Leverage  (Lesson 8)

Levers are a way of doing more work with less effort, and that’s a pretty good principle to keep in mind when you’re trying to grow a business. There are always limits on your resources, so it’s vital that you make the most of what you do have. That means knowing how to leverage a little effort into a lot of results.

Every business has a lot of potential ways to use leveraging, but too few of them exploit their assets properly.

I’ll start with a biggie.

Improve your confidence

The world is full of opportunities for your business. What stops many of us taking advantage of them is a simple lack of confidence. If you don’t believe you can do something, you’re probably right. The thing is, if you do believe you can do it, you’re also probably right.

If you lack confidence you’re not going to try new things, in case you fail. If you’re brimming with confidence, on the other hand, you’ll be willing to explore new opportunities. And, yes, sometimes you’ll fail. But only sometimes. If you never even try, you’ll fail every time.

Not everyone is naturally confident, and the responsibilities of being a business owner can actually reduce confidence. After all, the stakes are high. Your livelihood, maybe even your home, relies on the success of the business. It’s not hard to become risk-averse.

Try looking at things a slightly different way, though. How much of a risk is there, really? When you’re considering any new business venture you need to assess both what you’ll gain if it goes right, and what you stand to lose if it goes wrong.

Here’s something that’s handy to know. Usually, if you try something new and it doesn’t work out, nothing much happens. You might see a loss of profits for a short while but 99% of the time your core business will carry on pretty much as normal.

The more you know before taking a decision, the better – but don’t let that become an excuse for not acting. Too many businesses let great opportunities pass them by because they ‘still need more data’. The reality is you’ll never have all the data you’d like, and you might never have enough to eliminate all risk from the decision.

If you insist on waiting for all the data, you’re never going to get anything done. Instead, embrace the concept of calculated risk – and look at the risks on both sides of the equation. Yes, a new project or change of direction carries risks; so does anything worth doing.

To your success,