Lora Kellogg recently wrote an article for Forbes titled “Are You a Franchise Hero?”. In it, she drew from her professional career to point out what she believed to be common personality traits and best practices of successful franchises. Over the next several weeks, we’re going to take a look at those traits (new posts occur every two weeks, so come back regularly to see the newest information).
The adages are numerous and familiar, but the truth is risk-taking is key to reaching the pinnacle of success in any aspect of life. Let’s take a look at sports and then draw a parallel into the business world. As the saying goes, you can’t win the game unless you play. At the basic level, this applies to just individual games, even at the backyard level. To win that game, you must risk losing it. Your risk is indeed small – if you lose to friends or family members, you’ll be slightly disappointed and may have to take some good-natured ribbing. But as you go up, both the risks, and the rewards, escalate exponentially. To make the team, you have to risk being cut – to minimize that risk you actually risk more: you may put in countless hours into training and conditioning, but that is no guarantee. The risk is greater, but, if successful you become part of a team, experience comradery on a deeper level than any backyard group, and have even greater opportunities (like competing for a championship and having your skill recognized by many). The pinnacle, in both risk and reward, is obviously the pursuit of a professional career. Athletes who attempt this risk entire aspects of their lives, with no guarantee of success. But for those that do succeed, they experience rewards that most just dream about.
The same is true in the professional world. You have some risk in simply seeking employment, but it’s small. So is the reward. As you climb, you risk more, but are more substantially rewarded for your success. Becoming an entrepreneur, at the time you attempt it, may be the biggest risk financially and professionally you’ve ever taken. But when you succeeded, you found the thrill of driving your own success, having a self-managed career, and seeing your paycheck directly reflect your success instead of waiting for an arbitrary review date with superiors that may or may not have appreciated your work fully.
But the risk-taking, and rewards, do not stop climbing there. Successful entrepreneurs are always continuing to take risks. Why? Because businesses are never stagnant. If you aren’t growing, you’re slipping. Because of that, you are taking risks you couldn’t have dreamed of before you opened up for business. But you’re also seeing progress and returns on your investments that, at one time in your life, you may have thought were only made by people in suits in far-away places. You may or may not be wearing the suit now, but regardless of your professional attire, you are certainly captain of your ship. Your actions could sink the vessel, but you could also bring the riches of another world home to port.
So, if you are a franchisee that has seen some modest success, don’t stop now! Keep driving, keep risking. Until the day you are ready to bow and cash out by selling your business or passing it on to someone else, your reward for your previous success must be reinvested, or re-risked, to keep growing. That can seem ludicrous, but hopefully your confidence is also growing. You’ve seen the rewards, and most likely recovered from a few disasters. You know you can do it. The key is to never become timid and think, “I think I can do ‘ok’ just keeping the status quo.”