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Have No Fear

Our experts solve your start-up problems.

You've decided you're ready to become aggressive in [launching your business], developing new products and entering new markets. You have [been urged to take these risks] by your most valued advisors, but you are a conservative individual. How do you handle the anxiety of living with risk?

Roberto Goizueta, the late chairman of Coca-Cola, once said, "If you take risks, you may still fail; but if you do not take risks, you will surely fail. The greatest risk of all is to do nothing."

Recognize that few things in life come with guarantees. Overly cautious businesspeople waste a lot of resources trying to avoid risk. They would [do] better to learn how to minimize the adverse effects of risk.

*Establish cut-off points to indicate the limits beyond which you will not go.

*Maintain control by delegating risk and responsibility.

*If you encounter failure, take the responsibility for it, decide what went wrong and take the necessary corrective steps.

*Obtain the necessary financial and human resources to deal with risk by being willing to share the potential rewards with others.

*Reduce the intellectual and financial sides of risk by using other people's brains and other people's money.

*Never adopt the "I'll make this work if it kills me" attitude.

Instead of trying to avoid it, seek out risk. Weigh the possibilities for gains and losses. And when the odds seem to be in your favor, move boldly ahead.

Excerpted with permission from Roger Fritz's The Small Business Troubleshooter (Career Press, $16.99, 800-CAREER-1).

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This article was originally published in the March 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Have No Fear.

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