In my previous post, entitled, "Be Conservative," it's possible to interpret that as supporting a political philosophy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Honestly, I have to admit I lean heavily to the middle, and find the ridiculous partisanship to be offensive. Like most sane human beings, there are parts of both the Democratic and Republican platforms that I agree with. And there are other components, from both, that offend me to the core. The truth is though, you can run a successful business regardless of which way you lean.
Aside from the political conservative side, there is also the issue as to whether one is personally conservative or risk averse. Like the political perspective, this has little to do with the potential success of an entrepreneur... as long as the extremely conservative nature can be curbed slightly when it comes to the business. A small business owner must take some risks, no matter how small, or the business will never get off the ground. An excessive amount of risk can lead to either quick ruin or potentially mind shearing success. Extreme conservatism will lead to a slow death, and that's really about it.
One of the things to realize as your business grows though, is that the perception of you as a business owner, may be vastly different than the reality. However, that's because your reality changed dramatically, while that of your friends and family did not. As the business grows, we begin to deal with numbers and decisions that others close to us can't fathom, and so what is perhaps a conservative, low-risk decision to us, can easily appear as a crazy, outrageous decisions to those around us.
I can't tell you how many times my grandfather has asked, "You sure you're OK kid? That's a lot of money..." when looking at the property and renovations we've made to our offices. The idea of paying over $1,000,000.00 for a piece of property is unfathomable to him because he never made more than $50,000.00 in a year (if I had to guess.) That's a risk he just can't wrap his head around. For Big Bang though, the far greater risk was staying where we were, in what would have been an undersized office building. In order to allow the business to grow, we needed more space, and this option cost less than our existing lease space.
Anyone that knows me, would likely not describe me as conservative, personally or professionally. We offer great salaries and benefits to our employees. We have a great campus on five wooded acres with golf and volleyball and disc golf. I have played poker in some of the biggest tournaments around, traveled the world scuba diving, and drive an Infiniti convertible. I doubt "conservative" is what friends and families think of me.
But in business, for the most part I am conservative. But that still means providing the support and materials my employees need to succeed, not nickel and dime-ing them on the small stuff. That means sending them to expensive training courses and tradeshows, so that Big Bang maintains the highest quality of employees. That means paying our bills on time or early so our vendors respect us and want to do business with us, rather than holding off payment for 45 or 60 days.
As Sue, one of our employees is fond of saying, "Make good decisions." Well good business decisions are conservative decisions, that are made for the good of the company, even if they look like crazy decisions from outside.