Back when I was starting out, as an inexperienced entrepreneur, I was fortunate to land myself a couple of good mentors early on. One of them, a successful hotelier who owned commercial property across Australia came to me after the crash of my first venture. I don’t remember much from that conversation, as I was still bewildered by what had just happened, but one thing he said to me stood out: “never leave anything to chance”.
As a naturally impulsive person (it’s not a bad thing, think Branson and “Screw it, lets do it“) it took me quite some time to come to terms with what this means. I can say now, almost a decade later, that message is at the back of my mind pretty much every time I’m making a decision.
“Never leave anything to chance” means more than basic risk management. It means looking over every aspect of a problem or project and ensuring you have plan in place for everything.
Recently I took what most thought was a bit of a gamble with a business. I proceeded ahead in a declining market with a product that is often considered a luxury. My “gamble” paid off as I believe my “gamble” wasn’t a gamble at all. Using mind-maps I had methodically broken down the project in to it’s basic elements. I then forced myself to expand on each of these elements.
With my now rather messy diagram I considered what would happen to the overall problem if one or more of these elements was lost. I then concentrated in ensuring I had enough resources, materiel to support the ‘flakey’ elements and went ahead. In short, everything was planned for – even consequential events had a plan.
It took a bit of time to learn, but there is no way I would be in the position I am today if I left things to chance.