Risky Business: Are You Afraid of Taking Business Risks?

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Taking calculated business risks should pay off.

Are you afraid of taking business risks? If so, I can guarantee you’re not reaching your full potential. You know the cliché: the greater the risk, the greater the reward. In no realm is this more true than business. Companies that resist risks also resist growth. It’s one thing to be nervous about taking risks – that adrenaline can help you make better decisions, after all – but to be so afraid of risk that you refuse to take them is to essentially rest on your laurels and become stagnant.

And a stagnant business is a dying business. It’s just a matter of time before yours is buried by your competitors. Risk-taking competitors.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you take risks for the sole purpose of being risky. Your risks should be calculated, and the desired outcome (or reward) of any risk should align with your overall goals. Risks should reward, they should create opportunities, and they should foster growth and prosperity.

As a small business owner, it can be very easy to get comfortable with a routine that works. When you’re able to pay the bills and still enjoy some leisure time plus save for your future, you’ve done a good job, right?

Well, you’ve done a job. But most jobs would provide the same benefits. Why suffer all the challenges of entrepreneurship only to receive the same rewards you’d enjoy as a 9-to-5 employee?

You’re in business to achieve more than you could working for someone else. You’re in business for greater freedom, a better lifestyle, a better life. You shouldn’t be working more; you should be striving to work less by delegating – a risk many entrepreneurs struggle with.

There’s nothing wrong with being afraid to take risks, but there is something wrong with not being courageous enough to take risks despite your fear. Frame risk as opportunity with a positive reward no matter the outcome: if the risk pays off, you grow your business; if it does not, you’ve earned a valuable learning experience you can apply to grow your business in the future.

Right now, think of the dreams you had when you went into business. Evaluate where you are now, and what it will take to get there. Evaluate the risks involved, then determine how you can best position yourself to overcome the challenges of each. Then, start taking risks. It won’t be easy, but it will be necessary to achieve your dreams.

As Living Social’s Tim O’Shaughnessy says, “If you’re not nervous about one or two decisions every day, you probably aren’t trying hard enough.”

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