Risk-taking has become a reflex to entrepreneurs. In almost every stage in the business journey, there’s a gamble they need to make. At the start, there’s the pivotal point of leaving a stable job with a steady paycheck and test a new, untried business idea. Then, there’s the decision to trust a new partner or an investor. Later on, there’s the opportunity to explore a different industry or expand the product line. And then comes the need to relinquish control and pass the baton to the next leader.
If you’re aspiring to become a successful entrepreneur, you need to learn how to approach these different shades of gambles. Here are some lessons about risk-taking that can help in your journey:
1. Uncertainties are part of the reality of doing business
You simply can’t avoid risks, precisely because they’re inherent and essential in business. Without uncertainties, there can never be opportunities for exploration. If there are no such opportunities, then there’s no growth. Taking risks is most important in fast-paced industries, like the food business, where preferences and tastes change quickly. The hungry market goes to businesses who fill the gaps of uncertainties.
Of course, it’s a fact that risks make people uncomfortable. Naturally, people would want as much control as they can over situations. That’s why the key to overcoming the fear of taking risks is to acknowledge the fact that uncertainties are the norm in business, that there’s simply no other way. If you can embrace this wholeheartedly, you’ll grow more comfortable in taking risks.
2. There’s a smart way to take risks
Contrary to popular opinion, taking risks in the business isn’t like jumping off a cliff and never knowing what’s on the other side. Seasoned entrepreneurs know how to take risks intelligently. The basic principle in managing risks is to find opportunities where if you fail, you would only lose some, but if you succeed, you could gain more. You can only do that when you plan carefully.
For instance, in the food industry, before starting a sandwich business or opening a cafe, it’s a standard business principle to do your homework — knowing as much as you can about the market, testing products, exploring different locations, etc. When you have more information in your hands, you’re not only building up your confidence in taking such a risk, but you’re increasing your chances for success and making this risk worth it.
3. Taking risks is contagious
It’s a fact that the more risk-takers you have in your social circle, the easier you adapt to that kind of thinking and attitude. When you’re building your team or finding mentors, always look for people who embrace uncertainties.
If you don’t know where to start, take inspiration from what most starting entrepreneurs do today: franchising. They choose to be a franchisee, not only because it’s a smart way to take the risk of starting a business, but also because they could learn how franchisors and their co-franchisees took risks and are continually taking risks in their business journey.
There’s no doubt about it, risks are the only thing permanent in the business life. If you don’t want to be left behind by the fast-paced industry, be comfortable with embracing uncertainties.