Talk about going into business for yourself and you may think of various parts of your chosen industry. There are so many facets to being an entrepreneur. But one constant is the element of risk. Even opening your doors is a risk. But where the most risk lies are in the field of marketing. 87% of women entrepreneurs say they are financial risk takers, but there’s a line between reckless and risky.

The reason for this is that marketing is what will ultimately determine whether your business lives or dies. Perfectly good companies have failed because of poorly executed marketing campaigns. On the other hand, companies offering nothing new have taken off simply because of the way they were promoted.

You will come up against risks in marketing every day, but how do you know when it’s the right time to take a risk and leave your fear of failure behind?

Why are You Taking the Risk?

First of all, you have to consider why you are considering taking a risk in the first place. It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to gamble based on fear. Their companies aren’t doing as well as they hoped and they are looking for something to break the mold.

If this is your motivation for taking a risk, step back and carefully consider your options. Risks taken out of extreme emotions like fear are the worst risks to take because they have no logic behind them. They are not taken because this sounds like a good opportunity they are taken due to the fact the entrepreneur in question has no other idea.

Your Stake

Like a poker game, entrepreneurs gamble something each time. This is your stake. With every company, there will come a defining moment where you are forced to consider whether you want to go ‘all in’. And the companies that make it through this tend to be in business for the long haul.

The majority of risks are not about going ‘all in’, but they require a large enough stake that could cause a lot of damage if it goes wrong. When approaching any risk, consider how much you are going to have to put on the line. Always consider the worst case scenario if everything goes wrong.

Is it Backed by Data?

The role of big data defines marketing in this day and age. It’s the type of information that outlines your target audience and your perfect customer. You can find out where people are spending their time online, their likes, their dislikes, and the sort of marketing materials they respond to.

With any marketing opportunity, take any claims and back them against the data. If there are no numbers, stay clear. The last thing you should do is take a risk based on gut instinct. With the power of technology on offer these days, the right option is to wait until you have some concrete data available.

The Long-Term Future

Every marketing campaign will come with some sort of short-term and long-term effect. In the short-term, you will hopefully gain a lot of success. But entrepreneurs are often accused of focusing too much on the short-term. This is why unicorn companies have come under such scrutiny, since they are so concerned with the here and now, rather than the long-term futures of their companies.

Your marketing campaign should have a long-term goal and these effects should be noted before you go any further. Just because a marketing opportunity is successful in the short-term doesn’t mean that it’s going to be good for your brand in the long haul.

Take video marketing as an example. You can easily generate a lot of views and a lot of interest by making false promises with ‘clickbait’ style phrases. But while the initial burst of interest will be worthwhile, the damage to your brand going forward could well mean the end of your company.

Welcome Risks but Don’t Be Reckless

The skilled entrepreneur is someone who is always looking for risks to take. They know the value of taking risks and they know what it could mean for their futures if everything goes well. At the same time, the last thing you want is to be reckless. When entrepreneurs get reckless they nearly always fail.

The important thing is to be aware of all risks you are taking, what they require from you, and what they could mean for you in the long-term. Don’t be optimistic when it comes to marketing. Be a realist. If that leads to you saying no more times than it leads to you saying yes, so be it.

Gambling with your company’s future without good reason will only lead to your startup becoming a statistic.