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While playing it safe can occasionally bring some peace of mind, sometimes it’s necessary to take a risk. Don’t let your fear of failure prevent you from venturing out into uncharted territory; as long as you adequately prepare, your risks can pay off. When deciding whether or not to take a risk, this list may help you evaluate whether or not you’re prepared.
- Trust yourself. You’ve already taken one of the biggest risks of all, which is starting your own business. Now that you’re up and running, trust that you have the knowledge and skills to pursue your ultimate vision. If you find that you lack the self-confidence, identify your weaknesses and work on improving them through practice, research, and professional development. Others will find it hard to trust you if you don’t first trust yourself.
- Think creatively. Creative thinking comes more easily for some than it does for others. No matter where you fall on the creative spectrum, you can always push yourself to think outside the box. Sometimes all you need is a tiny nugget of an idea to inspire a completely original thought. Observe how others operate, take stock of what could be improved about your business, and being to formulate ideas from what you already know. Creative thinking takes practice, so work on it often.
- Know your field and product/service. A risky decision can quickly become an unwise one if you aren’t completely in the know about your industry as a whole or about the products/services you are offering. This is where the importance of professional development really comes into play. Attend industry conventions and workshops, conduct research, take a class at the local college, or consider finding a mentor. The more knowledge you have about your business, the more prepared you’ll be to assess your level of risk and decide whether or not to move forward.
- Implement a support system and seek expert advice. It’s always wise to bounce your ideas off other people. A fresh perspective may be all you need to consider a possibility you hadn’t previously thought of before. It’s also important to have people that believe in you, and are rooting for your success no matter what. So surround yourself with loyal and successful people in whom you can trust to give you smart advice and encouragement.
- Show courage. At the end of the day, it may just come down to whether or not you have the nerve to take a risk. Once you have done all the necessary preparation, tap into your inner hero. Take the calculated risk, knowing that you have done all you can to prepare, and with your eyes wide open. Showing courage in how you conduct business is a good leadership skill as well.
- Never give up. Took a risk that didn’t quite work out the way you had planned? Don’t just scrap it and move on. Analyze why it didn’t work out, how you could do it differently, and what is involved in starting over. Who is to say you can’t give it another shot? Persistence is an excellent quality to adopt as an entrepreneur.
- Don’t listen to negatives. Negative talk can undermine your self-confidence and ability to think clearly. If those negative comments are coming from others, separate yourself from such people. If this isn’t an option, make a conscious decision not to discuss your ideas with them. Sometimes negative talk comes from inside our own heads. Counteract negative self-talk by reading motivational books or making daily affirmations to build up your self-confidence. A healthy dose of self-esteem will improve your chances of success.
When contemplating taking a risk in your business, do your homework! Use your existing strengths and understand the potential benefits and challenges that come from taking the risk. Prepare yourself for worst-case scenarios and seek help when necessary. You may find that risk taking is the best thing you can do for your business.