Will Risk Avoidance Stagnate Your Business?

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Risk Avoidance Can Cause Your Business to Fail

Risk Avoidance Can Cause Your Business to Fail

Risk-avoidance is rapidly becoming one of the commonplace terms of the marketing world on the internet. Once upon a time, entrepreneurs understood that risk was simply part of the package of developing a business. You risk much when you start a new venture.

What are the Risks?

You risk time. You risk money — yours or someone else's. You risk credibility and reputation. You risk destroying your financial life through bankruptcy. Through opportunity cost, you risk the loss of other, potentially more lucrative, ventures. Even choosing one job over another is a risk.

The Benefits of Risks

But that's just part of the game of doing business, online or offline. Without risk, you don't invest your mental, emotional, and physical energies as fully. When you don't dare to reach, dare to dream, dare to try what isn't certain, you deny the possibility of great success.

And in the good old days of offline entrepreneurship and the high barriers to entry, risk was a certain part of the equation. You couldn't strike out on your own without some kind of risk.

Risk For Online Business Owners

Unfortunately, with the growth of the internet, the cost or barriers to entry have dropped to almost nothing. Want to start a business? Go for it.

Use your home computer, buy a domain name, a few bucks for hosting a month, and use free online tools to throw up a website and make a bunch of money. And it only costs about as much as dinner out.

At least that's the dream version of internet business success.

The Dream of Internet Business Success

And you'll find tons of internet marketers out there willing to sell you that dream. Of course you have to buy their products, courses, coaching, and tools to learn how to do it. They aren't so much selling knowledge as selling a dream.

Yes, their information and tools can help you gain success, but for most it won't be fast, it won't be easy, and it won't be cheap, no matter what they say.

Now, before you jump down my throat, yes, I am a marketer, too. But I work very hard to avoid selling the dream over reality. I like facts, I like to compare and weigh options, and I believe strongly in gathering knowledge and tools to apply to my eventual "dream" success.

Real Business Success

But a real business takes time to learn, time to grow, and time to mature. Then you can claim a measure of success. The man who gets up one morning, runs a marathon faster than most, and then never repeats his success is not a successful marathon runner.

To know or do but be unable to repeat is not true success. In the offline world, this is often called a "one-hit wonder". And it can happen online just as easily.

Or here's another example for you. Consider the craps or roulette gambler who spends years at the table, winning some, but losing more. One day he hits a $50,000 prize. Is he a success at gambling, or is he just lucky? And then there's the follow-up question. How much money did he "invest" before he hit the big time win?

How Do You Define Success?

Gross profit (sales) and net profit (after expenses) are not the same thing.

Think of all of those internet "superstar" marketers who say they went from nothing to a million dollars in one year. Repeatable, maybe. But chances are they also spent 2-5 years online going nowhere first, while they built the knowledge and systems to succeed. How much did they spend?

Many people struggle for years, spending large sums of money, to learn to market online. When they succeed, do they take into account the time and money they've invested to get there?

Don't Deny The Need For Risk

The other problem with internet opportunities is the grand tendency for marketers to sell you their wares by claiming complete risk avoidance. They'll give you your money back if you ask — at least if you ask within 30, 60, or maybe 90 days.

So, great. Buy away, and try to master the system well enough to know it is for you, but only within that timeframe.

Learning takes time, testing takes time, and success takes time. Will you find out in time to get your money back?

When you purchase tools and information online, you need to weigh the risk of purchase as if there was no refund. (Consider the refund a little bonus if you need to, but try to avoid the mindset that you aren't risking anything.) That'll tell you whether or not you truly intend to take a risk, put in the time, and push yourself to master this opportunity.

This will help you keep the risk-avoidance process from sidetracking your intent to perform. It will help you avoid paralysis because now there is money and time on the table. That can be a powerful motivator.

But Why Is Risk Good?

The key issue here is risk-avoidance. We want so badly to succeed, and with the barriers to entry online being so low, we see the opportunity in front of us. However, we all have fears, especially about losing money, wasting time, or hurting our credibility with our spouse, family, and friends. So risk-avoidance is popular. You can use it to justify your purchase! "Just let me spend $97 and 60 days to achieve my goal and we'll be set for life..."

Unfortunately, developing a real business is not so easy as that. It takes knowledge, tools, and systems. And frankly, it takes money and time as well. Do you really think you can have all of that, and risk-avoidance too?

The Dangers of the "Risk-Less" Path

So, let's move on to Phase 2. Let's say you make it past the first stages and have your business beginning to flourish. You are making steady progress, and the little risks started paying off. Maybe you're earning your money back. But consider the habits you've been developing.

You try to avoid wasting money and time, so you go for the risk-free stuff. You take the tried-and-true course, even if it isn't the best path for developing your own unique business that will last — a business that capitalizes on your own personal skills.

So what happens next?

Risk Avoidance Leads To Business Stagnation

You stagnate. You cement your business and practices and reactions into a set pattern that you can't change for the world. You don't know how to take the big risk that will catapult your business past the danger zone into a new area of growth. With no practice, you don't even know how to weigh a risk.

There's a reason that the richest men, women, and companies in the world are considered risk-takers.

Because it works.

Maybe not every time, or every decision. But they know that calculated risks will pay off if they apply past skills and experience to learning new ways of profiting.

And change and growth go hand in hand. You have to be willing to adapt or you will eventually die.

Hard thoughts, huh? And hard lessons, too. But I want to be honest with you. Businesses go through cycles. Mine is 22 years old and continues to grow and change over time. And I have to change with it. So will you.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh on this subject? What risks have you taken that have paid off? How do you feel about risk-avoidance behaviors?