By Solomon Thimothy, founder of Clickx

There is no shortness of risk in an entrepreneur’s life. When you’re trying to get a brand-new company off the ground, you need to put yourself out there like you’ve never done before -- and it’s scary!

In my early days of starting my own business, I let the fear of those risks control my decisions. I was scared of failing, of making the wrong decisions and of losing everything I had worked so hard to create. However, I quickly learned that playing it safe meant I was suffocating my own business growth. I was making small gains, but they weren’t enough to bring my agency to the next level.

So, I made it my goal to stop running from risk and to embrace it instead. And it paid off.

As an entrepreneur, risk is inevitable. If you’re too scared to handle that risk, your entrepreneurial goals will never come true. Embracing risk is easier said than done, but once you get started you’ll see how natural it can feel. Here are some of my best tips on how to start using risk to grow your business.

1. Identify open opportunities.

Being the first to identify an open opportunity can bring serious returns. Unfortunately, entering a new space also means you’re entering uncharted territory, which means you can’t be sure your efforts will be successful.

Even though entering a new area is a risky move, you shouldn’t wait for someone else to move in before you make your move. Instead, become a pioneer.

Keep your eyes open for areas your competitors may be leaving open. Explore the reasons behind why that space hasn’t been entered yet, and see if you can provide a solution that resolves those needs.

2. Understand you won’t always succeed.

Although it’s important to embrace risk as an entrepreneur, those risk won’t always pay off -- and that’s OK. If you always accomplish your goals, you’re not reaching far enough.

The trick is to carefully calculate your risks before taking them. While you want to get outside of your comfort zone, you still want to make smart choices in the risks that you take.

Think through your decisions, knowing that you might fail. Have a backup plan in the event that things don’t work out the way you had hoped. Find a lesson in the experience, and use that information for your next move.

3. Stay nimble.

When you’re trying to get your business off the ground, it’s natural to want to return to what has worked for you before. Although it’s easy to get comfortable with certain processes and systems that brought you success in the past, if you hold too closely to those ideas, it could hurt you.

Doing the same thing over and over can become outdated and diminish your returns. It’s important to remain nimble when growing your business. Don’t remain locked in your ideas and practices. Switch up what you’re doing, even if you’ve had success in the past. Trying something new and moving with the shifting trends can help you bring in even more results.

4. Find the right team.

You can’t grow your business alone. A successful organization comes from having a strong group of individuals all supporting the same mission. However, hiring a new employee or connecting with a business partner involves some level of risk. If they’re not the right choice, it could hold you back from achieving your goals or even set you on the wrong path.

In order to successfully embrace risk, find the right team members who want to succeed as much as you do. It can help you control risk more effectively, as well as assist you in picking the pieces back up if something goes wrong.

Conclusion

If you try to avoid risk as an entrepreneur, your success will plateau. While playing it safe can get your business to a certain level, making risky moves is necessary if you really want your growth to skyrocket.

However, the trick is finding the right risk. By choosing the right opportunities to go after -- even if they scare you -- you can make smart decisions that accelerate your business growth.

Solomon Thimothy is the founder of Clickx, a marketing intelligence platform that helps businesses and agencies with marketing attribution.

Published on: Apr 12, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.