One of the great and scary things about business is that there are no certainties. It’s a game of probabilities. When you make a decision to do something, it may work. There’s not a formula as in some of the hard sciences where doing certain things will lead to definite results whether mixing chemicals, setting up structures or testing gravity.
The world does not owe you something. Furthermore, it is a moving target. What works today likely will not be as valid in a year or five years in the information age. The age of speed has kept us on our toes and forced innovation cycles like never before.
Here is how I look at business decisions in light of the fact that they are about probabilities:
- Play in generalities. I don’t bet on one person, venture, customer or game. It is better to serve many. The continual flux of where people are at can create volatility otherwise. It’s better to create your own portfolio of opportunities and relationships to amortize the risks.
- Listen to your gut. If you cannot trust yourself, then looking for external validation is the only recourse. The failures and successes which you have received and will continue to make inform you about what works and what does not. If something seems unclear, listen to your gut. Then go with it. You will either succeed or grow your gut instinct through failure.
- Test small things. Because risk is continually around us because of all of the uncertainty in doing something, see if you can invest in a smaller scale project. If you are thinking of investing in a new business, start serving a customer or two to explore the viability of your offerings. This will provide valuable feedback before investing further or too heavily. Testing against uncertainties with small risk with quick cycles increases your probabilities of success.
You can save a lot of time if you understand that business is about probabilities. People may or may not like you. Markets may or may not accept your new innovation. Try out these strategies to play the game of probabilities.
So what about you? Does this help you approach business differently? How do you play the game of probabilities?