Friday, April 12, 2013

3 Risks Worth Taking In Your Business


Yes, it may be a cliché, but I believe it really is true, change maybe scary at times but more often than not, it is totally worth it.  I was recently reminded of this just this week when I completely stepped out of my comfort zone, took a risk and made a change.

What did I do?  Well, I cut my hair.  Not just trimmed, not lightly shaped, but cut cut cut.  I had a good six inches cut off.  There I was, talking to my hair dresser, telling her I needed a change.  We agreed, a shorter style…not too short, but fun and easy.  And I will tell you, when she started snipping, I started to panic a little bit.  But I trusted her and I really did want something different.

So now instead of blonde, it’s dark brown.  Instead of long, it is now pretty darn short.  And you know what?  I love it.  Everyone that knows me loves it.  The change, and the risk, really was worth it.

So what did cutting my hair teach me? It taught me how to take a risk, push through the panic, and enjoy the rewards.  So here are my top three risks that I took and that I believe will change your business:

Risk #1. Jump into Social Media.  
If you’ve been hesitant to engage on social media, now is the time. Start slow, and if you want, pick just one to get started with. Get a Facebook business page, create a company profile on LinkedIn, update your website, get a twitter handle.  Just start.  I promise you will not regret it.

Social Media should be part of your overall strategic marketing plane for your business.  It may not replace all your marketing but it is a great wway to build and reinforce ongoing relationships with your clients and prospects.

Risk #2. Invest in yourself.
This does not necessarily mean spending money, but can if what you need to accomplish warrants it.  This means taking the time you need to and invest in your own growth.  Read books, blogs, newsletters, watch podcasts attend Webinars/teleseminars.  Mark time on your calendar specifically to invest in yourself and gain the knowledge you need to succeed and take your business to the next level.

One thing I really have found extremely helpful was to work with an executive coach.  Actually, I worked with two, and yes sometimes both at the same time, but on different things. It changed my mindset and my business.  So I highly recommend finding a Mentor or Coach.  Ask someone you admire for advice.  Work with them informally or formally.  It could be as simple as having lunch once a month to a very detailed plan.

Risk #3. Don’t do it all yourself.  Delegate.
In my small business several of my everyday tasks are regularly delegated to virtual assistants around the US.  I love it because it allows us to give them a lot of flexibility.

When you consider delegating, it is important to visualize specifically what the virtual assistant can execute for you in relation to the cost it would be if you did it yourself.  I like to think of my hourly rate versus there hourly rate.  I calculated this by taking my salary and divided by 2080 (the number of working hours in a year, less vacation, etc). This number crunching exercise should also probably need to include the added cost elements associated with full-time or even part-time employees, the benefits, pensions, insurance costs, productivity and so on.

So there you have it - my top three risks, not counting the hair cut, that helped to change my business.  Sometimes taking a risk and trying something new is fun, and who wouldn't enjoy a bit of fun in their business?