Entrepreneurs are risk takers

Young Pacific entrepreneurs during a meeting. Picture: FILE

An entrepreneur is someone who sees a new opportunity and creates a business or social enterprise to exploit it.

Throughout the Pacific are examples of young, and not so  young, entrepreneurs who have seen an opportunity to do something for themselves and grasped it with both hands.

In this series I am exploring what it means to be an entrepreneur in the Pacific. Today my focus is on risk. Entrepreneurs  take risks and not all risks work out well, so we have to learn to deal with failure and how to find the determination to keep going and try again.

Life is all about taking risks.

If you never take a risk, you will never achieve your dreams. Living with fear is one of the main things that stops us taking risks.

If you don’t go out on the branch you are never going to get the best fruit! Fear of what others might say is something many people have to overcome. Some people might be jealous of you, some might regret that they are not as strong as you, some might just be negative people. Take care not to let fear of what could happen, make nothing happen.

Nelson Mandela said: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.

The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”.

To take a risk you have to leave your comfort zone – this might be a physical place like your home, or a group of friends or regular routines or habits that you are used to. Comfort zones are very important to us – they are where we feel safe – but they can restrict us and prevent us from stepping out into the unknown. At the beginning take small steps. Try setting yourself something newto do every week, or someone new to talk to or a new place to visit.

You will soon stop being afraid and start to enjoy your new experiences!

Many people have commented that risk is not just part of life, it is life. The place between your comfort zone and your dream is where life takes place. It is also the high-anxiety zone but it is where you discover who you really are.

If you are considering larger risks which might be to do with money or land or property or people, get advice first. Talk to a business adviser or your coach.

They will help you assess the risk and compare the strengths and  weaknesses before you make the final decision.

Think about the potential consequences if a risky decision does not work out and then decide if you could live with them.

No change is not an option if you  are to be an entrepreneur – if you make no change to what you are currently doing then you will never achieve anything different.

The better planned you are the more able you will be to take risks and turn them into opportunities.

Cyclones are risks that face us all in the Pacific – some businesses prepare and survive. Others don’t!

Get to know other entrepreneurs; join a group of like-minded people; avoid negative comments on Facebook and elsewhere.

Think about when was the last time that you did something for the first time.

If you can’t remember, then maybe your life has become too comfortable!

Low self-confidence or self-esteem will make risk taking hard.

If you lack confidence, then try to seek help. Find a local life-coach or some form of support group  where you can get help to become more confident. Confidence levels will grow as you develop your skills, your knowledge and your experiences. Beware negative self-talk. Your mouth is very close to your ears so be careful what you say to yourself!

A good way to assess risk on a regular basis is to adopt a weekly period of reflection. Maybe on a Sunday afternoon, take the time to look back over the week just gone and ask yourself the following: what I have I learned this week; what have I done differently; if I had the week again is there anything I would change; what am I proud of; what mistakes have I made?

Then review the week ahead and try to identify at least one  small risk that you are prepared to take and get ready to take it. In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

Next week I will look at the resources we need to be successful entrepreneurs. If you need any contacts or advice then do get in touch.

I hope you enjoy this series. As always, please contact me if you have an interesting story to tell and are happy for it to be told.

  • Breadfruit Consulting (www.breadfruitconsulting.com) is a Vanuatu-based business providing advice, training, coaching, and mentoring to businesses throughout the Pacific islands. Breadfruit specialises in a range of business development activities including ‘business continuity planning and action’, helping businesses to survive in a crisis, designing and starting new, sustainable businesses. Contact  chris@breadfruitconsulting.com or hazel@breadfruitconsulting.com

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