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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Big dreams and great achievements

A few postings ago, I observed that you must not fall into the trap of "wishful thinking" about your business and construction marketing. This should not however be interpreted as suggesting you should not take business and marketing risks by turning big dreams and thoughts into real ventures.

The most important element of risk and reward is that there are times when you must, indeed, dive into the unknown. For example, if you've always relied on repeat and referral business, and now are contemplating paying for advertising to attract new business, you will find the expense scary and most likely, the immediate results to be disappointing. (In earlier blog postings I suggest the least risky ways to develop your advertising campaigns, and these approaches allow you to systematically tap into your repeat and referral business, rather than to passively rely on this support, in starting and planning your first advertising campaigns.)

On a larger scale, decisions to expand your business scope or, conversely, deliberately jettison sideline enterprises and focus on core markets/businesses may appear risky as well. If you've worked as a lone wolf, hiring your first employee will be a challenge; even worse is when you discover you have to fire the employee, either for poor performance or because your business is tanking!

We all have different risk tolerances and entrepreneurs, by our nature, have a greater willingness to push ourselves to limits than others seeking superficial security. The paradox is that despite our apparent risk-taking nature, we have much more control of our lives and destiny with the entrepreneurial route. (This statement, I admit, applies more to Canadians who are less known than Americans for entrepreneurial leadership, but the fact remains the state-supported universal health care system removes a significant barrier to entrepreneurship in the North. In the U.S. if you are working for a company with a great health plan and have a dependent who is ill, is the risk really worth taking to leave and start on your dreams? The safety net for many in the U.S. is your spouse's health plan.)

You know you are on the right track when others around you perceive you are taking a major risk, while you know the dangers are manageable and reasonable. I'm thankful that in my youth I headed off to Africa to experience first-hand the end of the Rhodesia/Zimbabwe civil war, but am equally thankful that I had the common sense to (mostly) stay out of danger zones.

Later on, in my own business, I've stretched its expansion beyond my comfort zone and (worse) my knowledge of how to operate the business effectively on a larger scale. A couple of near-death (business) experiences because of ill-fated decisions certainly helps me understand that you need to be really thoughtful about the risks you take.

Some risks, of course, can be mitigated with insurance, but others are part of business life. For almost any achievement, at some point you will need to move beyond your comfort zone, defy your fears and go for your dreams. You can do it -- just remember that in taking the risk you are likely to fall flat and have setbacks as you move towards your dream.

2 comments:

skid steer tires said...

Great article. As marketers, when we find something that works, we need to do what we can to scale up that effort.

I recently launched a web site for this skid steer tires company, solidboss.com. They are getting a great response via online quote request forms. They are converting 10% of those to sales. Our next step is to aggressively increase qualified traffic through intensified SEM and SEO and email campaigns.

Mark Buckshon said...

I thought quite a bit before deciding to publish this comment. As a rule, I remove comments where the obvious purpose is purely SEO, with embedded links and the like.
This one passes the 'smell test' because (1) it the commenter is straightforwardly honest about intent, and (2) the link is not formally embedded.
Blogger unfortunately does not have a tool allowing for the simple editing of comments. We either need to publish them as submitted, or reject them outright.