There’s a common misperception that all entrepreneurs are “throw-caution-to-the-wind” risk-takers who scoff at the odds and bet big on all-or-nothing propositions. They’re a bit like the big gambler in a casino who puts all the chips on a single bet and rolls the dice.
That may make for good cinema or dramatic literature, but it’s simply not reality. While risk-taking is one of the most common traits that entrepreneurs share, few — if any — make blatantly bad bets just to play the long odds.
Most entrepreneurs I know do approach risk more aggressively than other business executives, but they rarely — if ever — put their money on something they do not believe will succeed. Instead, they like to bet on themselves and bet on that they’re able to see opportunities where others do not.
Confidence in key, and having a “think-we-will-win” philosophy is paramount to making it happen. In baseball, if you step into the batter’s box thinking you are overmatched by the pitcher, you’ll probably strike out.
Savvy entrepreneurs play it smart and put themselves in the best possible position to succeed — often defying naysayers who neither see the opportunity for success nor are willing to invest in it.
This combination of laser-focused strategy, higher-than-average tolerance for risk and the ability to identify gaps in the marketplace is something that defines them. That they put it on the line every day reveals their iron-clad stomachs — even if they get just as many ulcers as the worriers.
This month, we’re honored to share the stories of the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists and honorees in a special cover story report. This is the 16th year that Smart Business has been the media sponsor of this event, and when you’re finished reading these amazing entrepreneurs’ stories and the risks they’ve overcome, you’ll understand why we’re so honored to work with Ernst & Young each year to present such a prestigious program — here and in nearly a dozen cities nationwide.
In mid-June, I attended the Florida regional Entrepreneur Of The Year awards gala and had the opportunity to hear several honorees mention risk. Bauer Foundation Corp. President and CEO Charles Puccini, perhaps said it best when he mentioned how he inspires confidence when things seem risky.
“Just walk with me,” Puccini says. “We’ll get ‘em.”
Dustin Klein is publisher and vice president of operations for Smart Business Network Inc.