Ambition and caution are the two most important forces underpinning your business. They naturally oppose each other, and you have to find the right balance: too much ambition sees you over-confidently over-extend yourself and ignore risks until one is serious enough to shutter your business. Exercising too much caution sees you locked into stasis – unable to take any action because it represents a risk, however small.
If you’re able to harness these two forces, and have them complement each other, rather than fight, you have a good recipe for long term success for your business. Working in balance, caution subjects your ambitious aims to scrutiny, ensures you are aware of the attendant risks and that you’re not risking more than you can afford to lose, while your ambition spurs your most cautious instincts into action. Today we’re looking at how you can make these two instincts work with each other to become an engine that powers your business towards greater success.
The fundamental issue at play here is that ambition and caution are both emotive states. Like all emotions they serve an important role, but if you put your emotions in charge of your decisions you’ll find yourself in trouble very quickly. The solution here is to make sure you’re providing a solid bed of objective facts – decisions that are based on data are more reliable, and prevent your most powerful instincts running amok.
Working with a market research agency gets you the benefit of their tools and insight: brand tracking surveys that tell you how your brand is performing in the market, as well as more tailored investigations that can show you how well you can expect a specific new product to perform, and allow you to customise it to make the biggest impact possible.
A Check on Your Instincts
A good, reliable input of data gives your ambitious and cautious instincts something to act on. With statistics about the state of the market, you can either use them to cautiously build an argument about why this isn’t the right time to expand, or quell your most cautious instincts by demonstrating that reality gives you every reason to be confident.
As well as using statistics, you also need to find peers who can give you honest feedback. There’s nothing like a ‘reality check’ from someone you trust to ground you, and ensure you’re not heading for disaster.
Building a professional network of your peers in business gives you access to people who can shoot down your bad ideas and build up your good ones. Getting fearlessly honest feedback from the people working for you can be difficult – disagreeing with the boss too often can feel awkward, at best.