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Saturday, January 31, 2009

The right kind of risk-taking

I won and lost about $250 -- in funny money -- as a high roller at the DC Metro Subcontractors Association Casino Night on January 29. This is the only type of gambling I'll do.

I've never been much into gambling, lotteries and casinos (except to write stories about their building projects or play with funny money at charity and association events.) Why would anyone choose to play a game where the odds are stacked against you -- and you know it in advance! Insurance, I realize, works on some of the same principals of gambling, here you are betting with the hope that you will never have to file a claim, though.

Business risk, done right, of course, is an entirely different kind of challenge. You can go through ups and downs (and many businesses these days are going through downs), but if you own the enterprise, and maintain proper controls, you can control the process with creativity, resourcefulness, marketing, and your own knowledge. You may have to jettison employees and close divisions -- your business might even fail and you may need to file for bankruptcy, but if you handle things properly you can rise again, and succeed.

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