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A Risky Business?

Risk is a word that regularly gets aired in arguments about business. We hear a lot of talk about risky work, about financial risk and people taking risks, about the need to mitigate risk and about the current economic environment making many individuals and organisations more risk averse. Is what we offer a ‘risky business’?

The answer to this question is particularly pertinent for budding entrepreneurs, many of whom are struggling to reach and engage with new business and new partners, and do it on an ever reducing budget.

Many of those entrepreneurs are struggling to get a foothold, just like this ice climber; struggling to get to the top, to make their mark, to be their own boss. What’s even more unfortunate is that many are seeing most things on offer nowadays as a risky business, so I thought this topic worthy of  discussion. Let me know your thoughts . . .


I’m not talking about the lighthearted Movie ‘A Risky Business‘ in which a suburban Chicago teenager (Tom Cruise) is looking for fun at home when his parents leave on vacation, and he cuts loose looking for fun at home. In the movie, which catapulted Tom Cruise to stardom, the situation quickly gets out of hand when an unauthorised trip in his father’s Porsche means a sudden need for lots of money, which he raises in a creative way.

Neither am I referring to the worthwhile Risky Business of the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (GOSH) in London, which initiated a successful study to improve patient safety, to better understand why humans make mistakes and how to mitigate and recover from them by learning from world-class professionals from other safety critical industries and sport. To think outside their “box” and share new ideas about managing risk and human factors from other high risk industries, they subsequently ran a conference called Everybody’s Business / Risky Business which became an expanding collaborative venture that has evolved ever since with 8 Risky Business conferences having been held around the world over the next 3 years.

The Risky Business of Business

What I’m referring to is business in general and the different types of business available today, and in particular the type of businesses that attract entrepreneurs. What is it that motivates someone to start their own business? Many people become entrepreneurs because they want to create something of their own, to have a sense of personal achievement. Some view entrepreneurship as an opportunity to create substantial wealth. Others want to break out of the “corporate rat race” and be their own boss.

Bill Buxton of Businessweek discusses the following question, and I really wanted you to think about it for yourself: “What is it about entrepreneurs that enables them to live so far on the edge? Do they thrive on the adrenaline of risk-taking?” He said this made him think of another question, one that he frequently encounters when people find out that he loves ice climbing: “How can you live with the risk? Do you actually enjoy flirting with death?

I totally agree with his belief that these are in fact the same question, founded on the same implicit but ill-founded assumption: that risk equates to danger. So what are the associations between entrepreneurship and the ice climber and what differentiates them from the population at large? For a start says Bill, they both understand the very clear distinction between risk and danger. Second, and—perhaps most importantly—they know that there are ways to approach an otherwise dangerous task in such a way that the risk is reduced to an acceptable level.

The lessons for business are simple: the four considerations employed by the ice climber are exactly the same as those used by the serial entrepreneur or the effective business person. Consider the following:

Training: What, in fact are the skills that would best equip me to engage this problem? Are they evident in my team? If so, how do I hone them? If not, how do I bring them onboard?

Tools: What tools are relevant to the problem? What are the potentially useful processes, technologies or other instruments that might give me purchase and protection throughout the exercise?

Fitness: How does one prepare? How rusty are my skills? What would constitute a warm-up exercise, or a “preliminary heat” that would let me find out if I were ready for the game?

Partners: No matter how good you and your team are, in most significant cases you will need partners. Do you have the right ones? My approach in this is simple: Get the best. If you can’t, you might want to question the wisdom of proceeding. After all, if they aren’t working for you, they may be working for someone on the other side of the table.

These basic points provide a skeleton on which you have the opportunity to flesh out your creativity. The more innovation and insight that you personally bring to determining the answers pertaining to each of these four points, and the more effectively you execute on the answers, the lower the risk of your endeavor and the higher the probability of your success.

Are there any guarantees? Few. As in life, very little can be guaranteed, expcept for death. Yet if you fail, which you might, at least there is a higher probability that you will live to try again. But remember, business—like life—never was about certainty (as long as we rule out the proverbial death and taxes).

Finally, what struck me most about the question that Bill was dealing with was the implicit assumption that risk was the domain of the entrepreneur, not him personally. If there is a single message in all of this, it is this: The most dangerous way of all to play it is so-called safe. Safe leads to atrophy and certain death—of spirit, culture, and enterprise.

There is not a single institution of merit or worthy of respect in our society that was not created out of risk. Risk is not only not to be avoided, it is to be embraced—for survival. So while we do not want to take away the sense of adventure, the adrenalin rush of risk, what really are people really risking in the Savvy Team, when they start their own business? Is what we recommend a risky business? YOU decide …

Starting a small business can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding enterprises you will ever take part in. However, the process is not without risks. Starting your own business means confronting the possibility of failure. But this should not make you any less excited about the possibility of succeeding. Understanding the risks inherent in starting a small business is the first and most important step in overcoming those risks and trying to succeed against the odds.

If you would like to be given a system, full support and an unlimited opportunity, then make sure you contact whoever gave you this site, or email us at


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3 thoughts to “A Risky Business?”

  1. I belief the questions to ask ourself are – 1 Which will afford me the best opportunity ? 2 Which will allow me to grow & use my skills to benefit others & myself ? 3 Which will provide my family & me with true security & happiness ? 4 Which will pay me what I’m worth ? 5 Which is going to allow my dreams to finally come true ? After reading this & the other post it will be easy to answer these questions .

  2. Great article Linda. I have been in traditional business and now I am building a Neways business and trust me there is no comparison. Traditional high risk, high money, huge time, no support and the list goes on and that is with a calculated risk.

    Neways / Savvy Team business – no risk, little money, huge support and the list goes on. Gives you great health, great wealth if you do the work, fantastic future if you plug into the system. Yes as Linda said the only risk is ego…..but what do they say do you want to be right or rich. Think about. This is the business to be in, you can build it around everything that you are doing and in a short time have everything that you ever wanted.

    If you are thinking of building your networking business, don’t think any more just do it, honestly it is the best business, the best team and the best company. Cheers Gwen

  3. Yes I agree Gwen, I too have walked the path of build-a-business. I had the experience and the expertise in the chosen field but set it up with minimum capital and struggled to cope with costs. Long hours, hard work, not enough margin of profit over costs – it makes me really appreciate our current opportunity with Neways/Savvy! We have the training and tools available, many of them without charge, and the best business partners in Neways!

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