At about 8:30 in the morning I walked past a man talking loudly on his cellphone. I was in the Boulders Shopping centre in Midrand, Johannesburg, coming out of Game department store where I had just bought an umbrella because the rainy season has started year on the Highveld.
The man was in his early fifties in a blue T-shirt, denim shorts and slip slops. He was standing with his cellphone glued to his ear. He looked across the giant boulders with tall aloes showing their candle-like red flowers growing in a rockery below, the centrepiece of the shopping centre.
When I walked past him I heard what he was almost shouting to the person on the other end of the cellphone. It was calling out wars names to a bookie. Names like “Silver Storm”, “Willow Magic,”, “Torch Queen, and “Miss Stingray”.
He emphasised each first letter of the horse’s name, calling out “S” for “Silver” and so on.
I don’t know about you but when I see a guy like this unshaven, unkept and looking too relaxed I smell trouble. Perhaps I’m being too harsh. He could make so much money gambling on the horses that he doesn’t have to work a regular 9-to-5 anymore. Probable but not likely.
This guy gambling his money on the horses got me thinking about the misconception that entrepreneurs are willing to take more risks than other business people. The research on entrepreneurs shows that they are not high-risk gamblers. Typically they go for moderate rather than high risk.
Some entrepreneurs can live with moderate risk but there are some highly successful entrepreneurs such as James Caan, a Dragons’s Den panellist, who advises that risks must be eliminated from every phase in a start-up and in operations.
Where are the risks in a business start-up that the new entrepreneur has to watch out for? They could be underestimating competition or new entrants. Serving a narrow customer base or niche. Fluctuations in sales because of poor planning or seasonal purchasing may severely impact a business. Other risks include cash flow, poor productivity, high costs, changes in technology, violence and theft, government legislation and bad advice.
One key quality that separates entrepreneurs from mere dreamers (and gamblers) is their ability to visualise, actualise and carry out an idea.
If you have the ability to clearly see your new business idea being implemented by you and with a moderate tolerance for risk, then jump over here to find out how you can get started.