Is Starting a Small Business Risky?

“The only thing worse than starting something and failing is not starting something.” Seth Godin

For many people it is fear that stops them from starting a small business

If this describes you, then this is a good thing.

Why? Because now you know what you have to address. If the activity you are fearful of is starting your own business or becoming an entrepreneur then it is important to understand what the fear is. For most people it’s the unwillingness to take a risk.

When you start a small business (and they are all small businesses in the beginning) you will face risks. You risk failure. You risk embarrassment. You risk having to do things that will make you feel uncomfortable. You risk losing out on time spent with family or friends. You risk success and yes for many this is a real concern.

Why am I putting so much emphasis on “Risk”? Because it will actually serve you better to think in terms of risk rather than fear when starting a small business. While the reality is that risk and fear are related, fear has much greater stopping power. Look at any successful person in any activity. They faced risks and took them. Susan Jeffers wrote the famous book, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyways”. Another way to look at it is acknowledge the risk, assess the risk and take the risk because it’s necessary. This will actually reduce the fear attached to it. This will reduce the emotional impact of it.

We all take risks. Get in the habit of asking yourself, “What is the real risk?” Once you’ve identified it, it can put in into perspective. Often when you’ve separated the risk from the total umbrella of fear it loses some of it’s threatening power. Let’s say that the risk you’ve identified was making a follow-up call to someone you met at a networking event. What the real risk¬† or risks that making the call open you up to?

Scenario #1 The prospect answers the call. Scenario #2 The prospect doesn’t answer and your call goes through to voicemail.

In scenario #1 the risk might be that the prospect doesn’t remember you and you feel awkward or embarrassed. Or the prospect does remember you and now you clumsily try to explain why you called and you feel embarrassed and inept.

In scenario #2 the risk is that you now have to leave an answer that sounds professional and intelligent and you get tongue-tied and everything comes out wrong. Now you’re thinking that the prospect will be left with a negative opinion of you based on the clumsy message. The other risk could be that you do leave a message and the prospect chooses not to call you back and you’re left feeling ignored, rejected or foolish.

What should you do to minimize the risk?

First thing would be to ask yourself, “If this did happen, could I live with that result? Would it really be that dangerous or disastrous if it happened that way?” We both know the answer is going to be, “Yes.”

The second thing would be to practice the so called Risky activity several times until it simply becomes another item on the to-do list. A very successful Sales Person told me she once was afraid to call prospects. She decided she was going to replace fear with expectation. She had a list of prospects and started dialing with the intention of simply making the calls without worrying about the outcome of the calls. Her goal was to just make the calls, that’s all. She decided to risk any embarrassment and awkwardness and just call as many as she could. It was on her 70th call that she made a sale. And then 3 more in the next 10 calls.¬† Now she barely even thinks of making calls as being a risk.

We take risks everyday. I took a risk when I wrote and published this blog. You took a risk when you chose to invest your time to read it. Readers who leave comments risk engaging in a conversation with me or to have other readers not agree with their views.

Yes, starting a small business is risky but the rewards are worth it. And remember there is no such thing as;

 

risk_free

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