By Suzanne Muusers

Life is risky. We are taught from an early age that taking a risk is dangerous and not always worth it. Raising your hand in class when you think you know the answer could pay off, or it could lead to being ostracized. Asking someone out on a date could lead to success or it could backfire.

Starting a business is risky. Seventy-five percent of businesses fail in the first five years. The causes are varied, but I believe it has much to do with how much risk the business owner is willing to take. I often meet entrepreneurs who are not willing to make the needed investments in their business that will ensure success. I make the case that successful, wealthy entrepreneurs are not afraid of risk and do what it takes to step out of their comfort zones to become the leaders of the pack.

What are some of the risks these folks are willing to take that help to score a home run? What are they are doing that contributes to profits, sales, and success?

1. Many have taken a risk by investing in a corporate identity that positions the company as a professional, successful entity. They have sharp business cards and stationary that tells prospects that they are open for business and are not running their business on a dime. Only one out of ten business owners I meet present me with a business card that can be called professional. All too often I see a business card that has been printed off their printer, or I notice a telltale “Free business cards at …” on the back of the card. I’ve been handed faded, wrinkled business cards that look like they have been through the wash from someone selling a dazzling line of jewelry. I’ve seen flimsy one-color cards that create visions of bland, uncreative marketing ideas from a marketing consultant. These individuals may be saving a buck but what they don’t realize is that their prospects have already written them off as “unsuccessful” or unprofessional because of their image.

2. Many have taken a risk by investing in being an expert in their field. They have taken extensive training and become certified in their industry. They are knowledgeable about the competition, the standards, and what’s next in their line of work. They regularly take seminars and workshops, subscribe to industry magazines, and read to improve their knowledge. When in a conversation with this type of business owner, you get the impression that they know what they’re talking about, are trustworthy, and capable. Prospects buy from people they know, like and trust.

3. Many have taken a risk by hiring professionals to help in their business. They hire attorneys to set up a corporation or limited liability company. They invest in marketing consultants to design and implement a professional marketing campaign. They hire CPA’s to advise them of current tax laws. They recognize that they will enjoy success much faster with help than on their own.

If you are risk averse, ask yourself the following questions:
How do I want to be perceived by my prospects?
What would I do if I was not afraid of risk and knew it would lead to success?
Do I want success faster and if so, am I willing to change some of my belief systems?

With risk comes reward. Always playing it safe it not a sign of a successful entrepreneur. Home runs don’t get hit if you’re sitting in the dugout. Resolve to take some risks in your life and your business and see yourself reap the rewards.

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