"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
--- T. S. Eliot
History is filled with case studies of men and women who risked big in order to achieve greatness. But this isn't foolish risk like in betting on the horses or spending large amounts on lottery tickets. These are calculated risks, which means it involves using the brain muscle for planning and mapping out all possible outcomes of a risk.
The barrier to risk is fear. We all face all kinds of fear. Some fear is helpful. It is good if I fear bad elements in my neighborhood and do all that I can do to keep me and my family safe in our home. I should also have a little fear when crossing the street, at least enough to remind me that when I cross, it is either me or the bus so I should probably look both ways before crossing. But fear that paralyzes business owners from taking some risks to advance the progress of the company stifles growth. It is good to get a handle on this kind of fear before it overtakes all business decisions.
"Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins."
--- Charles Stanley
A great example of risk occurred during the Depression in the US in the early thirties. Proctor and Gamble was a seller of soap during this period. All of P&G's competitors at the time were driven by fear of loss and they cut their budgets. But P&G had a great company president at the time in Richard Deupree, who noted that there were some people prospering because they were buying luxury items, like radios. Deupree also noted that there were hundreds of thousands of women doing hard, tedious housework, with little to break the boredom, except for the radio.
Deupree should have been in fear because of the Great Depression and did like other companies and cut back. Instead, he reviewed the possible outcomes of taking a risk and found that the upside was far greater than any downside. He decided to use radio to pitch soap, and after several experiments, hit on the serial soap opera, capturing a growing audience of housewives who just had to know what was happening to Mary Noble, Ma Perkins, Our Gal Sunday, and others. These characters used P&G's Oxydol, Ivory, and Rinso White, and listeners started buying these soaps by the truckload.
"If you don't have a voice that forces you back to basics, you're a dangerous person. Or to put it another way: You're at risk, and the people with you are at risk. I'm not a daredevil. I don't fly without a safety net."
--- Steve Wynn
Though P&G's story is still studied in MBA programs across the country, it is not to be mistaken for a motivator to approach risk in a willy-nilly fashion. Deupree understood that his choice to create a soap opera was a gamble, but he also looked at all angles before diving in. The worst that could happen was a huge loss in advertising dollars and possibly be the butt of jokes for many years to come. But as a visionary, he looked to the future of his risk and all the possible outcomes and used that information as his parachute.
"You don't concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done."
--- Chuck Yeager
Always with an eye on the desired outcome helps to minimize the fear in the risk. Take time the rest of this month to dare to do something great. But be careful. You will feel uncomfortable and you will doubt yourself. That's okay. That is part of the process. If in doubt, tune into a soap opera sometime during the week.
"Life is a risk."
--- Carmelo Anthony
Industrial Inkjet Printing on Glass: Part 1, Flat Glass
By Eileen Fritsch
In theory, any business with a wide-format flatbed printer with UV-curable inks can print directly on glass. But in reality, it's not that simple.
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Biggs Septic Tank Service (near Nashville Tennessee):
"Call Monday thru Friday. Sorry, we haul milk on weekends."
Seen on a garbage truck in Virginia:
"Satisfaction guaranteed or double your trash back"
A sign on the elevator door:
"This elevator is out of whack. More whack is on order"
We need those funny signs you have seen in your travels, come on, we know they are out there.
Send them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.