“Business requires astute decision-making and leadership. It requires discipline and innovation. It also needs attitude, a good sense of humor and, dare I say it, luck” explains Richard Branson as he strips business bare.

To build anything you need foundations. To start any business you need an idea, then it is down to trusting your gut, taking a risk and doing something with that idea. It doesn’t stop there as it is a continuous process of educated risk-taking, adaptability, resourcefulness and above all, perseverance.

Those that have built a successful business are generally considered lucky or favored by the Gods. Though, usually, their success is down to their risky disposition. Taking risks means that things might not work out how we want them to, but what if it does?

“Hope for the best and prepare for the worst” should be the mantra of every risk taker. It is like jumping into deep water, looking through misty goggles down into the dark abyss, and imaging a shark is going to appear out of the murky blue to devour you. You’re hoping it’s not, but you’re ready to bop it on the nose if it does. Like bringing a new idea to a new market, one of the riskiest steps taken in business. It is unknown what lurks beneath the surface, you’ve just got to take the risk and jump in.

In William Arthur Ward’s poem, To Risk, he wrote “the person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.” We learn by experience; how can we expect to reach our potential if we are not willing to take a risk. Opportunities are missed, prospects dwindle, and most days are spent regretting that we did not do more with our lives. A lot of the stages in my life may never have happened if I didn’t peruse my idea. I have no regrets because I can honestly say I tried and persevered to get where I am now. Though it wasn’t easy, and I had to face a few external situations that had the potential to hinder me.

In our lifetime there has been political disorder, leaps, and bounds in science and technology innovations and an increase in natural disasters. All of which has thrown a spanner into the works one way or another. Though you can’t protect yourself from the unexpected, that doesn’t mean you should let your fear stop you. Be prepared, put measures in place to mitigate and manage any downfall that might result from the risk taken. Learn and adapt to all outcomes and then, in the future, you will no longer have to ask, “what if.”

One way to success is to learn from the best. I heeded the advice given on the trials and tribulations of many successful entrepreneurs, including Richard Branson. Virgins diversity is a sign of the risk Branson is willing to take. “Protect your reputation. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes” one of Branson’s life rules to not be afraid to take risks as long as you can protect yourself from an unfortunate result. Virgin cola may have failed but Virgin Australia Airlines is the second largest airline in Australia. Both were valuable lessons to Virgin and the growth of the business, as well as to their reputation. On the drawing board, Virgin Australian Airlines had the potential of being a mistake. It could have gone the same way as Virgin Cola, but they were not to know that until they took the risk.

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