Courage and innovation go hand in hand, which is why this trait is critical to managing a small business. Having a courageous attitude means taking business risks even when you're scared of the possibilities. But this doesn't mean you can't make intelligent decisions while also having the courage to take a leap of faith. You can learn how to be courageous and brave while also remaining smart.
Courage Is Necessary for Growth
The difference between a small business and a large corporation could be just one act of courage. If you're happy running a small business and would like to keep it small, that's fine. But if you dream about expanding into new locations and really building up your brand name, you have to make strategic decisions. And no matter how hard we try to mitigate risks, decisions will always come with their fair share of unknown possibilities.
Being courageous gives you the ability to assess the risks and decide that you can handle them. Fortunately, risk mitigation strategies exist to help you weigh the pros and cons of big decisions. Study up on these or consider hiring a consultant to guide you through the process and connect you to additional resources.
Courage Allows You to Face Conflict
When you first begin running a small business, you often learn as you go. You have to be confident, courageous and brave in order to face new challenges, and sometimes these challenges come in surprising forms.
For example, think about how you had to manage an employee who, for whatever reason, wasn't doing a good job. If you're not naturally assertive, you'll definitely need to dig deep for some courage in order to say what needs to be said in these situations.
Or, imagine that a PR disaster strikes your company. Someone goofed and you, as the business owner, ultimately have to take responsibility for it. Facing a disgruntled public, making apologies and continuing to move forward require a heaping dose of courage.
Courage Means Acting Like a Leader
Ultimately, having courage means you act like a leader, which can help you to earn respect among your employees, business network and community at large. Courageous acts show that you're serious enough about your industry and business to take risks. You want to grow and actively make an effort to do so, which positions you in a place of respect among your peers and followers.
Keep in mind that failing doesn't make you any less of a leader or a business owner. You cannot control every little factor, and everyone fails at some point. Leaders make decisions and take risks all the time, but we're usually only aware of the successful ones.
Learning How to Be More Courageous
Courage is not an innate trait that we're either born with or without. You can learn how to have courage, but the key is to practice it often, even in your personal life. A person is courageous when they act despite feeling scared. If you feel nervous about approaching someone to ask for directions but do so anyway, you display courage at that moment.
Start in your everyday life by pausing and identifying feelings of nervousness or fear as they arise. Decide whether or not your fear is justified. If there's a good chance everything will work out just fine if you do the thing you're scared of, muster up all of your willpower and do it. You'll experience a great boost of confidence after you do!
Then, identify these same feelings of resistance in your business world. Make that phone call you've been too nervous to think about. Tackle the budget problems that put butterflies in your stomach. Learn how to have the courage to do not only what needs to be done, but what could be done.
Cathy Habas specializes in marketing, customer experiences, and behind-the-scenes management. Cathy has contributed to sites like Business and Finance, Business 2 Community, and Inside Small Business. She served as the managing editor for a small content marketing agency before continuing with her writing career.