Recently I read an article asking the question whether borrowing for your business interests was a gambler’s strategy. The fact of the matter is, whatever business we want to start or operate, there will always be a component where our decisions will involve a bit of a gamble. After all, we can never anticipate all the factors which will occur and enhance or negatively affect the business. For example, at the beginning of 2020, many people could never have anticipated the effect COVID would have on their business.
Furthermore, once started, every business will require ongoing strategic reviews to ensure it can adapt to any ongoing factors which are and will occur in the future. If you do not conduct these reviews, you are gambling the essential factors applicable to your business have not changed or are going to change. This ethos about not allowing for change is particularly dangerous as history shows change is continually throwing up ever more factors which will affect our business.
If there is an element of gambling on the success of your business, are there actions which can be taken to reduce the odds of losing, or increase the odds of success? The answer is of course, YES, you can. Just a like a professional gambler in a casino playing their game of choice, business owners and managers can prepare for change in the “game of business”.
Whether it be our professional gambler or business owner and manager, we need to train ourselves for changes in the “game”. This means understanding that when we are confronted by a potential loss, or a positive opportunity, working out what we need to do to turn the “game” around in our favour, is just part of the game.
In the case of the business owner, the training is to understand your chosen business focus, the environment, competitors and likely chances of success. You will also need to ensure you understand what is happening to the business through the start-up period and beyond.
Your initial review on starting a business will include your business plan and SWOT analysis. You will also need to understand that the plan and SWOT analysis from the day you actually start the business, are potentially already out of date. You simply cannot guarantee what was developed prior to the start-up, will still be valid once the business has started.
In conclusion, whenever you start up or operate and manage a business, there is an element of gambling in your decisions. Just like the professional gambler, you will need to understand your “business game” by having a deep knowledge of your business’s marketplace and the commercial realities of the business environment.
Once the business is under way and as the game of business proceeds, you may need from time to time on how to adapt quickly in order to survive. Your success therefore is dependent on how well you prepared when making your decisions based on real commercial factors applicable prior and at that time. The gambling factor, which is always part of every decision when operating a business, can be minimised where possible by a sound knowledge of your business and the circumstances as the changes are required.