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The Green Sheet Online Edition

August 12, 2013 • Issue 13:08:01


To risk or not to risk

Successful ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) have an entrepreneurial nature and typically take a number of calculated risks to attain their goals. However, sometimes a payment company will reach a certain level and then stall or even stagnate. What could the reason be?

A number of factors can negatively affect a company's fortunes. Changes in the national or local economy; aggressive new competitors; lack of access to new technologies; hurricanes, floods or other natural disasters; changes in merchant or consumer behavior; and loss of key personnel are among them. But an even more influential factor is whether a leader has grown too averse to risk.

Sometimes a formerly courageous leader will stop taking risks after a failure and decide to play it safe thereafter. Or an individual will reach a comfortable level of success and want to reap the rewards from what has already been sown and cautiously protect his or her assets at all costs.

Risk for rewards

As an ISO or MLS, how long has it been since you took a significant risk? When was the last time your company tried selling a new product or service, entered a new vertical or gained a new type of technical proficiency? If you haven't been charting new territory, could it be that you have grown risk averse?

If so, here are three good reasons to stick your neck out again professionally and personally:

  1. You will set the stage and live a vibrant life on your own terms. If you don't, you will live in accordance with other people's decisions, frameworks and goals, not your own.

  2. You will accomplish more, relish what you achieve and inspire others to do the same.

  3. You will keep growing on the job and at home and, rather than being stuck in a rut, you'll have a good shot at reaching your full potential.

You don't have to jump from an airplane or sail the world solo (although if those are among your dreams, nobody's stopping you). The thing to do is to consider whether you are taking enough educated risks in your business and life. Talk with your colleagues.

Think about what you could do to improve your business that would involve some risk, what the payoff would be, and what the worst-case scenario would be if you failed. Then, if it makes sense, jump in. If not, keep assessing projects until you find one that is worth the risk involved.

Be a trailblazer

Research has shown that when it comes to risk, most of us tend to:

  • Overestimate both the possibility of something going wrong and what the consequences will be if the new venture doesn't succeed.

  • Underestimate our ability to handle the negative consequences of risk, as well as the detrimental effects of doing nothing at all.

Thinking that if you don't take a risk, you won't fail is misguided. If you don't risk going after something, you will never attain it. Inaction guarantees failure. Be a trailblazer, not a complacent manager.

It's those who don't who are riddled with regrets. Be someone who does and thereby broadens horizons for us all. end of article

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