Jeremy Tuber

For small business owners—the biggest risk is not taking one

Do I invest or not? Small businesses managing risk 

Turtles only move forward when they stick their neck out. I am not sure if that’s true with turtles, but I know it is with another of nature’s most fascinating creatures: the small business owner.

Whether it’s getting good business coaching, training to be a better salesperson, or improving your marketing strategy—intelligent risking, investing time and money into your company’s growth is the best way to achieve success.

Managing intelligent risk and investing money into their companies is essential for the small business owner (SBO), but what I’ve found is that they often choose to manage it by avoiding it all together. This is by far the riskiest strategy at all.

I frequently come across SBOs, who can’t understand why their business isn’t going anywhere. They desperately want help, but they just won’t invest any time, money or resources to get it. In their minds, the risk is too high, or “they can’t afford it”. Instead of taking a calculated intelligent risk in improving their business, they go on hoping that the one big deal will come through, or something will change. Sometimes a stroke of luck may happen, but most of the times it doesn’t. This is why it’s proven that you have better odds playing in Vegas than running a successful small business past five years.

In business, some people succeed and some don’t succeed – the ones that do succeed are often the ones that can manage and take intelligent investment risks.

In the end, guess what happens to these people that don’t invest in their company and don’t risk or spend anything – usually nothing. The business plods along and they hope that something will change their fortunes and help their business skyrocket to the top. If they’re lucky, their competition doesn’t move ahead and get stronger, more entrants don’t move into their industry and they don’t get swallowed up; that’s if they are lucky.

Relying merely on luck is a scary place to be for any SBO.

Granted, there’s a fine line between taking a calculated intelligent risk and investment in your business and idiocy, but avoiding risk and not spending any money on your business isn’t a good strategy.

My Personal Story of Risk

In the early 2000s I was in the same situation as most small business owners: I was putting in a lot of hours and doing “okay” but I just wasn’t close to achieving the level of success and growth I wanted.

I needed a change, and I needed to take an intelligent risk.

I met a business coach through a mutual friend. He’s a business strategist, and a damn good one, but at the time I didn’t have a lot of money and I sure felt like saying, “Well that’s too much,” or, “I can’t afford it,” or even, “Check back with me later, I am going to shop around.” I didn’t have a lot of money and the coach certainly wasn’t cheap. However, good help is never cheap. It’s true that you get what you pay for, and I knew it.

Spending, or as I like to call it, “investing” that money in the business coach was the wisest business decision I’ve ever made. I took an intelligent risk and it paid off.

I knew what was at stake here: if I did nothing that would to put me right back in the position I was in – mediocre results and getting lost in the crowd of competitors. I wasn’t willing to risk that.

Less than two years later I tripled my revenue, doubled the amount of clients I work with on a monthly basis, went from one person operation to five, and finally got rid of my old Hyundai for a nicer new car. Pretty good risk, wasn’t it?

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