Positive Risks

Written by Eric Petersen, CIC

Until now, all of our risk management articles have been centered around avoiding, minimizing or reducing risk within your tree care company. In simple terms we usually look at risk as a bad thing for your business and since we are an insurance agency who wants their clients to run safe businesses and get every one of their employees home each night that makes sense, right? However, I feel the need to address the other side of risk, the positive risk. When you take action and things work out the way you wanted it to or maybe even better than imagined.

I felt inspired to write this article on the plane ride home from a recent trip to Egypt that my wife and I took for our anniversary. It was an unforgettable adventure where we crawled into pyramids and ancient tombs, slept under the stars on the Nile in a felucca as well as overnighted on a sleeper train, not to mention enjoyed the traditional cuisine of the country. It really was a trip that had it all and not one that we normally would take. Sure we like to travel to see new places, try new foods and such, but there was so much more unknown about this trip than any we had taken before.

In every sense of the phrase, we “took a risk” on this vacation of unknowns to experience something we hadn’t before and I’m so glad we did. Not only were the physical experiences so memorable, the conversations we had with our new friends reinvigorated us to continue to take risks and grow as individuals and share new ideas and energy with others.

Could it have been the worst trip we took? With everything that we didn’t know about the country, culture, the food, the people we were traveling with, absolutely, but it wasn’t and we obviously wouldn’t have had the time we did if we didn’t take the risk. It’s easy to confidently say that our risk paid off with this vacation.

It’s this spirit of positive risk taking that I want to bring back to your business now. I’m sure every tree care company owner knows the moment he or she wanted to start their own company. So, think about that moment for a second. The moment you knew you had to do this for yourself, your family or future family. You were staring risk directly in the face, with the potential of that risk slapping you back in the face at every turn. And while it maybe took a bit to build up the courage to take the leap, you did it anyway and you made it.

There would be no one to write this article to if no one took that risk to start their own business. And so I want to encourage each one of you to remember that we need to continue to take risks for our businesses and more importantly for the people our business depends on to thrive, our family, our employees and their families, our customers and their businesses/families.

So I challenge each of you to take a risk this year within your business. Go reach for that one thing you’ve been holding back on, starting a PHC department, opening an additional location, spending the money on marketing, investing in a customer relation management system? Whatever it is, work with your leadership team to build a plan first, and then take action.

Once you start, tell someone outside of your organization about it to hold you accountable. The accountability part is where we often fail as business owners as there is always something else that occupies our time and distracts us from taking risks that can transform our businesses. Remember, we used to do this when we were new in business.

And in that vein, I want to make a public commitment to you, so you can hold me accountable to my next risk, of writing a business building book for the tree care industry within the next year. I’ve had the outline set for a couple of years now, but haven’t taken the risk to truly begin working on it yet. But now it’s go time.

Join me in tackling something new for your business this year and please hold me accountable too. Together we can all improve so much faster than doing it alone.