Thinking about going out on your own and starting a new business? Be inspired by this Red Bull Stratos highlight video of Felix Baumgartner’s jump to the New Mexico desert floor from 128,000 feet up.

Love it. I think there is some inspiration, as well as lessons to be learned, for small business startups:

Reward and risk are related

The Austrian daredevil undertook serious personal risk to smash a 52 year standing world record for highest jump. He risked….his life.

When you start your own business, you undertake risk too. You risk significant elements of your life: your previous job and career path…and the stability and predictability that go with it. The opportunity cost can be high. You often risk your personal savings. Your family and closest friends will see less of you for awhile and that costs. You undertake these risks for the sake of obtaining a financial and/or lifestyle reward.

It takes a team

Red Bull, the drink company, sponsored the space jump, and had been working towards this event with Mr. Baumgartner for several years. Red Bull provided the funding, the technology, the planning, the logistics, the experts…it cost a lot. No way Mr. Baumgartner could have pulled this off on his own.

When you start your own business, even if you are going solo, you need a team to pull it off. Reason? Successful entrepreneurs can’t do it all. If you are good at marketing, chances are you’re not so great at keeping the books, and vice versa. (And by the way, a TON of new business fail because they don’t keep good books.)

In my opinion, a successful start up must have people wearing these hats or more:

* Accountant / bookkeeper
* Web designer
* Marketing pro
* Office manager / administrator
* Customer service rep
* Banking / finance
* Producers — people who provide the goods or services you sell

If you are starting up a new business, there’s a good chance you are a producer. How many of the other hats can you wear well? You can’t wear all of them, right?

Hire or contract out for the rest. Build a great team before you launch. Then you’ll get great results from the start. (This I did not do, see below.)

Overcome fear

In an extended video I watched of the space jump, Felix Baumgartner opens the capsule door, swings his legs out, and stands up on the little platform outside. Someone from earth says, “Felix, step out a little further.” Ha! It reminded me of going up on the high dive at the neighborhood pool when I was a kid…times a kazillion! Step out a little further, to the edge of space, right. Cold chills.

But Baumgartner did. He immediately inched out on the platform, saluted, and hopped over the edge, with the big curvy blue earth under him. After all his planning and preparation, he did not hesitate when the time came to execute the plan. There’s your lesson.

Over twenty years ago, I left behind the comfort and security of writing code for a major player in the accounting software world. It cost me. It took a couple of years to figure out the hats and this was almost a fatal error. Then the reward came. It was never guaranteed, of course.

RELATED:
Companions in Adventure
I Didn’t Get the Job at IBM. Cool.

The risk and reward were commensurate. As they always are.

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