4Jan
Photo of road sign with words Risks Ahead

Using Risk To Sharpen Your Entrepreneurial Aptitude

Photo of road sign with words Risks Ahead

Sometimes, I wonder whether I’ll ever see the day I don’t get a pit in my stomach when I’m closing a deal, funding a business, selling a company or making some other decision with serious financial ramifications. I’m no risk-taking fool who throws caution to the wind…


I’m a decision maker. I pull the trigger and get rolling once I feel good about a direction.

Let Risk be a Motivator

One of the primary characteristics of a successful entrepreneur is the willingness to pull the trigger on a decision – even if the decision is a “no.”

More and more of my friends and business associates are trying to get something off the ground right now. Whether it’s buying a rental property, investing in a business, starting a new company or changing careers, they talk about it a lot. And that’s the problem – there’s not much action.

Perhaps these friends and associates just like being able to say “I have a company…” at a dinner party, or maybe they enjoy rubbing elbows with successful investors. But if they ever want to be successful, they need to learn to live with risk. And so do you. You can use risk as a motivator, something to keep you sharp and focused.

If you had nothing to lose, would you really pay attention?

Real Entrepreneurs Take Action

Do yourself a favor today. Take this simple entrepreneurial acid test: Are you willing to make a decision that is followed by direct financial action in the next six months? If not, then you are too put off by risk to become an entrepreneur!

Put down the business plan and step away from the spreadsheet, you aren’t cut out for this stuff.

Stay Focused on Success

Now here’s my disclaimer. There are exceptions to every rule. Some great companies have festered within people for many years. But if you keep going from idea to idea, investment to investment, company to company and you just can’t pull the trigger, then you are not an entrepreneur.

I’m not trying to be negative. I am trying to spur you into action! Sometimes it takes getting called a few names before you fight back. Let’s get ready to rumble!

Are you a decision maker? How comfortable are you with taking risks?

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About Alex Lawrence

Alex has been a successful entrepreneur for 20+ years. His current venture Lendio ranks #34 on the Inc. 500 list. Alex earned a BS degree at the University of Utah and his MBA at Weber State University, where he is Vice Provost and Director of the Entrepreneurship Program. If you want to talk with Alex about business and entrepreneurship (or other questions), email him (alex AT startupflavor DOT com), or you can find him on Twitter @_AlexLawrence.
  • http://dustinnay.com Dustin Nay

    This post somewhat inspired me to write my own, on a somewhat related topic, and Alex told me to go ahead and share that here:

    http://www.dustinnay.com/business/success-or-bust-the-truth-about-entrepreneurship/

    I’m actually dealing with a partner right now who has income somewhere else, and so really isn’t risking anything and doesn’t have the same sense of urgency that I do. It’s quite unnerving, and I may be ending that relationship (speaking of posts– partnerships was your post today, Alex!). Haha– any tips on breaking up with a partner?

    But in all seriousness: I think the risk factor for so many people is crucial! If one of your partners isn’t really willing to take that leap, then maybe they shouldn’t be helping you, because in the long run, it may not be to your advantage. Les Brown said if we’re truly improving ourselves and our quality of life, we should be in a “continual state of discomfort.” I think there’s some truth to that.

    Thanks for the great post, Alex. I subscribed to your RSS probably 6 months ago and read everything you post… (I’m one of those silent lurkers who doesn’t say much). :)

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