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Caring Senior Service Franchise Blog

Is Risk The Same For Everyone?

Posted by Saundra Hwozdek on Apr 19, 2018 6:00:00 AM

Toddler in diapers walking on beach

Owning a business isn't inherently risky in and of itself. The risk arises when an owner applies their skills and abilities to a particular company. Those skills and abilities can increase or decrease the risk involved for the individual owner.

Which of the 4 stages of the Hierarchy of Competence you start your business in has a HUGE influence on your success or failure.


As someone looking to start a business for the first time, you wouldn't expect to be an expert in your chosen field already. As you learn the ins and outs of any business, your skill level progresses from relative incompetence to highly competent. This progression all business owners go through has a name: The Hierarchy of Competence.

Stage 1

Everyone begins learning a new skill at the first stage: Unconscious Incompetence. At this stage, you have no idea that you are without the skills to complete the task at hand.

Rick Bisio in The Educated Franchisee uses swimming as an example. A great illustration of this phase would be a child on their first trip to the beach who cannot swim. They are overjoyed to be in the sand, soaking in all the new scenery, barreling toward the foamy waves, but they have no idea that acquiring the skill of swimming is imperative to their survival while in the ocean. This child may walk directly into the water without any fear or understanding, much to the horror of their parents.

The inexperienced, unsupported first-time business owner, like a small child, has little or no ability to understand the correct course of action or predict their results. The risk for anyone who starts a business at this stage is very high because they simply do not know what skills they need and the importance of having those skills.

Stage 2

The next stage is Conscious Incompetence. It's the most fearful stage for most. Just as that child quickly realized the power of ocean after charging into the water, you begin to understand all that you don't know. In recognizing your deficit, you feel uncertainty about the unknown, and you must gather a great deal of information and knowledge before moving on to the next stage.

In the Conscious Incompetence stage, you should be actively engaged in learning more about the type of business you feel would be a good fit for you before making any commitments. For example, learning all there is to know about the senior home care industry and what various franchise systems offer will be steps you will have to make to gain the confidence needed to keep moving forward.

Stage 3

With enough practice, you become Consciously Competent, like the child who returns home from the beach and embarks on swimming lessons. Now you start using the knowledge you have gained to take action.

The child we first saw rushing into the waves without abandon, only to be quickly overwhelmed by the power of the ocean, is now actively putting their newfound swimming skills to work at the pool. They followed a well-developed system that worked for many new swimmers before them, much like you can plug into a franchise business model and benefit from the success of others before you.

A new business owner at this stage has a very clear vision of what they must do every day and how executing those activities on a consistent basis leads to a return on their investment. You should also have a strong support system to coach and mentor you throughout this stage, and beyond.

If you could start your business in the unconsciously competent area, you would significantly lessen your risk, but that type of setup would take years of dedicated work to achieve on your own. Most folks researching franchise ownership are in the previous stage, the stage filled with the most fear and doubt. Unfortunately, most people stall out at this stage because it can be pretty terrifying! But stopping here means giving into fear and never giving your self a chance to succeed.

Stage 4

In the final stage of learning, you become Unconsciously Competent, and your skills and abilities naturally lead to continued success without you having to think much about it. As for the swimming child, he knows that water has some serious risks, but he can now relax at the beach and go for a nice swim with his friends. The business owner and the child have become comfortable with the risks involved and their considerable skills allow them to move forward unconsciously.

Focus on Actions, Not Fears

Partnering with a trusted franchise like Caring Senior Service can take you out of conscious incompetence and into conscious competence quickly because of the safety nets and well-developed plans we have created for you. Our time-tested business model can provide you with the skills and abilities you need to begin focusing on your actions, not your fears! Don't let fear of the unknown stop you from pursuing your dreams. Our team is always here to talk to you about navigating the risks of business ownership and about our extensive knowledge of the home care industry. Schedule a call today!

What do you have in common with our most successful franchise owners? Take the SpotOn! ASSESSMENT

Topics: Taking Risks

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