📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Debunking 4 Common Misconceptions About Boldness in the Business World In business, we often hear the word "bold." It paints a picture of a brave person taking big steps and making tough decisions. But what does being "bold" in business really mean?

By Leigh Burgess Edited by Chelsea Brown

Key Takeaways

  • Here's what being bold in business truly means and how it is different from simply taking risks.
entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the realm of business, few terms capture the imagination quite like "boldness." Entrepreneurs and established business leaders alike are often told that being bold is the ticket to success. But what does it really mean to be bold in the world of business? It's easy to mistake boldness for mere risk-taking or to believe it's reserved for the startup world, where every move can make or break a company. However, true boldness is more nuanced, encompassing decision-making, innovation, speed, inherent traits and collaboration.

Before diving deeper into the intricacies of business strategies, it's essential to dispel some myths about boldness. In this article, we'll dissect the concept, aiming for a clearer understanding of what it truly means to be bold and how it can be harnessed effectively in any business environment. True leadership recognizes that audacity is as much about preparation as it is about action.

Related: The Benefits of Bold Leadership and How Leaders Can Develop a Bold Mindset

1. Dissecting boldness and risk

The world often romanticizes the idea of the "fearless" entrepreneur who takes enormous risks and subsequently reaps enormous rewards. This narrative pushes the belief that boldness and high risk are synonymous. However, genuine boldness in business decisions is not about throwing caution to the wind. Instead, it's about being assertive and confident in one's decisions, especially when those decisions are rooted in solid data, careful analysis and keen insight. Truly bold moves are often the product of meticulous planning, understanding potential outcomes and calculating potential setbacks.

They strike a balance between courage and caution. Embracing and understanding fear, rather than denying it, is the cornerstone of truly bold actions in business. Daring decisions are made with a vision, fueled by insight and backed by informed confidence. The difference between recklessness and boldness is the depth of knowledge and the clarity of vision.

In movies and stories, the brave businessperson is often shown as someone who jumps into situations without thinking too much and then finds success because of that bravery. It's like they're suggesting that if you're bold, you don't need to plan or think things through. But in real life, being bold in business doesn't mean acting without thinking. Real boldness is like a tightrope walker who practices for hours, ensuring each step is precise. They might seem fearless to us, but they have prepared and know exactly what they're doing. Similarly, when a business leader makes a bold move, it's after lots of research, advice from experts and careful thought about the pros and cons. They aren't just hoping for the best, they have planned for success.

2. The startup misconception

A closely related misconception is that only startups, with their agile nature, are the ones making these so-called "bold" moves. The belief is that established companies, with their foundations and reputations, have more at stake and thus are more conservative in their approach. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Boldness is not restricted by the age or size of a company. In fact, for many established companies, the pursuit of innovation and the courage to adapt to changing market dynamics are what keep them relevant and competitive. They too need bold strategies to navigate the ever-evolving business landscape. It's not about the age of the company, but the mindset with which it operates.

When we think of established businesses, images of towering skyscrapers, legacy brands and decades-old institutions might come to mind. It's easy to assume that these titans of industry, having weathered numerous storms, would adopt a "play it safe" mantra. After all, they have reputations to maintain and legacies to protect. However, this mindset can be a trap. In reality, regardless of a company's stature or age, stagnation is one of the most significant threats. The business world is dynamic, and resting on past laurels can quickly render a company obsolete. Just as startups need to innovate to break into the market, established companies need to continuously evolve to stay in it. Take Netflix, for instance. Once a simple DVD rental service, it pivoted and embraced the world of online streaming, transforming into a global entertainment behemoth.

Related: How to Develop Bold, Assertive Self-Confidence — Your Power Tool for Success in Life and Business

3. Speed doesn't always equal boldness

Another common misconception in the business world equates boldness with speed. There's a prevailing thought that quick decisions, rapid pivots and immediate actions are markers of a bold entrepreneur or a daring company. While agility and adaptability are indeed valuable traits, especially in a fast-paced market, boldness isn't merely about velocity. At its core, boldness is about impact. Some decisions, even if they're groundbreaking or game-changing, require careful contemplation, research and planning. The true measure of a bold move isn't how quickly it's made, but how profoundly it affects its intended target, whether that's a company's internal culture, its market position or the industry at large.

This perspective arises from the idea that swift action is indicative of confidence, that it showcases a leader's ability to adapt quickly to evolving circumstances. Boldness isn't always about the speed of a decision, but its depth and impact. Bold decisions are made with a vision, fueled by insight and backed by informed confidence. The boldest moves are often the result of a meticulous play between intuition and information. Audacity is not just about momentum, but direction — not just about speed, but destination.

Many transformative actions in business history resulted from extensive contemplation and patience. Bold leaders understand that some choices need time to be refined, their implications fully understood and their potential impact thoroughly assessed. A decision's true boldness is defined by its lasting effects on an organization or industry, not merely the speed at which it was made.

4. Bold leadership and the power of collaboration

There's an age-old image of the bold leader, a solitary figure, paving their unique path, guided solely by their instincts. Such tales have perpetuated the myth that to be bold, a leader must go it alone. In reality, some of the most groundbreaking decisions arise from collaboration and a collective effort to address the biggest challenges. Bold leadership often entails recognizing the limits of one's knowledge and expertise and being open to collaboration above competition for the greater good. True boldness in business recognizes that in unity, there is innovation, and in collaboration, there is strength.

The most successful leaders are those who understand the value of diverse perspectives, who aren't afraid to seek advice and who realize the strength in strategic partnerships. They know that being bold can sometimes mean pooling resources, knowledge and expertise. In today's interconnected business landscape, collaboration isn't just beneficial, it is often essential for groundbreaking innovations and strategies. Being truly bold means acknowledging that the collective, at times, may be able to see farther than the individual.

As the business world evolves, our understanding of concepts like boldness must also transform. True boldness in business is multifaceted, encompassing not just risk-taking, but strategic planning, continuous learning and effective collaboration. By challenging traditional notions and embracing a more nuanced view, leaders can harness genuine boldness to drive their businesses forward in meaningful and impactful ways. Let's get #bold!

Related: The Boldness of Business: 3 Rare Ways to Turn Courage Into Success

Leigh Burgess

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO & Founder Bold Industries Group, Inc.

Leigh Burgess is an entrepreneur and manifesting generator taking “big swings of bold” to solve problems for good. An Author, Strategist, Podcaster, Speaker, Lover of Music and Dogs, and your Chief Advocate to Boldly Achieve Your Goals.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It's a 'Full Hustle' Earning Over $20 Million a Year: 'Jump in With Both Feet'

Achal Patel and Russell Gong met at a large consulting firm and "bonded over a shared vision to create a mission-led company."

Business News

These Are the 10 Most Profitable Cities for Airbnb Hosts, According to a New Report

Here's where Airbnb property owners and hosts are making the most money.

Side Hustle

How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Successful Business

A hobby, interest or charity project can turn into a money-making business if you know the right steps to take.


Want to Be More Productive? Here's How Google Executives Structure Their Schedules

These five tactics from inside Google will help you focus and protect your time.

Starting a Business

This Couple Turned Their Startup Into a $150 Million Food Delivery Company. Here's What They Did Early On to Make It Happen.

Selling only online to your customers has many perks. But the founders of Little Spoon want you to know four things if you want to see accelerated growth.