It takes advice and support to be an entrepreneur, especially a successful one. I’ve read the books, seen the articles and had the mentors. But it’s one thing to have the resources and another thing to use them – to listen to the advice and take action.
There is certain feedback an entrepreneur will receive that is easy to implement, but other areas are not always as straightforward. The biggest piece of advice I haven’t been listening to? “You need to be all in.”
Many entrepreneurs have heard this phrase time and time again, sometimes from a mentor, a peer or even your own inner voice. Going all in is the obvious requirement to make your startup grow and survive, but the decision can be difficult in the early days. Market uncertainties, lack of funding and the process of validating your business model – will it work? Is it worth it to go all in? Is now the right time?
These questions are worth exploring, and as an entrepreneur looking to grow your business this year, it’s critical you ask them. As you plan for a year of effective growth and entrepreneurship, here are four questions to see if now is the right time to take the risk and go all in.
Is my idea worth it?
Although it may feel like you have an obvious answer for this question, it’s a critical question to ask yourself. If you haven’t taken “the risk” as an entrepreneur, you’re likely bogged down with a full-time job, primary (or secondary) career, hobbies, education, etc. Is the idea you’ve had or the business you’ve started worth giving those things up? For many, the answer will be yes, but for some the answer will be no. Putting yourself on the spot internally will help you determine if what you’re working on is worthy of the risk or not.
What if it fails?
This is a daunting question but a necessary one. Your answer to the failure question cannot be “It won’t fail.” It is well known that 90% of startups fail, so to claim yours won’t is an ignorant stance. Move forward in leading your startup with reverence for the facts and respect for the process. Make sure you lead your company so the odds are in your favor, but determine, if you fail, what you would have achieved. What does failure mean to you? Define these questions and you’ll likely learn about the potential outcome of failure – learning, growth, an idea that could lead to another, the thrill of trying and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What is the opportunity cost of not taking the risk?
If you haven’t taken the risk for your startup, something is taking the hit. Whether it is the speed of progress, your sleep schedule, your free time or your finances, there is opportunity cost, and it’s time to identify it. As you determine whether or not you should take the risk, think about what you’re giving up by not taking it. Many people see the time they are unable to devote to their company and the timeline that is subsequently extended from now until they go to market or reach their business goals. If the potential of your startup is life-changing, delaying the process of achieving success may not be worth your full-time salary, benefits and security. Is it time for you to take the risk and avoid paying for the opportunity cost?
Why haven’t I taken the risk?
If you haven’t taken the risk yet, ask yourself why. Aside from the surface reasons like startup maturity, lack of revenue, loss of income, what lays at the heart of your risk avoidance? Is it fear? Feelings of inadequacy? Lack of the right team members? Cut through the noise and get to the heart of your decision-making. These questions will better equip you as a leader and help you learn more about your style, character and what you need in the depths of your leadership and future business success.
If you’re contemplating taking the risk on behalf of your startup, don’t be afraid to ask these questions – embrace them and embrace the process of growing as an entrepreneur. If you decide not to take the risk, understand your reasoning honestly and work toward your goals. If you’re ready to take the risk, be prepared and thorough in your analysis of what comes next. Hard work lies ahead, but the outcomes could be invaluably rewarding.
From one entrepreneur taking the risk this year to another, let’s make it worth it.