The Bold and the Profitable
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The word "bold" is defined as showing a readiness to take risks or face danger; daring; fearless. In the business world, it can also mean being audacious and stepping out in defiance of the status quo. You already did it once when you started your business--now it's time to make boldness your modus operandi.
It's certainly a philosophy John Acres, founder of BiGHA Inc., an adventure bicycle manufacturer in Corvallis, Oregon, lives and works by. For Acres, 50, being bold in business is second nature. "For me, not going ahead, not doing something new is incredibly hard," he says. "It's the antithesis of life."
Acres made a bold move in 2001 when he started a business to sell a new kind of bicycle he had designed-an ergonomically sound vehicle where the rider sits comfortably back in his seat.
He was even bolder when he decided not to use distributors or sales reps to sell his creation--he decided instead to provide it solely through his Web site. "Most people think I'm somewhere between stupid and misguided, and that's fine," Acres says. "If most people agree with what you're doing, then you're not doing anything new."
And while anyone can tell you to be bold, it's the "how" that often gets stuck in the translation. George Ludwig, the author of Wise Moves: 60 Quick Tips to Improve Your Position in Life and in Business (CRL Publishing), has made his living encouraging others to be bold. "Through the maturation process, we've developed a conditioned timidity," Ludwig explains. "Through fear, we've been conditioned to take more timed actions." Because fear is often the killer of bold action, exactly how can an entrepreneur quell the inner rumblings of fear and step out courageously? "You must keep taking that bold step out of your comfort zone," says Ludwig-even though you are afraid.
Ludwig has even developed an easy-to-remember acronym to inspire boldness in people: "B stands for belief. Believe you can get the result you're looking for," he says. "O stands for optimism. L stands for learning-learn the strategy to step out of your comfort zone. D is the most important. D stands for deciding you'll take that step."
Now that Acres has taken that bold first step, current sales for his innovative start-up business are well into the six figures. As the philosopher Erasmus once said, "Fortune favors the audacious."