Adventure’s great! Live every day as though it’s your last! Take risks! Hang the consequences! It’s all well and good living your working life as though you’re on a zip wire but is constant adventure all it’s cracked up to be?
Not really, says Abigail Morakinyo, founder of health and wellbeing company Healthincheck.co.uk. She says, “The notion that entrepreneurs are risk takers is inaccurate. Entrepreneurs don't take risks for the sake of it, because that would suggest that we are emotionally driven, rather than logical. Most entrepreneurs will take calculated risks, but they will weigh up the consequences before venturing into something, so I would say they make calculated, informed decisions, rather than frivolous risks.”
Morakinyo worked for the NHS and private health sector before launching my own business, and, she says, “I'm definitely more cautious. My background requires that we don't take risks because that would be betting with people's lives and I'm sure entrepreneurs from a similar background would feel the same.”
Amit Shah, serial entrepreneur and current CEO of app development company Hirola, says, “Perhaps due to the present visibility in the media of startups that have made it big – particularly in the tech industry – more and more entrepreneurs have embraced the sense of ‘adventure’ and started out in business on their own. But when those with the exciting creative visions fail to consider the practicalities of their venture, such as logistics, funding or tech capabilities, this can lead to difficulties further down the line.”
“Just like ambition,” Shah says, “adventure is vital for business, but it needs to go hand-in-hand with thorough planning and good business sense.”
“Seeking a sense of adventure when starting out is overrated if it comes with the price tag of immense stress,”, says network marketing entrepreneur Cliff Walker. It should be all about managed risks. “There might be a thrill to starting a new concept using your own cash and resources (and sometimes using your home as collateral) but the risks can often dilute the excitement and enthusiasm with stress.”
He adds: “The real excitement should be seeing flow with your business operation – growth and profit based on solid grounding with managed risk. If more aspiring entrepreneurs realised there were multiple paths to becoming business owners, minus the immense stress or perceived adventure, we might see many more of them.”
Adventure is vital for business, but it needs to go hand-in-hand with thorough planning and good business sense
“I prefer the analogy that being an entrepreneur can be an adventure, but it is more like day-to-day life,” says Ben Michaelis, managing director of digital marketing agency, ThinkEngine Ltd, “We are all doing it to give ourselves, and our team (or family) the best chance of sharing those successes.” He continues, “In business, you are always grounded by an overall or corporate strategy (and plan) which aims to achieve your objectives.
“From my perspective, if you feel an adventure is defined by ‘a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome’, that could be considered unprofessional. In my experience advising many start-up brands, this is often a risky approach. Though it has, on the odd occasion, worked for some well-known enterprise individuals, it can lead you into an unstructured and unfamiliar position where you will have to make decisions that can also have great ramifications, not just in business, but also in your life outside work.”
But being unadventurous doesn’t equal boring. Gavin Hammar took a huge risk in quitting his employment to run his company, Sendible. It was the catalyst that inspired me to grow his business quickly and come up with a business model that could drive rapid growth. “At the time,” he says, “it was extremely scary as I had always relied on a salary but looking back, it definitely paid off. The business model I created then is what has helped us to drive such rapid growth at Sendible.”
But he knew when to stop: “Since then, all the risks I've taken have been extremely calculated. I like to run small, measurable experiments that enable me to take a more iterative approach to growing my business. For example, since most of Sendible's customers are US-based, a bolder entrepreneur would've moved the whole operation to the US. My approach has been to experiment first by hiring a couple of freelancers in the US and measure the impact that this has on the business before opening an office there.”