Risk taker, caretaker or undertaker

I was on YouTube the other day watching Rick Warren speak at a conference for church leaders (as an aside, if you don’t know who Rick Warren is you might want to learn more. Rick Warren wrote The Purpose Driven Life – now titled What on Earth am I here for? – which became the bestselling hardback non-fiction book in history, and is the second most-translated book in the world, after the Bible) and as he was speaking I was struck by a comment he made that I think is applicable to business owners.

While he was speaking in the context of being a pastor, I am using the same context for business owners.  You are either a:

– risk taker

– caretaker

– undertaker

Given the conversations I have already had this year with people and businesses seeking financing, I thought this was a great way to classify people and businesses I chat with.  I have been doing some research on Canadian Small Businesses to create content for our new online tool that is now out of beta – http://www.mlenow.ca – and I came across this statistic that helps add some weight to this conversation:
– last year 21% of small businesses undertook a risk in trying to innovate something in their business to produce an improved result
– of those same businesses, 67% saw an increase in sales


I believe that being a risk taker requires faith while others might believe being a risk taker means believing in yourself.  Either way making progress or looking to steward what you have to produce more requires confidence that the results can be achieved.  I believe that those who have been blessed with much have a responsibility to increase their blessing and share it with others.

So how do you know if you are an caretaker or an undertaker?  Try to answer this question:

“When was the last time you took a bold step to do something in your business that seemed impossible and possibly lead to sleepless nights?”

If you can’t remember a time then you probably have your answer.  While I don’t think you have to be a risk taker I do think that if you want to experience all that you could be capable of it might be worth considering.

In helping people get financing I often get to see the results of what it means to be a risk taker, caretaker or undertaker.  It can be very expensive for owners that are running their business into the ground to get the money they need to keep going.  They will pay higher rates of interest and higher than average set-up fees and costs.  Risk takers on the other hand seem to have options mostly because they take risks from a foundation they have built and they don’t take risk for risks sake.  Caretakers on the other hand think they need money but rarely have an interest in doing the work required to increase what they have.

Take a moment to think about what you are and why.  Here is Rick’s quote:

“Every pastor chooses how he will lead a flock: As a risk taker, as a caretaker, or as an undertaker while it slowly dies.” @RickWarren


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