Jerry Gillies was a popular financial guru in the 1970’s, most known for his book and tapes, MoneyLove. I remember a story on risk-taking that has stayed with me for many decades. He talks about how we are conditioned as youngsters to always “play it safe.” When we were young and leaving the house to go play, Mom would call out, “Be careful. Stay safe.” Gillies suggests how different our lives might be if our parents had given us a different message, “Take a risk. Try something new! Get out of your comfort zone!”
Wow, what a difference!
Recently, I was watching a reality television show where a group of well-known chefs audition different restaurateurs for possible funding of their new dining concepts. One was a former football player who was in the midst of “making the cut.” While he was passionate about his concept, he was missing some of the critical details to make it a success. Bobby Flay, who headed the chef’s group, reminded him that when he played ball, he didn’t succeed in every play. The important point is that he was in the game and in play. He was taking risks to realize his dream.
So when was the last time you took a risk for your business? Hired a new employee? Utilized new talent? Tried a new program or process to improve the business? Too often, we stay with the tried and true ways, expecting phenomenal new results from practices that previously provided mediocre outcomes.
It may be time to take some new risks. We have in our business. A new staff member has business development experience honed from decades of one-on-one encounters with business and marketing professionals. He brings an added dimension to the agency with new services to sell that are beyond our previous scope of work. It’s pushing our comfort zone, but promises a new profit center if he succeeds.
And taking risks isn’t limited to your business. What new thing have you tried in your personal life? I recently took up hand-bell ringing, after little involvement with music in the past 30 years. It’s challenging and definitely out of my comfort zone, but rewarding when we “get it right.” In a recent concert, I estimated we got three out of four pieces “right.” As Bobby Flay noted, you don’t succeed in every play, but you don’t quit the game either when you make a bad play.
As marketers, we’re always trying new things. New tools, like social marketing and virtual conferencing, offer new ways to reach traditional target markets. Some may wonder how long Twitter will last. One commentator mused that after two years, many will wake up and say, “Why did I waste so much time with Twitter?” But in the meantime, it’s a force to reckon with.
Fads and trends come and go. Successful people capitalize on them. Mediocre folks ignore them. Playing to them can be risky. But the occasional “win” makes it all worthwhile.
The next time you are contemplating a change to your business, or an opportunity pops up to try some new skill or visit a new spot, turn your head to one side, recall your mother’s voice, and hear her say, “Take a risk. Try something new.”
–Ralph Yearick is CEO of Yearick-Millea. Contact him at email@example.com