This was a question I was asked a few weeks ago. The question I was asked was actually connected to tradestands at big events, and knowing when to invest in these – when to make the leap, if you will. However, the advice I gave can be applied to any ‘business leap’. Hence why a blog that started off as a very tradestand focussed blog has now somewhat morphed into something general – how to know when to make a business leap.
What’s a business leap?
In this blog, a business leap is something out of the ordinary, unusual and a comfort zone demolisher. It’s a decision that feels scary and daring. It might not be to anyone looking from the outside in but, to the business’s founder, it does.
Are all business leaps huge?
No – and that’s a very important point. Some business leaps are HUGE and cost a lot of money and time – and there’s a lot on the line if it goes wrong. Moving to an amazing new warehouse to increase the size of your operation is a big leap, for example. But the good news is that there are many, many ways you can test the water first, to make sure that your decision is founded on strong evidence and results. This makes the leap a lot more calculated, which should help to reduce any anxiety surrounding it. Yes, it might still be a big leap and it might still be risky, but you can take the sting out of the tail… let’s work through a few examples.
Starting your own business. To some people this means quitting the day job and going all in. There is nothing wrong with that. But if you’re a little more cautious or want to test an idea first, start the business in your spare time. It’ll mean your weekends and evenings will evaporate… but running your own business can be like that when you’re full time too. This way, you can test the market, see what people want, and not compromise your income. You might find the idea is a roaring success and you need to stop your day job to meet demand. And that’s brilliant. But at least when you hand in your notice you can be excited about the next chapter. Don’t get me wrong – it’s STILL scary, but less so.
Taking a tradestand at big events. For many business owners, this is seen as a beacon for how well you’re doing. But if you want your business to survive, you need to care a LOT less about what other people think. Sod the beacons of greatness, just be great! However, there’s no doubt that some events are great for business – from a sales, a marketing, a social media and a market research point of view. Now, a word of warning… even if you have the money, brand and great product, this does not mean you will get the stands you want at big events. It just doesn’t work like that. The more prestigious ones require you to apply and be considered… but with so many people after a limited number of stands, a lot of people end up disappointed.
However, there is another way.
At many of the big equestrian events there are larger tents, like Rural Crafts, World of the Horse, etc. These are still in very high demand but with smaller spaces and more retailers sharing the space, it can be a very cost effective test. Another idea (if allowed by the event in question) is to work with someone who has an existing stand that your brand complements. I’ve seen this done a few times and it can be good for all concerned – as long as you’re not in breach of the venue’s Ts and Cs.
Calculated risks are good
Calculated risks are good. They help us to feel a lot more confident in what we’re about to undertake. However, there is still that moment when you do have to jump (or leap!). But if you do the groundwork, it’s not a jump into the unknown…