The 12 Steps to Entrepreneurial Success: Recognize The Risk
By Dr Paul E Adams | January 31, 2002
"As far as I am concerned, nothing is worth going broke for." - ." Warren Avis, founder Avis Car Rental
It is wise to ask yourself before committing your money, your lifestyle, and your future, to a new business: "If things don't work out, can I afford the risk?" Many sorry individuals in their haste to make a quick fortune have confused entrepreneurship with gambling. Remember the phase of a decade ago: "Do your own thing." Not always great advice, as jumping into a risky business venture may be: "Doing your own thing with disaster."
If you are debating taking the plunge, and you have a sound and fiscally conservative proposal- do it. Nevertheless, don't risk everything unless you are in your 20s or 30s. If you do fail at those ages, don't worry, you will have time to recover and even try it again. There are tales of successful business owners who failed more than once, but finally rose from the ashes to found a fortune. Firestone and Ford are two such examples of individuals who knew how to balance risk with determination.
The gray area for starting a business occurs when you are in your forties. Middle age may bring the most financially demanding period of your life with mortgage payments, college tuition and retirement savings. How much risk you are willing to handle will be a difficult decision for you. The choice between employee and employer may be a tough call. If you do opt to have your own business, prudence and family support are the underpinnings you will need to survive.
However, if you are age 50 or so, time is definitely against you if you fail. You may not recover your financial health. To my middle-aged and senior friends, I say, be cautious, careful, and conservative. Old age and poverty are not an enjoyable lifestyle.
Here is a poor example of my style of risk management. I love the game of black jack, but rarely do I bring home a wad of winnings from Atlantic City's casinos. I guess it is my risk aversion approach to gambling. I rarely let my winnings ride, I never hit above 13, and I never split. I usually win modest amounts, but on an hourly basis, I would make more money waiting tables. I understand business risk, but not gambling. How do you manage risk, are you rash or conservative? Your behavior can reveal clues to your possible business success.
If you are not sure about starting a business, here is a suggestion with modest risk. Rent a stall at your local flea market. It is a low risk and easy way to test the water. I wrote a column on the topic a few months ago and if you wish, I will send it to you. A flea market business allows you to gain the experience of running your own business plus finding out if entrepreneurship is for you. It will test your money and management skills. If you don't like it, or can't hack it, dump the inventory and call it quits, your losses will be minor at worst.
Just as you have no difficulty in understanding the risk when you buckle your seat belt, ask yourself the question financial advisors tout; "Can I lose it all and maintain my lifestyle?" Yet, there are opportunities that come along that may require you to "bet it all" if so, do a complete analysis, watch out for dreaming, and don't confuse negative thinking with turning down a bad deal. Moreover, get some opinions from successful business owners, as most can spot a risky deal or idea in a moment.
Step 1. Understanding Yourself
Step 2. Getting Things Done
Step 3. Apply Yourself- Don't Be Lazy
Step 4. The Importance of Getting Organized
Step 5. Keep Your Emotions in Check
Step 6. Learn to Say No
Step 7. Practice the "Golden Rule" in all of Your Affairs.
Step 8. Avoid the Perils of Expansion
Step 9. If You Want Success Ask for it. And Keep Asking.
Step 10. Manage Your Money- Your Most Important Asset.
Step 11. Recognize The Risk
Step 12. A Sure Way to Fail: Quit too Soon!
The Twelve Affirmations to Success