“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
That’s probably my favourite quote of all time, and it’s very fitting in today’s society.
We live in a time where everyone is a self-proclaimed expert in something. Go on LinkedIn and you’ll see gurus on things like marketing, finance and human resources. Yet when you click on these people’s profile, a lot of the time they have less experience in those areas than you do from just day-to-day management of your business. Also, don’t know if you get these, but there are a lot of spam emails flying around offering “market reports” on our industry and others. If you’ve ever read even the summary they offer for free (the whole objective is to bamboozle you into paying for the full report), it’s pretty obvious that their “exhaustive research” consists of spending a few minutes on Google, then dressing up what they found with some academic-sounding language.
Amazingly enough, these are a lot of the same people who are trying to give you advice and/or criticize you. People who couldn’t handle being in business for themselves, so they’re going to try to tell you how to handle your business instead.
Between trolls on social media, “experts” giving you advice you didn’t need or ask for and the “news” pimping nothing but fear 24/7, it’s really easy to get lazy and stay in your safe zone. I understand this thought process. I fall into it myself often. Just sitting back and waiting for things to come to you. This makes more sense if you’re near retirement. You don’t have the years ahead to make up for any mistakes.
If you’re just starting in business, or have decades ahead of you, don’t be afraid to take your shot!
The way people are making their purchasing decisions, building relationships with businesses and investing their time is changing at the fastest pace in history. You’ve got massive advantages over old, entrenched businesses. Getting your story out to everyone that’s a potential customer is easy, and cheap, compared to the old way. No salesman needed driving around dropping off cards. For a tenth of the $75,000 per year you’d pay a salesman (plus truck, fuel, commission and benefits) you can get an explosive advertising campaign that will reach 100 times the people. You can also afford to try a couple different approaches and see what sticks.
People will tell you it’s crazy, that’s not how it was done and here’s why it won’t work. That’s OK, let them stew in their own doubt. They’re not going to accomplish anything in the end.
This also applies to being involved in and joining groups like the CRA. Yeah, it takes time and a little expense. But if you’re not willing to be involved with the association, you don’t earn the right to complain about things the association is doing. Otherwise you’re no better than those social media trolls.
Ultimately I think we’re all far more likely to regret the shots we didn’t take than the ones we did regardless if we score or not.
Just take the damn shot.
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