risk taking in small businessWe often talk about how important it is for businesses to make plans – marketing plans, financial plans, business plans; they’re all subjects we cover in our Small Business Management and Start-Up Course. The reason we suggest all this planning is that it helps you to reach your goals – after all, a plan is like the roadmap to your success, and without it you won’t reach your destination.

All Business is a Little Risky…

Going into business is about managing risks, because everything you do in business involves some form of risk – from the mundane (what if people don’t like my business name?) to the more worrying (what if my business fails?) – but by planning and setting goals for yourself and your business, you’re helping to minimise that risk.

As adults we tend to fear risks, and often do all we can to avoid taking them. But, as my two-and-a-half year-old son recently reminded me, kids don’t fear taking risk. In fact, taking risks is all part of how they grow and develop as human beings (and, ironically, into risk-fearing adults!)

The Great Escape

The other evening, long after the kids had gone to bed and I was enjoying a little moment of whiskey-in-hand me time, I heard a little voice behind me. It was my son, Sean, who had somehow managed to climb out of his cot and wander downstairs in search of his red ball – this month’s most prized possession.

While he stood at the bottom of the stairs, his eyes on the look out for his ball, my brain made a mental list of all the risks he’d just exposed himself to – what if he’d fallen from the top of the cot? What if he’d tripped down the stairs? What if he’d quietly opened the front door of the house? What if, what if, what if…

Suddenly, I realised that none of these things had occurred to Sean. He just had one goal in mind – to get his red ball – and he set a plan in motion to do just that (to get out of his cot), regardless of the risks involved.

After I’d tucked him (and his ball) safely back in bed, it occurred to me that he must have spent some time strategising a way of getting out of his cot and down the stairs. This, I thought, it what all business owners should be doing all the time: strategising ways to climb out of their cot.


If you’re going to achieve your business goals, you need to strategise ways to achieve them and take calculated risks to get what you want. You need to embrace your inner two-and-a-half year-old and climb out of your cot – because if you don’t, your business is not going to grow and evolve.

— Steve Slisar, CEO, ASBC