A Bias For Action – Vital

Successful Business Ownership

Many commentators point to ‘innovation’, ‘nimbleness’ and ‘flexibility’ as advantages entrepreneurs and small business owners have over their BigCo competitors. This is often true but I think more important is a ‘bias for action’.

Many entrepreneurs and business owners I admire, including Stefan Topfer, Chair and CEO of WinWeb, have the ability to get the important things done most of the time and done quicker than the majority of large organisations and Institutions can ever do. They’re great at maximising valuable business development time and if one route slows or closes they open another one immediately.

The great advantage of an entrepreneur led business is that the decision and the resultant action can be almost instantaneous. Because we own our businesses we can admit to ourselves when our actions lead to success and when they don’t. We learn from our mistakes yet retain our appetite to try new things. We understand that risk and reward comes from doing stuff quickly. It’s why we work so bloody hard and yet enjoy it.

Keep it ‘down to me’

Much of the satisfaction of starting and running your own business is that the success is down to you, the risks are ones you feel are worth taking and you feel in control of your own destiny. The times I’ve stopped enjoying a business I’ve founded are when other people start questioning my beliefs and putting the brakes on my actions.

Too much research, over-planning and consensus decisionmaking processes often suppress instinct for the market and grabbing new business opportinities.

A bias for action allows one to test a new business concept , product, service or customer segment while the competition is considering it. A bias for action allows you to shut down one income stream that is proving tiresome to try another one that may flow better. This bias for action allows you to not worry about mistakes and midjudgements, unlike most ‘corporate’ managers, because moving on quickly to what does work is the lifeblood of your business.

Expert Growth Advice Can Be High Risk

Just how vital this bias for action and control of own destiny is to the entrepreneur and small business owner is often underestimated by business mentors, coaches, consultants and advisers. Traditional advice is to grow by, such as, developing a good board of directors, obtaining finance, taking on more staff, delegating to other managers and making long term investments.

I have a very different view. I regard all the above as high risk as they may impede your own bias for action. All the above bring other people/stakeholders into your business that will want a say in the decisions . They could hold you back from taking the business risks that you believe are necessary for success. ‘Professionalising’ direction, management and processes can actually lead to a sterile, inwardly focused business.

Just as bad, when others interfere with your decisionmaking and bias for action, is that you may begin to not enjoy running your business as much because you don’t feel in control of your own destiny – the very reason you started your business in the first place.

So, guard your ‘bias for action’. It is a major asset. Don’t let anyone or any contract put the brakes on you.

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