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Knowing When To Gamble In Business

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Knowing When To Gamble In Business

No big company became a big company overnight. To get to the top of its field, a business needs a great strategy, great products, great reviews, and just a pinch of luck. That lucks usually arrives in the form of gambles that have paid off. While it would be wonderful if every decision we took in the world of business had foreseeable consequences, we all know that they don't. Sometimes you have to leap before you look, and sometimes you have to act on faith and hope for the best. The difference between success and failure, therefore, is often down to knowing when to gamble and knowing when to play it safe. We'd like to help you make those difficult judgment calls. 

We should start by saying that nothing we're about to tell you will totally de-risk a gamble. If it could, it wouldn't be called a gamble! What business owners need to take into account is that there are different types of gambling. Gambling on an online slots website, for example, is different from gambling on a game of poker. You have no control over what happens next with online slots, but you can use your judgment and skill to try to predict whether an opponent in poker is holding a better hand than you. UK slots might be more exciting on account of the fact that you never know what's going to happen next, but that's generally not a good thing in business! Instead, let's focus on trying to make you a better 'business poker' player.

Be At Peace With Failure

We're listing this first because it's the most important point to consider. Your business gamble - even if it's a well-protected, carefully-considered gamble - might still fail. You need to come to terms with that, and you also need to come to terms with the consequences of that. What will happen if the risk doesn't pay off? If it means you'll have lost money, can you cover the costs? If it puts a product at risk, can you write the product off? If failure could put the whole business in jeopardy, is it really the right thing to do? You'll probably have heard the phrase 'he who dares wins' before, but daring alone isn't a guarantee of success. As several case studies have shown, daring backed up by solid planning pays off a lot more often than taking the risk and hoping. If your gamble places your ability to trade at question, you probably don't have a sound strategy. 

Assess The Benefits Against The Rewards

What do you stand to gain if the gamble pays off, and how different will it make your situation compared to where you stand right now? At the same time you’re considering that question, how stable is your business at this moment in time? Is everything going well, or is their danger on the horizon if you don’t take the chance? If the consequence of doing nothing is that the business is likely to run into trouble, the gamble may well be worth it. This is one of the rare occasions where the idea of throwing (potentially) good money after (potentially) bad money might actually be a good thing. On the other hand, though, if everything is rosy at the moment, why risk that by taking a chance that might not pay off? Assign a cost to everything and look at the bottom line. If it's a big risk for a reward that doesn't make a huge material difference to the status of your company, it's one that almost certainly isn't worth taking. 

Is There A Plan B? 

There's a reason why all buildings have fire escapes. When something goes wrong, you need a back door to escape through as quickly as possible. In terms of your potential business gamble, this means having a system that can identify that things aren't working out, and having a Plan B to take corrective action as soon as the failure of the gamble has been identified. If you have a sensible get-out plan that could take you back to - or at least close to - where you were before you took the gamble, it makes it a lot easier to press ahead. If the gamble involves committing to the risk totally and being stuck with the outcome even if it doesn't go well, that's a red flag. You would need a very good reason to justify that level of risk, and if you can't think of a compelling one immediately, then it isn't something you should be considering. A good escape route might not totally nullify the consequences of the risk backfiring, but it can take you back to a position that's 'good enough.' 

Will You Regret This? 

We should always listen to our gut instinct - not only in business but in every avenue of our lives. We may not be able to explain why we can 'feel' a certain way about an opportunity or a gamble, but it's there in the pit of our stomach. What's it telling you about the risk, and whether you'll regret it? The question of regret goes two ways. If you have a nagging feeling that you'll regret taking the risk, don't do it. It will make things twice as bad if you fail, as you'll blame yourself for not listening to your instincts when you had the chance. Could you imagine yourself regretting not taking this risk when you're older, though? Could it be something that you look back on and rue not being a little braver? If you're happy with the consequences of failure, the rewards seem attainable, and your gut is urging you to do it, that's three green lights, and you'll probably regret the decision not to 'go.' 

Along with considering all of the above points, remember not to be an island in all of this. A decision that could have huge, transformative consequences for you both personally and professionally shouldn’t be taken alone. Speak to your family, your trusted friends, and your most senior colleagues. Be open with them about what could go wrong or right, and ask them for their take. You don’t have to take any of their advice on board if you don’t want to, but as they’ll also be affected by it, you at least owe it to them to listen. There’s no such thing as a safe gamble - but there is such a thing as a safer gamble. Make sure all of your business gambles are poker bets, not online slots spins.

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Olivia Wilson Olivia Wilson is a digital nomad and founder of Todays Past. She travels the world while freelancing & Guest blogging. She has over 5 years of experience in the field with multiple awards. She enjoys pie, as should all right-thinking people.
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