Does Starting a Business Feel Too Risky to You?

When Darcy Blake, at the age of 15, walked into a radio station in Bismarck, North Dakota, she already knew she wanted to be a television or radio reporter. She took a risk and asked if she could spend some time learning from them. The news director promptly sent her to City Hall to cover a council meeting—with instructions to call him as soon as the meeting was over. As instructed, Blake took copious notes and called when the meeting finished. Over the phone, she explained that the council had approved a major zoning measure.

As she was driving home, she turned on the radio and heard herself on the air! Her bold actions launched her 35-year broadcast career!

And Blake’s risk taking didn’t end there. Fast forward to 2008. A tanking economy and her hefty broadcast salary led to her ceremonious “retirement” and her next venture: Starting her own successful ad agency with a friend.

opportunityBlake learned early to see risk as an opportunity for development, rather than in the negative way that makes it stressful and frightening.

Entrepreneurship comes with risk. Anyone who starts a business must be willing to take measured risks in order to achieve rewards. For women, the added long-held stereotype of being more risk or loss averse than their male counterparts, gives even more weight to the potential risk, sometimes making it an overwhelming barrier to starting a business.

It’s time to rethink risk and use it to push us forward!

“Fear is a natural part of risk. Successful entrepreneurs know how to use that fear to their advantage,” suggests Elisabete Miranda, owner of CQ fluency, a cultural and translation communications company.

She agrees that a more bold approach—a willingness to take risks—is a nearly universal trait among entrepreneurs. “Starting a new business has its inherent dangers, and entrepreneurs who want to succeed need to know how to take calculated risks and effectively monitor results while making informed choices and relying on data and facts in addition to gut instincts. This approach plays a major factor in business and financial success.”

starting a businessNow consider the possible risks of your budding business and the areas where you feel less sure of your own abilities.

Are there skills you need to acquire to implement your business idea?

Are there areas where bringing in outside expertise would be beneficial?

While there is no guaranteed roadmap to new business success, there are many things you can do to make smart business decisions and increase opportunities. Thoughtful and careful planning will most certainly mitigate some of the risk.

There will also be inevitable mistakes along the way—we all make them. Don’t let the occasional setback be an excuse to give up. Learn from them and move on. Because, guess what? One of the surest ways to mitigate risk is by being tenacious, working hard, persevering and rolling with the punches.

You’ve got to have grit!

How comfortable are you with the risk of starting a business? By taking a closer look at where the risks are you can begin to plan for and minimize them. Also consider the benefits of taking risks. See them as a driver—pushing you forward.

This article is the fourth in a series written to help women entrepreneurs like you take a closer look at what’s keeping you from moving forward, overcome doubts and understand the fundamentals and the mindset needed to help make you successful. They are not designed to help you build your financials or create your marketing plan, but rather to prod you to think bigger … and begin thinking with the mindset of an entrepreneur. They will appear on our blog:  and in our free monthly professional women’s newsletter which you can subscribe to:

If you missed our first three articles, read them here:

  1. Women Entrepreneurs: What’s Keeping You From Starting the Business of Your Dreams
  2. Creating the Mindset for Success as a Female Entrepreneur
  3. 7 Questions to Ponder Before You Start a New Business

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