Understand the difference for a better chance at success.
Being an entrepreneur involves putting yourself out the in world. They risk their idea with the intentions of changing for the better. When you put yourself out there by default there are risks involved. You don’t get the desired outcome, waste money and resources along with time. However, a successful entrepreneur take risks but isn’t foolish to gamble with his future. There is a crucial difference between the two.
Risks are part of running a business. By definition it means uncertainty of return and potential loss, loss of time, energy and money. Entrepreneurs take risk with the team they surround themselves with, with the brand positioning. They risk reaching the desired goal with the decisions they make. Achieving success in business involves someone taking a courageous stand for something they believe in. Taking a chance that the idea wills change the world for the better. All decisions take into consideration that tomorrow will be better than today.
Gambling on the other hand is putting it all the line over a chance. I am not a fan of chance. I don’t like putting it all on the line with the hope. Hope in this case is not a smart strategy. A successful entrepreneur usually never put anything on the line they are not willing to lose. This is the small but vital difference between the two.
A successful entrepreneur will never put anything on the line they are not willing to lose.
Definition of risk
For everybody their definition of risk is different. If an offline business wants to venture in the online space, take the financial risk of hiring the expert. If it is too much financial pressure, take a risk with an amateur. It will come with less financial pressure. When there is no budget, think outside the box. Barter the services you offer for the ones you need. Risk you service for theirs. Finally, when all options are exhausted, Google and free content on the subject can come into play. Learn and test to see what works best for you.
Risks are not something entrepreneurs love, but they want to see their projects come to life more. My mentor, Gary Vaynerchuck said in an episode of #TheAskGaryVee Show,”I always, always, always, dramatically value reward over risk.” He is willing to bet on a few things but look at the overall impact. He also bets on the person willing to execute on their vision, so far I think has played out well for him.
Entrepreneurs are willing to undertake the bumpy road to success. If you are not willing to take risks in your business you are no longer an entrepreneur but a business owner. You default to protection over growth. I am convinced that in time you will lose the advantage you have. It is just the nature of business. The ones who succeed are the ones who are willing to go the extra mile, invest and stay ahead of the curve.
A good way to assess if you take risks for your business is looking at the past. The question I would ask is, what is the 1 thing you are currently doing not present in your strategy 3, 6, 9 months ago. It doesn’t need to be in the entire business, but a segment. Acting on your small business idea as a side project? Experimenting with a new Facebook strategy? Exploring Instagram and understanding ways to deliver native content on it? Risk here, means focusing on growth, focusing on sustainable success.
If risk is too dangerous a word for you, replace it with experiment. This way if you are worried about reputation and it fails, you and your team know it was an experiment. No harm, no loss. If you succeed on the other hand, then it is worth it and you can carry on more confidently.
An entrepreneur knows they are in business for the long term. Hence, never gamble and put more on the line than they are willing to lose. Just because a gambler puts everything on the line, doesn’t mean entrepreneurs who don’t value the outcome less. It just means that they are more strategic about the way they achieve their goals. One round of funding doesn’t go their way, they work and get the feedback and implement it. But when you are in business for a quick exit you think about the money, and if you don’t get the funding the first round give up or lose the will to go on. By this, it seems like if you take the risks you want it more than when you gamble your way.
A gambler puts everything on the line, the idea, himself and his surroundings. Famously, in Indian mythology is Yudhishthira put the kingdom, himself, his brothers and wife on the line over a roll of dice.
Almost all major business decision carry with them inherit risk. The idea behind taking risks isn’t to let ego or testosterone get the better of us. It is to minimise the chance of someone winning on pure luck. Therefore, be willing to experiment with various outcomes. Continuing with experiments, I love this story of Nathalie Miller. It beautifully shows her journey, the emotions, risks and rewards along with the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. Risking leaving her job, to follow her passion, but not gambling her future away. Making the tough call and knowing when to shift focus of her passion from full time to a side project.
With risk comes the ability to learn and therefore improve. With gamble you either make it or you are out. Think about the outcome and choose wisely.