwards?
How do you handle all of it? Sit down and figure it out. Talk it out. Ask your customers, your friends and your family. Take the time and determine where you are going to be and how you will get there. No. That doesn’t mean, “I’m gonna go out and get me some money, buy a tractor and…” It means that you find out the real, specific solutions to making things happen, for now and the foreseeable future, and how you will get there.
I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s quote in 1941 at the Harrow School:
“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
When you decide that you are afraid to go out and get your resources to get the job done, you are giving in to fear. You are saying that all of the blood, sweat and tears you have poured into your business isn’t worth it, and you don’t believe in what you have done.
Trust me when I say that most business owners have moments of doubt. But you cannot afford to let that doubt consume you. You can’t just keep going through the motions and hoping that one day, things will get better…things will change. You have got to take your success into your own hands.
You have got to plant your feet, set your face and commit to building an extraordinary business, or go get a job and get out of the way of the real entrepreneur. There is no room for the faint hearted.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Atlanta, Georgia based Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We help business leaders DESIGN| CREATE | BUILD extraordinary businesses. We support our clients with financial management, product and service production and delivery, outsourced services management, sales & marketing and business growth. We provide them with a number of flexible solutions to help them reach their goals.
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