In the world of business, many CEOs, owners, and senior representatives like to play it safe. After all, it would seem illogical to abandon the strategies that have served the company well up until this point. Sadly, though, adopting this method could be equally as damaging as investing in an idea that is destined to fail.
Businesses can easily vindicate their decisions to play it safe, stating that they do not want to turn the company into a “sinking ship” by taking the wrong risk. However, failing to take the right risks could lead to ‘missing the boat’. To stay with the boat analogies, you need to ‘rock the boat’ from time to time – but do it in a way that will lead you to calmer waters downstream.
There are many high-profile examples of companies taking risks to achieve great things. General Motors encouraged consumers to buy used Buicks rather than cheaper new cars, a tactic that transformed their business model. Meanwhile, the battle between Kelloggs and Post shows how the brave strategies often pay off.
In addition to risks helping companies reach new heights, there are many examples of companies going broke thanks to playing it safe. Blockbuster famously shunned Netflix, opting to play it safe with DVD rentals despite the clear evidence that the world was moving towards the digital arena. The once-thriving chain store soon died while Netflix went on to earn billions. Kodak’s epic fail on the digital camera is another that brought a serious fall from grace.
Risk-taking has ultimately got the business to where it currently stands; risk-taking is what will drive it to growth and sustained success. If you’re not moving forwards, you’re moving backwards. Do not forget it.