Tuesday, February 07, 2006

On Speculation and Gambling

Another week. Time to write another blog.

Fantasy: After writing multiple pieces each and every day during the week, I merely need to choose which of my clever and entertaining pieces to post here.

Reality: Uh…Do business contracts and e-mails count? I’ve written three contracts and a zillion e-mails this week.

Actually, I do have something to say today. Being a small business owner, I am always only two steps away from failure and bankruptcy. What can I say? I like living on the edge. But the last few weeks I’ve been closer to the edge than even the most thrill-seeking and desensitized entrepreneur would care to be. Close enough to the edge to hear the surf pounding on the jagged rocks below, to feel the spray upon my face, and to see the roots of the twig I’m swinging from start to give way.

Anyway, during this most recent I-grew-before-I-could-afford-new-clothes phase of my business, I had a client ask why things were so precarious. She was curious to know if I had “speculated” or “gambled” on business being better than it was. I had to think about that awhile.

And the answer is No. At least, not in the usual sense of those words, which imply taking unfounded or dangerous risks. My choices and business decisions were made as safely, as carefully, as well thought out and as prayerful as I know how to be.

The answer is also Yes. If you think about it, every decision we make in life, business or otherwise, could be called a speculation or gamble. We decide to shop at one store over another, speculating that their prices will be lower. We choose to quit one job and take another, gambling that it will provide a better living for our families. We decide to marry, rather than stay single, speculating that it will be a positive experience. We decide to have babies, gambling that we will survive both the experience of labor and delivery, and their teen years. Sometimes those gambles pay off the way we hope or expect. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the consequences are merely annoying, sometimes they are dire. That’s life.

So in that sense, yes, I suppose I did some speculation and gambling in the business, every day, every month, every year. Many times over the past five years, I’ve faced the choice of staying in business or closing the doors. Perhaps I have stayed in business over long, from a purely numbers and financial standpoint. But each time I faced that decision, I gambled on my products, their message, my enthusiasm, and the Lord’s continued help and support.

If I had it all to do over again, knowing what I know now, I’d have done a lot of things differently from the very beginning. If I had it all to do over again, knowing the eventual outcome would bring me here, dangling over disaster, yet not knowing how to prevent it, I’d still have taken those risks. I’d still have invested and gambled on these past five years and called it good while it lasted.

[Do not think that I have surrendered to the inevitable. I have not. The situation is not so dire as to be impossible to turn around. But for the sake of the creative writing to which this site is dedicated, that last sentence was a good stopping place.]


Kenna said...

you're LATE! Nothing since feb 7th!?

Kenna said...

you can't lie -
"posted by KB at 3:19 PM 0 comments"