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Business owners causing their own demise

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
15 August 2017 1 minute readShare
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Business owners are the ones who are ultimately causing their companies to fail by being risk-averse, and mid-sized companies are the most vulnerable.

That is the view of Sean Ashby, owner of iconic men’s swimwear and underwear brand, aussieBum.

“My business wouldnt be here today if I didnt take risk every week. It comes down to innovation. Its such an important part of a growing business,” Sean says.

“If you dont have innovation, then you dont have a business in todays world.”

However, it is not so much start-ups that are risk-averse, suggests Sean, but the mid-sized market, where the founders have built something of which they can be proud but feel reluctant to gamble to grow any further.

“That actually is often where failure occurs because you become so fearful of what youre going to do, because you think of all the things you know could happen. Whereas in the earlier days, you didnt know about any of that so the risks you were taking you just saw it as normal,” he says.

That doesn’t mean that you need to gamble with the business as a whole or do so unprepared, warns Sean.

“I actually try to, for the lack of a better word, be naive. When Im taking risks, I look at the financial impact, but Ive already budgeted for that. And Im quite prepared to fail,” he says.

“And with failure, that actually motivates me. But without failure, thats where complacency kicks in.”

It is for this reason that Sean suggests many business owners actually bring on their own worst fear – the death of the business they have worked so hard to create.

He notes that fashion is a particularly competitive industry, and it is only the ones that keep take chances and try new things which will survive for the longer term.

“[aussieBum is] 16 years young. Most fashion brands dont last that long. Its because weve kept reinventing ourselves, but Ive also never accepted what weve done as being good enough,” says Sean.

Hear more inspirations, insights and cheeky tricks from Sean on the My Business Podcast below:

Business owners causing their own demise
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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