Starting and growing a business involves a lot of risk. Taking risks is not a really comfortable experience, especially when you are in startup mode. In this article, I share 7 smart tips on how to become comfortable taking risks as an entrepreneur.
Risk is defined as “exposure to the chance of injury or loss, a hazard or dangerous chance.”
An entrepreneur is defined as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”
As you can see, it's impossible to be an entrepreneur without taking some risks. That’s a lot of what being an entrepreneur is about. If you want to start a business, you should know that you are going to have to stretch your risk-taking muscle quite a lot. I'm not talking about being stupid, but getting very comfortable being uncomfortable.
Most people I know, are not crazy about taking risk. Their brains are more wired to avoid loss than to take risks. However, successful entrepreneurs know the difference between stupid and smart risk. Once they have enough data, they jump and believe the net will appear.
Here are 7 ways to help you take smart risks and make wise decisions:
1. Acknowledge your fears. The first step you must take to get out of your comfort zone is to acknowledge your fears. Write down everything that makes you anxious and prevents you from achieving your dreams and goals. Think about how your life would be different if you were able to eliminate your fears and anxieties. This will open you up to a whole new world of opportunities.
2. Analyze your inner circle. Most of us have a group of friends whom you are comfortable being around and enjoy being with. As nice as that is, make sure you are surrounding yourself with motivated and positive people who encourage you to take risks. Hanging around people doing big things, will encourage you to do the same. It's difficult to fly with the eagles if you spent all your time with chickens.
3. Think BIG...start small. Each small win encourages you to take on a bigger challenge. The confidence that builds with little victory empowers you to set a bigger goal the next time. Have big dreams but set small realistic goals to prevent burnout and then progressively work your way up. This also helps avoid a devastating crash early on, that may hinder or even prevent you from ever taking risk in the future.
4. Never stop learning. Knowledge is a powerful tool that will helps eliminate a lot of the risks when launching a new enterprise. We all prefer to learn in different ways. If you don’t like reading then listen to podcasts. Find out what you want to improve at and make it a priority to become the best you can be at it. Set a goal to learn a new language or hobby. I have learned several languages and got a helicopter pilot license while running a number of businesses at the same time. Get knowledge.
5. Don't over-analyze. Spontaneity is a great trait to have that will get you out of your comfort zone on a daily basis. I know people who spend more time planning a 2-week vacation than it takes me start a new business. When I think of all the great opportunities I would have missed if I had said 'Let me think about it' it makes me glad that I don't spend a ridiculous amount time to analyse each decision I make. Pray for wisdom. Then make quick decisions. Life is a lot more fun that way!
6. Learn to say 'So what?". I have failed more times than most people I know. I have also won more times than most. That's just the way it is....nothing ventured nothing gained. There is no chance of success if there is no risk of failure. What has helped me make the leap many times is simply this: I ask myself 'what is the worst thing that could happen' then I ask myself the question 'so what?' Once I have wrapped my head around the worst case scenario, I am ready to go.
7. Set your priorities. There are some things you should never risk. Those are things like a home for your family to live in. Some risks are just plain stupid. Mortgaging the family home to invest in a risky venture could be one of those stupid risks. List your priorities and risk those of lowest value to you first. Stupid risk can cause divorce and even a failure of your health. Don't risk your health to get wealth and then be willing to give up your wealth to get back your health. That's just stupid!
Ben Kubassek is an international expert on social entrepreneurship, author, and speaker. He’s on a mission to help young people in developing countries launch their own businesses in order to create jobs and bring transformation to their communities.
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