Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bigger Rewards Require Bigger Risks

Tomorrow I am taking a huge risk. I am undergoing surgery to correct two physical abnormalities, an elongated soft palate and uvula, and a tongue that is positioned farther back in the throat than normal.

I suffer from sleep apnea. And in the long run, if I don't treat it, it will kill me.

I tried the easy routes...

Tried all the over-the-counter fixes, Breathe Right Strips, Anti-snore sprays, etc. Not worth the money or aggravation.

Wore a CPAP mask for three years religiously. But the mask came off 15 times a night no matter what mask I tried or how tight I cinched it.

Wore two different oral appliances. One didn't work worth a darn (don't buy them over the Internet), the second almost worked but just couldn't overcome the odd physical circumstances of my throat.

So tomorrow I will have my tonsils removed, my soft palate trimmed, and my tongue pulled forward. The surgery is long, painful, and the recovery brutal. And there are risks, too. Any surgery involving the throat runs serious risks for breathing. Although the surgery itself will have no negative effect on my voice, the anesthetist will have to run a tube down my throat past the vocal chords. For a guy who makes his living with his voice (speaking, teaching, singing), those are some serious risks.

But those are the risks I need to take to set myself up for long-term health.

There's a business lesson in here, too. Your business has some long-term health issues. Are you addressing them? Are you willing to take some serious risks to set your business up for long-term health?

Have you extended your hours to meet the demands of convenience-driven customers?

Have you tightened your pricing to stay competitive in your field?

Have you raised the Experience level in your store to the point people are bragging about their trips to see you?

Have you made the necessary investments in technology to keep you current with best practices, and help you manage your inventory and cash flow better?

Have you made the necessary upgrades to make your store look fresh, new and exciting?

Sure, there are some risks spending the money necessary to make those kinds of changes. And there is no guarantee you will succeed. Even my surgery only has an 80-90% chance of success.

But without those changes, your business will die a slow (?) death.

Take the risks necessary to ensure you are set up for long-term health. That's what I'm doing both personally and at Toy House.

When I recover from surgery I'll let you know what we have in the works for Toy House. It's every bit as exciting and scary as tomorrow.

-Phil

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