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The Game of Risk

.is part and parcel of being an entrepreneur. Make sure you know the rules of the game.

One of my co-workers just bought a house. A big, beautiful house with hardwood floors, a huge yard, a swingset for the kids and plenty of room to grow. He and his wife looked at it on Wednesday, put in an offer that very same day and found out the next evening that the house was theirs. Just like that. In a matter of hours, they were homeowners. Today he seemed to have to restrain himself from jumping up and down as he told me, "We got it."

The beauty of this situation is that they didn't hem and haw about whether they should buy this house-they just swallowed hard and did it. If they had waited around, someone else would have snatched it up in the blink of an eye. They knew that.

That kind of risk-taking is the best kind, because it's tempered by the knowledge that it's not a blind risk. In other words, my co-worker and his wife didn't just cover their eyes, point out a random house from the real estate pages of the newspaper and call up the seller to make an offer. They knew what they wanted in a home, they sought it out, they found it, they sized it up and they seized the day.

And that's the best way to start and run your business. Entrepreneurship is all about taking risks: You risk failure, you risk your sanity, you risk losing the support of loved ones who don't understand why you're devoting 18 hours a day to something that may or may not fly, to name a few. But if you take the time to research each decision you make along the way, there's a pretty good chance you'll succeed.

Going after what you want is always a good thing, as long as what you want is on the market. So take risks, yes, but take them wisely. Then you won't have any trouble saying, "I got it" on a regular basis.

Karen E. Spaeder is a freelance business writer in Southern California.

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