Nothing to Fear: 10 Questions to Mitigate Business Risk

The greatest business risk, what you need to fear the most, is nothing. I do not mean this in a Seinfeld-esque way—I’m talking about actually doing nothing. Doing nothing to grow your business, being content with the status quo, and expecting everything to remain the same are risks no business can afford.

For starters, consider that there is no such thing as the “status quo.” Philosophers at least as far back as Confuscious teach us that change is inevitable and we must prepare for and embrace it if we are to succeed. To paraphrase an old adage; those who don’t prepare for change surely will perish from it. But how can one prepare for something as unpredictable as change?

Life changes on a daily basis

Whether subtly, dramatically, or somewhere in between, each day is different from the last and will also differ from the one that follows. How you react to these subtle and not-so-subtle changes may spell the difference between business success and failure.

Look at your customer base: people move, they change jobs, and they leave the industry. Much in that same vein, companies come and go, technology marches forward, and emerging technologies present new opportunities. To grow you can’t remain behind the curve; you’ve got to learn how to read the curve, figure where it’s going, and then hit it out of the park.

The same is true for your business.

But what about the other business persona?

Here I’m talking about the person who’s constantly saying, to lean on James Bond: The world is not enough. The ones who want each day to be bigger, faster and more productive than its predecessors. There is a dose of unreality in this philosophy as well but if a sales manager had to choose one over the other, surely she’d select the hard-charging, high flyer rather than anyone content with keeping things the way they are.

Ten key questions

When trying to cultivate the champion within, spur yourself to action with these questions:

  1. Do you have nearly everything you want or are you harboring feelings of discontent or dissatisfaction?
  2. Do you embrace technology and/or other changes in your life or do you wish things were like they were during the “good old days?”
  3. Do you feel greater fulfillment can be found with a more productive business life?
  4. Are you trying to work smarter, harder, or both?
  5. Are you regularly trying to figure better ways to do/grow business?
  6. Do you consider partnerships/relationships that can enhance your business?
  7. Are you committed to providing your clients with the highest service level possible?
  8. Is your office organized to provide maximum efficiency?
  9. Are you satisfied with what you do and your performance/quality level?
  10. Do you have a life outside of business?

How you answer these questions may determine if you’re on the road to greater production or will remain mired in the status quo. A lot of it is focused on the intangibles inside the person rather than outside factors. The potential payoff is that determination to build a better business will help you grow while providing client confidence in the company behind you. In the long run, this should make all the difference by helping to strengthen relationships and business. Throughout it all, remember that change is inevitable, the status quo does not exist, and that doing nothing is the greatest risk of all.

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