Before success comes in any man’s life, he’s sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps some failures. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and the most logical thing to do is to quit. That’s exactly what the majority of men do. -- Napoleon Hill
As an entrepreneur, you have to embrace risk, and be willing to fail and fall flat on your face, sometimes several times, to reach your goals. With every potential opportunity comes a potential risk, and those that understand this will succeed.
There is no fail-safe method or instant road to entrepreneurial success. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs got knocked down several times before eventually becoming successful. Why? Because they got back up every single time.
R.H. Macy had several failed retail ventures before he started R.H. Macy & Co., which later became Macy's, one of the largest department store chains in the world. What if he quit? What if he decided to play it safe after failing and he didn’t take that risk again? Can you even envision life without the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
Here are some things to consider before you take the entrepreneurial plunge and welcome risk with open arms.
Don’t be scared of changing the direction of your business. Some of the biggest brands would never be where they are today if they didn’t pivot because they saw an opportunity for something greater. Starbucks first sold coffee beans and espresso machines, but after Howard Schultz visited Italy he decided to brew and sell coffee instead.
Was it a risky move? Yes, but without this pivot there wouldn’t be a Starbucks on virtually every street corner today.
Understand the consequences. Every entrepreneur is going to have a different set of potential consequences to face if he or she fails. It is important to be fully aware of the risk associated with your specific situation. A 22-year old entrepreneuer right out of college and a middle-aged individual with children, a spouse, a mortgage and a stack of monthly bills are going to have two entirely different consequences if they fail.
Every single worthwhile opportunity in life has risk. Anyone that tells you something is “risk-free” is lying to your face. If there is a potential reward then you can bet the farm that there is risk associated with it.
Be a doer, not a dreamer. There are two types of entrepreneurs. Those that dream about accomplishing something and those that simply make it happen. Dreamers are scared to make moves because they sense the risk. A doer understands the risk involved, welcomes it and then conquers.
Emotions influence risk. Risk rises if decisions are based on emotions rather than research, data and facts. I recently consulted with a startup that was interested in some of the services my company provides, and when we audited their AdWords account we found that they were basing the direction of their pay-per-click campaign on what they “thought made sense” rather than using the actual data in the campaign. This emotional-based thinking resulted in wasted advertising spend, which increased the risk associated with their startup.
Risk is continuous and never-ending. That first decision to become an entrepreneur is a major risk, but even if you “make it” by your own definition, the risk isn’t suddenly eliminated. Being complacent can be the quick death of a business or opportunity. Development and growth require that you continue to take risks.
As an entrepreneur, have you welcomed risk with open arms or have you played it cautious? Let us know in the comments section below.