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Jul 20

Risk-Taking In The Real World

Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Dark Knight Rises opened last night. He’s a brave risk-taker.
But, I’m not a multimillionaire, so I’ll never be like Bruce Wayne.

The Amazing Spiderman opened a few weeks ago. He’s a brave risk-taker.
But, I’m not going to be bit by a radioactive spider, so I’ll never be like Peter Parker.

What kind of hero — what kind of bold, heroic, risk-taker — might you and I become?

Real World Heroes = Risk-Takers

Yesterday I had an hour-long conversation with a university professor who teaches potential risk-takers; she teaches entrepreneurship. It was a fascinating discussion about the challenges of taking great ideas and creating great opportunities.

The venture we were discussing seemed destined for success, but there were two critical missing pieces: sufficient finances and sufficient accountability.

I think that’s a model all of us can consider:
Great ideas + sufficient support + sufficient accountability = great opportunities

A car you “love” and can afford, but your mechanic hasn’t approved of…
may not be a great risk to take.
A guy you “love” and “makes you happy”, but your best friend hasn’t approved of…
may not be a great risk to take.
A new apartment you “love”, with rent you can afford, but your roommate hasn’t approved of, may not be a great risk to take.

You can choose wisely. Wise people allow other wise people to hold them accountable.

R.I.S.K. Rewards Risk-Takers

Returning to the R.I.S.K. acronym I introduced yesterday, I try to reduce the number of “that was stupid” moments by being accountable to choose risks that are:
R = Reasonable
I = Inquisitive
S = Smart
K = Knowledgeable

But, often times that knowledge comes through failed efforts.

According to, Harvard researchers studied why businesses succeed and fail.  They found that experienced entrepreneurs succeed more than first time entrepreneurs, even if their first effort failed.

If you’re a first time entrepreneur you face a hard road.
– First-time entrepreneurs have only an 18% chance of success.
– Entrepreneurs who previously failed have a 20% chance of success.
– Those who previously had success have a 30% chance of succeeding again.

Failure is not the end-game, if lessons have been learned.

Your Risks

If you’re thinking of taking your own risks — starting a business, a non-profit, a theater troupe, a music production company, etc. — here are 25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs by James Stephenson

25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

1. Do what you enjoy.
2. Take what you do seriously.
3. Plan everything.
4. Manage money wisely.
5. Ask for the sale.
6. Remember it’s all about the customer.
7. Become a shameless self-promoter (without becoming obnoxious).
8. Project a positive business image.
9. Get to know your customers.
10. Level the playing field with technology.
11. Build a top-notch business team.
12. Become known as an expert.
13. Create a competitive advantage.
14. Invest in yourself.
15. Be accessible.
16. Build a rock-solid reputation.
17. Sell benefits.
18. Get involved.
19. Grab attention.
20. Master the art of negotiations.
21. Design Your workspace for success.
22. Get and stay organized.
23. Take time off.
24. Limit the number of hats you wear.
25. Follow-up constantly.

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