Embrace the Unknown: 3 Ways to Get Over the Fear of Taking Risks in Business

Man holding tablet while sitting on the sofa

Man holding tablet while sitting on the sofa

When you’re just starting out in business, there’s a lot of new things you have to deal with — crunching the numbers, presiding the meetings, talking to investors, etc. Perhaps the most overwhelming and unfamiliar is taking risks, precisely because it’s dealing with the overwhelmingly unfamiliar unknowns. Yet for sure, you know that this habit is the only way to push the business closer to success. Without it, your venture will remain stagnant or worse, fail quickly. If you’ve been feeling jittery over taking risks, here are some strategies to get over your fear:

Start with small risks.

Confidence in taking risks doesn’t happen overnight; it happens on a gradual basis — in tiny, solid steps. Don’t be pressured into making big, new changes in your business life. Instead, start small.

Find opportunities where you can flex your risk-taking muscle freely, where the costs of possible failure won’t be that significant in terms of finances and emotions. An example will be taking out a business loan of a minimal amount or investing in an already-established business, like a franchise.

The more you embrace risks, the more skilled and comfortable you become at it over time. Plus, if you gain some wins in these opportunities, they will serve as reminders of how far you’ve gone in the business journey, motivating you to press on. Again, see out as many risks as you can to build your confidence.

Plan for success.

At the root of the fear of taking risks is the fear of failure. People simply don’t want to gamble because there’s the possibility of losing in the end. But, here’s the thing, there’s a way to prevent failure and bounce back from it: a good plan.

Before you take the plunge at anything in your business, you must have a solid strategy as to how you can drive it to success. Taking the example above, if you’re applying for a loan, your primary game plan here is to cut costs and boost sales. In cutting costs, you can perhaps work in a co-working space, rather than rent out an entire office.

In boosting sales, you can create an army of repeat clients by offering discounts on services. For the other example mentioned, let’s say you’re exploring landscaping franchise opportunities, then your success plan here is to research. See the business models of different brands so you can home in on the best, most promising option. The bottom line is for every business endeavor, have a plan for success.

Ask for help.

Handing out a business card

Another reason people hesitate when taking risks is their lack of expertise. It makes sense: If you’re not that good at something, it’s difficult to be confident at your decisions. Even if you’re not an expert at sales or research, there are lots of people who are — some are on your team, in fact.

Don’t keep the risks to yourself. Resist the urge of doing everything. Ask advice from your employees and make the most of their talents and skills. Trust their insights and more importantly, don’t underestimate the power of seeking help from outside sources, like local business communities, industry thought leaders, or mentors. Consult them as well.

Taking risks is a huge part of business life. Without it, your venture is headed for a painful decline. So, embrace the unknowns in your journey. Do it with confidence and no fear.