What Are Examples of Successful Risks?

What Are Examples of Successful Risks?

We reached out to a diverse group of small business leaders, including CEOs and Founders, to share their experiences with taking leaps of faith. From investing in unproven technology to the bold move of certifying in solar panel installations, here are the top ten anecdotes that illuminate the lessons learned from the risks that reaped rewards.

  • Investing in Unproven Technology
  • Launching Without Market Research
  • Embracing Remote Work Early
  • Investing in Real Estate
  • Starting a Business as a Single Parent
  • Starting a Business Without Experience
  • Pursuing Military Licensing
  • Opening a Second Location
  • Certifying in Solar Panel Installations
  • Investing in Additional Support Early

Investing in Unproven Technology

As the CEO of Startup House, I once took a risk by investing in a new technology that was unproven in the market. Despite the uncertainty, we decided to go all in and develop a product using this technology. It turned out to be a huge success, attracting new clients and boosting our reputation in the industry. This experience taught me that sometimes taking calculated risks can lead to great rewards, and that it's important to trust your instincts and be willing to step out of your comfort zone in order to innovate and grow as a business.

Alex Stasiak
Alex StasiakCEO & Founder, Startup House

Launching Without Market Research

Taking risks in business is like navigating a minefield with a blindfold on—it can be thrilling and terrifying all at once. One memorable risk I took was launching a new product line without extensive market research. We were betting on our gut feeling and customer feedback from a vocal minority. Surprisingly, the gamble paid off, and the new line became a hit. It taught me that sometimes, despite all the data and analysis, a leap of faith can yield unexpected rewards. Now, I approach risk assessment with a blend of analytics and intuition, knowing that not every risk is reckless and not every cautious step guarantees safety. Balancing on that fine line keeps things interesting—and occasionally, pleasantly surprising.

Phil Laboon
Phil LaboonCEO, Leadstacker

Embracing Remote Work Early

A significant risk I took was when our organization decided to implement a fully remote work model long before the global shift driven by the pandemic. At the time, it was unconventional and seen as risky, especially for a business focused on productivity tools where collaborative in-person interaction was the norm. We transitioned to remote work, trusting that it would not only cut operational costs but also attract top talent irrespective of geographical constraints. This decision not only saved on overhead but also made us an attractive employer globally, increasing our talent pool exponentially.

The shift to a fully remote operation taught me that risk assessment needs to consider long-term operational efficiencies and employee satisfaction, not just immediate logistical challenges. It underscored the importance of being visionary, thinking ahead of current trends, and sometimes making bold moves that may seem risky in the short term but offer substantial benefits in the long run.

Alari Aho
Alari AhoCEO and Founder, Toggl Inc

Investing in Real Estate

Despite some hesitation, I saw the potential for growth and decided to take the plunge. This risk paid off greatly in the long run. The area boomed, and my investment property became a highly sought-after rental unit, generating significant income for me. Not only did it provide financial gain, but it also taught me valuable lessons about risk assessment.

Firstly, it taught me to trust my instincts and do thorough research before making any decisions. As a business owner, taking risks is inevitable, but understanding the market and potential outcomes can minimize the level of risk.

Secondly, it taught me to be open to new opportunities and not be afraid to step outside of my comfort zone. Many small business owners tend to stick with what they know and are comfortable with, but sometimes taking calculated risks can lead to great success.

Lastly, this experience showed me the importance of contingency planning. In any risky venture, there is always a chance of failure or unexpected challenges. By having backup plans in place, I was able to mitigate potential losses and navigate through any obstacles that came my way.

Overall, this risk-taking experience taught me the value of strategic risk assessment and how it can lead to growth and success in business. As a small business owner, it is important to be open to taking calculated risks while also being prepared for any potential outcomes. With the right approach, risk-taking can bring great rewards and valuable lessons.

Mary Sullivan
Mary SullivanBusiness Owner, Company That Buys Houses

Starting a Business as a Single Parent

Risks are everywhere—we simply have to decide which are worth taking given our goals and current situation.

As a single-mother business owner, the biggest risk I have taken is deciding to leave full-time employment and start my own business. For some, this was an unimaginable decision. I faced scrutiny and doubt from all angles. Family and friends couldn't understand.

But the truth is, starting my own service-based business was one of the smartest things I could have done in my position. This business has allowed me to build multiple revenue streams, saved me from surprise layoffs, and given me confidence, skills, and connections I'm not sure I would have gained otherwise.

In terms of risk, I've learned that there are two ways to look at it: what you can gain from the risk and what you can lose from it. In this case, there was far more to gain than to lose, so it's absolutely paid off!

Kayla McGuire
Kayla McGuireBusiness Consultant and Project Management Coach, Kayla McGuire Consulting, LLC

Starting a Business Without Experience

As a small business owner, one of the biggest risks I took was starting my own company without any prior experience in entrepreneurship. I had always worked for others and had a stable job, but I wanted to pursue my passion and create something of my own. This decision involved financial risk, as well as the risk of failure.

Through this experience, I learned the importance of calculated risk-taking and thorough risk assessment. Before starting my business, I conducted extensive market research to understand the demand for my products and services. I also developed a detailed business plan that outlined potential risks and how they would be mitigated.

Despite the initial uncertainty, my risk paid off in the long run. My business has been successful, and I have learned that taking risks is necessary for growth and success. However, it is crucial to carefully assess and manage those risks to avoid potential pitfalls. This experience taught me that risk-taking should involve a balance of courage and caution, while always being prepared for any outcomes.

Brandon Beatty
Brandon BeattyFounder & CEO, Southern Hills Home Buyers

Pursuing Military Licensing

In 1998, I founded Polar Engraving, a company specializing in custom-engraved bricks and tiles for fundraising campaigns and Veterans Memorials. A significant risk we took was pursuing official licensing from the US Military to engrave all military emblems, which required substantial investment in compliance and certification processes. The payoff was immense. We became the only brick engraving company in the USA with this authorization, a fact that fills us with pride and recognition. It led to a surge in orders and established our reputation as a trusted provider.

Another calculated risk involved offering free shipping on all orders. Initially, this seemed financially daunting, but we assessed our cost structure and optimized logistics. Implementing this policy set us apart from competitors and attracted more clients, increasing our volume of orders.

Patrick Calman
Patrick CalmanCEO, Polar Engraving

Opening a Second Location

When I first started my small business, I was hesitant to take risks. I wanted to play it safe and stick with what I knew would work. However, as my business began to grow, I realized that I needed to expand in order to reach new customers and increase profits. This meant taking a risk and investing money into opening a second location. At the time, the thought of putting so much money into another store was daunting. But after careful consideration and assessment of market trends, customer demand, and financial projections, I decided to take the leap of faith. And it paid off.

Within just a few months, the second location was thriving and bringing in a significant amount of revenue. This experience taught me that sometimes taking risks is necessary for growth and success. It also showed me the importance of conducting thorough risk assessments before making any major business decisions. I learned that risk-taking should not be based on blind faith or emotions, but rather on solid research and analysis. By carefully evaluating potential risks and rewards, I was able to make an informed decision and reap the benefits. This lesson has since helped me make other strategic business moves with confidence and success.

Evan Tunis
Evan TunisPresident, Florida Healthcare Insurance

Certifying in Solar Panel Installations

You know, running your own electrical business is all about taking calculated risks. There was this time I decided to invest in getting certified for solar panel installations. It wasn't cheap, let me tell you! But I saw the green wave coming, people wanting to go eco-friendly and save on energy bills. It felt like a gamble at the time.

What sealed the deal was this presentation I went to. This industry expert was talking about the future of solar, the government rebates, the whole shebang. It clicked – this wasn't just a trend, it was a growing market. So I took the plunge, got the certification, and started advertising solar alongside my regular electrical services.

Let me tell you, it paid off big time! Within a year, solar panel jobs became a major part of my business. Looking back, the upfront cost of certification felt like a drop in the bucket compared to the long-term gains.

Ryan Gregor
Ryan GregorOwner & Head Electrician, RCG Electrical

Investing in Additional Support Early

Hiring the necessary help for my business was important, even during the early stages when profits were not yet stable. Hiring extra help can accelerate your business growth significantly. While it poses financial risks, relying solely on oneself isn't feasible, and investing in additional support can be crucial for business expansion.

AL Tran
AL TranRealtor, Blogger, Author, DS Inspire

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