Your Own Business – Risks Vs Rewards


Your own business – an expensive German car or even a red Italian one, holidays in the Swiss Alps, your own condo on a remote island – all potential benefits of having your own business. On the other hand you have the prophets of doom that highlights the long hours, difficult employees, economic recessions, stress and high rates of bankruptcies in business. What is the reality?

In actual fact most new entrepreneurial ventures fail within the first few years. Only a small percentage really makes good money. There are various risks in starting your own business that cannot be ignored. These risks can, however, be drastically reduced with detailed market research, proper business planning and effective management. The potential rewards, for the successful entrepreneur, make the effort more than worthwhile.

Some of the more important risks are:

Financial Risk

The personal financial investment of having your own business is generally quite high. Business failure can mean a substantial financial loss for the entrepreneur (and for other stakeholders) and it can even cause bankruptcy.

Social Risk

A business requires much input from the entrepreneur. This implies less time for family life, friendship, sport, entertainment and holidays. The potential of losing a friend and even a marriage partner is very real.

Career Risk

When an entrepreneur starts his or her own business they normally resign from their present job. If things go wrong it can be difficult or even impossible to resume a career.

Psychological Risk

People handle stress different. Good stress, called eustress, gives a person enough adrenaline to handle difficult situations in a positive way. Distress, on the other hand, can be destructive to the entrepreneur and the business. It can leads to serious burnout and depression. Distress can be caused by working too hard over extended times, too much worries about the various aspects of the business (especially if everything is not going to plan), no proper support system (e.g. from a spouse) and even the feeling that the business was a mistake and that the entrepreneur is climbing the wrong ladder.

Fortunately substantial rewards await the successful entrepreneur, including some of the following:

Financial Rewards

A successful business has the potential to make good profits and provide substantial wealth for the entrepreneur. If this wealth is handled with care it can make a big difference in the financial well-being of an entrepreneur (and his or her spouse and descendants).

Social Rewards

There is seldom a higher reward than making a positive difference to another person’s life. Entrepreneurship is already creating most of the new jobs and wealth in the world. The successful business provides jobs, pride and financial security for its employees. Personal wealth can also be used to make a difference to a family member, a friend, the community or any worthwhile cause.

Independence Rewards

Your own business provides you with the privilege to work for yourself, at your own pace, without a boss and having a sense of freedom. Financial success increases the independence potential.Growth Rewards

The whole entrepreneurial process is a personal growth process and an entrepreneur learns about failure and success, difficult people and situations and especially about themselves. Knowledge about various disciplines will also be enhanced. Successful entrepreneurs generally experience a sense of self-actualisation.


Having your own business definitely carry substantial risks. If you, however, have the right personality profile, the necessary expertise, and the will to prepare diligently and work hard the chances of entrepreneurial success improve drastically. The potential rewards then outweigh the risks by far.

Copyright© 2008 – Wim Venter