Sunday, May 31, 2015

Small Business Planning - How to Reduce Risk Without Building Bureaucracy

How many times have you walked down the aisle of the supermarket and saw something that made you say something like "Finally, a package that I can use in my car! I can't believe it took them so long to figure that out." I know I have. But the irony is, the underlying reason it often takes big companies so long to launch new products is the exact process that entrepreneurs mock, yet desperately need.

Don't think for a second that these lumbering giants don't understand the benefits of being first to market, innovative and creative. Many big companies have talented, entrepreneurial managers who dream of how they will launch the next great household item, in record time, galvanizing the organization behind them. (I know, I was once one of them). However, the reality in the world of the Fortune 500 (and beyond) is that they have a need to minimize risk.
So what have the big companies done to mitigate risk of launching a new business? They created processes (and processes, and checkpoints, and gates, and more processes) to make sure each step of the way goals are being tested and met, strategy is sound, profits are holding, etc. Eventually, when all the hurdles have been met (and who knows how much time has passed and potential revenue sacrificed), the business is launched. Is it always a success? No, of course not. Even the best thinking doesn't guarantee success. But the systems that they used have most likely weeded out many of the ideas along the way that would have been failures, saving time and money. And on balance, avoiding those costly mistakes has proven for the big companies to be worth slowing down the launches of the good ideas.
So is what I am suggesting that you implement a cumbersome set of checks and balances before doing anything in your business? No, absolutely not. But what I am saying is think about WHY those big companies did all that in the first place! There is good intent and good thinking behind the effort to reduce risk. Let's face it, the same business laws of sales, marketing, profit and loss, competition, and cash management apply to you as apply to those companies. Just because you are not publicly traded doesn't mean that you shouldn't think about how you can think differently and manage differently to reduce the risk and volatility in your business! The big companies risk tens and hundreds of million dollars if a big launch goes south. For you, the stakes may not be as high on an absolute basis. However, poor strategy and planning puts your personal money at risk and more importantly, your time and effort!
The bloat and bureaucracy that exists in big companies is the unfortunate result of important thinking gone amuck. But the STRUCTURED THINKING and EVALUATION of concepts and ideas is the right thing to do to reduce risk of business failure!
Don't throw the baby out with the bath water! There are important lessons to be learned from the thinking strategies of these world class companies. The key is to discern what is valuable and throw out the extra! In doing so, you will discover how to confidently make the best choices for your business while still being fast and nimble as only entrepreneurs can be.
Michelle Tree, Master Entrepreneur and Owner of Why Go West, The Entrepreneur Training Company, invites you to download her free eBook [] on The Top 5 Ways to Fail-Proof Your Business.
Michelle says: "You need to create and execute winning strategies for your business, no matter what business you're in, online or offline. Download my free eBook today and begin to Change Your Thinking, and Beat the Odds!"
Michelle Tree
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1 comment:

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