Becoming a successful entrepreneur isn’t just about following the same logical path that has been followed by all those who came before you. If you’re truly going to experience the success you’re hoping for; you’ll have to take risks along the way. Successful entrepreneurship means breaking with long-held tradition, often requiring you to ignore advice from friends and loved ones who are convinced that they are helping you succeed. Taking risks safely, however, can reshape your future and enable you to do more with your life than you dreamed possible. These risk-taking tips will help you become a successful entrepreneur in Asia, taking your business further than you previously imagined.
Be Willing to Step Outside Your Culture
Many Asian cultures face one certain problem when it comes to entrepreneurship: a large percentage of the population simply hasn’t been taught how to think creatively. Eighty-five percent of the participants in the focus group of one key study felt that the education system in Singapore–and therefore the resulting students–were left-brained and textbook-oriented. As a result, many individuals from this culture struggle with creative problem solving, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
When you decide to step out as an entrepreneur, you must be willing to challenge social norms and accomplish something unique. Your values–family; hard work; caring for those who are less fortunate–need not change. Instead, it requires a shift in thinking from following a predetermined blueprint to taking your own path. This decision may be difficult, but by sticking to it, you’ll discover that you’re able to accomplish something incredible. You’ll find that there are many different types of entrepreneurs, from the young, brash graduate who is outspoken and ready to take on the world to the quieter entrepreneur who is willing to let his actions speak for himself. Be willing to discover who you are and how you will work toward your future accomplishments.
Look Toward the Future
When you’re considering a risk, don’t ask yourself how it’s going to play out in the next year. Look further forward: five years, ten years, even fifteen years or more will give you a better idea of what kinds of returns are available. Worldwide, approximately ninety percent of businesses don’t survive ten years. While Asia is currently one of the best places in the world to start a business, it’s still important to keep that future-minded perspective. Consider what your risks will look like for your future and the future of your business. In many cases, this can put your risk analysis into perspective and make it easier to make the smart choice for your business.
Align Risks with Your Goals
In 7 Simple Ways to be a More Successful Entrepreneur, we took a look at setting SMART goals and how they can change your ability to launch your business successfully. Risks that align with your goals are reasonable and can help push your business toward success. If the risk isn’t in line with your current goals, it’s likely that this risk is not for you at this time. Be willing to let opportunities that don’t align with your goals pass by untouched. When you’re focused on the goals that shape your business, you can more easily choose the opportunities that are worth pursuing and feel little regret over the ones that you can’t pursue.
Make a Plan
Risk-takers often find themselves experiencing big losses instead of the big gains they were hoping for. For entrepreneurs who want to be successful, it’s important to decrease that risk at the front end, during the planning stage. Leonard C. Green, a professor at Babson College, calls it calculated risk taking. Calculated risks have a number of key elements:
- They’re taken in small steps, rather than rushing in all at once. As a result, each risk is smaller, rather than committing everything on a throw of the dice.
- They’re carefully planned and thought through before they begin.
- They’re designed to take as little time/money/investment as possible, minimising the amount that’s spent to accomplish the end goal.
Calculated risk-taking is the difference between a successful entrepreneur and one who is forced to watch all of their plans and dreams crash down around them. By taking that critical time to plan and reduce risk before the execution stage, you can experience higher levels of success for a lower investment–and if you do lose, you’ll lose less in the process.
Know What Risks are Necessary
When you step out as an entrepreneur, there are some risks that you can expect. You’re letting go of the security of a steady paycheck, especially in the beginning. Success for your business means gauging market interest and need, creating something that will meet a need in your local population without knowing whether or not the market will prove fickle. Other risks, however, are avoidable. You can, for example, minimise personal financial risk, implement a quality assurance program, and manage your business finances carefully to reduce the amount of risk that goes with your undertaking. While some risks are expected, minimising those risks will allow you to experience higher levels of business success.
Set Your Ego Aside
When you have an entrepreneur’s spirit, it’s easy to assume that you have all the answers. You look at risks as opportunities, and you’re convinced that the risk in front of you will work out for the best for your business. When you’re conducting a risk analysis, however, it’s critical to set your ego aside. Zaki Mahomed, a young Asian entrepreneur, notes, “I will do whatever it takes to learn and be a better leader, and that usually involves learning from somebody else.” This is a great motto to take into every decision you make as an entrepreneur. Learn from the experiences of everyone else around you and be willing to listen to guidance.
There may be times when you need to go against the flow and make a decision that others don’t agree with. Before you make those decisions, however, ask yourself this: is the decision that you’re making in line with what’s best for the business, or do you need to get your ego out of the way and consider the advice of those around you? If you’re pushing forward more to prove a point than because you’re convinced it’s what’s best, then you’re more likely to fail.
Estimate the Cost of Failure
Every risk isn’t going to pay off. Some of them, in fact, will end up costing you and your business. Before you take a risk, estimate what the cost of failure is. Is it something that’s going to cause devastation for you or your business, or is failure something that you can survive? In many cases, taking a risk means not estimating the cost of success, but determining whether or not the failure is worth the potential gains. The right risk for you will ideally have a high payoff with minimal loss. While that’s not always possible, you should always ask whether or not your business can support the potential loss–and whether or not it’s worth it for the potential gain.
Entrepreneurship requires inherent risk, especially if you want to be successful. Learning to take risks with care, however, will help catapult you to the top of the Asian market, allowing you to embrace success as never before.