How Starting a Business and Learning to Swim are related – The Basics of Taking ‘Risk’

Risk is a word used widely in the world of business. But very few know that it is also called calculated risk and not just mere risk. The term ‘calculated’ means that only a part of the risk is really risky and the other part is just the execution of the concrete plan made before taking the risk and not after or when it is being taken.

Mostly the charged up young college grads, just listen to the words of the big guys out there and in that, their thought process to start a particular company and to maintain it to that level is completely avoided. The dream that, ‘I want to become an entrepreneur’ is like half knowledge.

Let’s take an example of swimming, as a child or an adult you must have learned to swim, so does the coach on your very first day send you to swim in the deep pool? No he doesn’t, but what he does is, initially he helps you understand what swimming is by showing you and you following him in a shallow pool.

You learn a few strokes. And now that you can do them independently, he will open the doors of the deeper pool for you, to let you swim initially under his guidance in the deeper section of the pool. Now you start swimming by having a tube around your belly. A few weeks pass by and now you are finally ready to swim independently without the tube and here on, you don’t need the guidance of the coach as you can freely swim anywhere in the pool, without any fear of getting drowned. If you excel further, then the next challenge will always be ready, that is, to swim in a river or across the sea. The point being, the fear to drown no longer exists and swimming has now become a process which you can thoroughly enjoy.

Now we can relate the startup scenario with this example. We first observe the people who have really gone through the process of starting their own firms and are still successful in running the business and deeply read about their experiences. The books we will read, the experiences we will gather working in some related company or field (could be unpaid) and observing and learning the real meaning of motive and business thought process, will all eventually add up to become our coach and will teach us the real side of a business and the surrounding aspects.

Then we will learn to swim in shallow water by creating a proper plan and having the right knowledge, being executed in the right direction. Once a few initial steps are done, then we shall be ready to swim in the bigger pool, but with a tube around, meaning having a backup plan related to the business model we are going to carve. Once the backup is ready and when we are sure from within that now is the time to dive deep, there will be no fear of failing from our side because of that constant practice, coaching and experience. One just cannot deny that, the dive in the deep is always a risk, but now it will be a ‘calculated’ one, as if something goes wrong then we can at least bring ourselves back to the bay.

On the other side, if as young college grad if we directly jump into the deeper pool in the name of taking risk, without any concrete plan, knowledge, experience and most importantly a backup not in the form of a qualification or something, but a pre-plan to save us out from the drowning or if X amount of things go out of hand, then it will surely be a disaster both for the company and for our the life. The grads, regardless of the age, when they fail at this stage, will now never try to enter, even in the shallow pool, as the fear to fail will now haunt for their entire lives.

The main reason many startups are failing is this dangerous leap under the name of taking ‘risk’, or to do something, or to form something big without even tasting the different aspects of the job one wants to enter in and not knowing the true meaning of the term risk or even entrepreneurship. Because in the end, entrepreneurship is not a job, it is a collection of small jobs which one has to perform. There is nothing small or big in entrepreneurship.

Yes it’s true that Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs were college dropouts , but what they had in common was a concrete plan, right knowledge and this concrete plan eventually became their backup. They just didn’t drop out and took ‘risk’ just because they had an idea, but on the basis that they were partially successful in its execution process and needed to execute the other part as quickly as possible. The desperation made them drop out from the school.

So take your time to learn, since business is not just about earning big bucks, but it is a beautiful process just like rock climbing or swimming, just as risky, but a very crucial venture to change the way we do the everyday stuff!

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