Playing it safe may be the riskiest move you make.

It pays off to play it safe right?

You want to be careful not to be too edgy, not to be too aggressive, or too “new school.”
You can’t afford to offend people; I mean times are tough right? Now is NOT the time to take risks!! Right?

WRONG!

Playing it safe is the Riskiest Thing You Can Do!

You might be thinking, “What are you talking about, isn’t taking big risks what got our economy into the jam we are in now? Aren’t the companies that “pushed the edge” the ones that got overextended and failed”?

Not even close!

Of course I’m not talking about taking dumb risks, overspending, or moving without strategy, thinking, or planning, that IS dumb. I would argue that the very companies 10 years ago you would have said were NOT taking risks were the very companies that went out of business or failed in some other way in the last 3 years… Do you think that GM failed because their cars were “cutting edge” or because there were “in tune” with what their customers wanted, building the perfect car for their customer, OR was the fact that they WERE NOT cutting edge, NOT in tune with what the people wanted?

For the last 25 years, we have enjoyed a time of great business growth, thousands of companies innovated, created, grew, expanded, and then… held on.

They worked hard, listened to the customer created some success, then they held on to that success and milked it for all it’s worth. Rather than “rinse and repeat” they held on… It was ok though because it worked, at least for the most part, it worked!

But then something happened, the world got smaller, MUCH smaller, and faster, MUCH faster. Blogs, the internet, social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook created a platform where everyone, EVERYONE could talk, and everyone started listening. Today is a whole new ball game; people don’t “trust” brands like they used to, instead consumers turn to their community and talk about the products and services that work and don’t work.

It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s everywhere.

The business that still “don’t get it” well, you don’t need to worry about them because in 10 years they won’t be here anymore. New technically savvy businesses that ARE listening will take their place. The smart guys are listening, and creating products that are “risky.” Risky because they are different, new, and untested, but they ARE what people are asking for. Companies like http://www.zappos.com/ have been massive success NOT because they sold awesome shoes, a lot of places sell the same shoes. They have created a very successful business because they listened, they cared, and they adjusted to meet the customers need. PERIOD… That’s it!

Think about it and start to take some BIG risks, it’s probably the safest thing you can do for your business!

Onward

-Christopher Behnke