Why don’t we take more risks in life? 46.7% of all workers worldwide are self-employed. In the US, there are approximately 76.4 million freelancers. We are clearly not risk averse. I encourage thinking and being different the founders and marketers I advise. Consequently, I see a mix of excitement and fear in their eyes as they consider the brand risks. A lot of decision-makers see coin flip outcomes and decide to play it safe. Unfortunately, they’re missing the point.

Perhaps, our perspectives are skewed. We aren’t considering the difference between a chance and a risk. For instance, a chance is the possibility of something happening without any obvious design. Put another way, random accidents. No wonder creative marketing campaigns are often shut down or watered down. Often, decision-makers see the chance of success as random. Ultimately, they opt to play it safe.

However, risk-taking isn’t random. People don’t quit their jobs and start businesses on a whim. Risk-taking is the act of doing something that involves risk in order to achieve a goal. Hence, why we often hear phrases like “calculated risk.” Contrarily, you’ll never hear someone say I took a calculated chance.

Cassandra Rosen writes, “Risky behavior can, in theory, lead to potential harm. The greater this risk appears as if it might have a negative impact on one of our basic human needs, the more likely we are to avoid it.” New concept alert: brand basic needs. Brands often avoid marketing risk because they think it will have a negative impact on their basic needs. For example, a marketing campaign won’t generate additional revenue, or worse, it will upset customers.

No CMO wants to sign off on a campaign that will cost them their job. No CEO or founder wants to sign off on a campaign that can tank their stock. Besides, great leaders want to grow their teams not oversee layoffs. Failure feels worse the bigger the stakes.

We all want to keep a roof over our heads, and foods in our bellies. Brands aren’t any different.

This morning, I came across a post from Perry Hadyn Taylor using Liquid Death’s proven marketing excellence as a way to discuss brand risks. It’s an excellent read. Perry shares, “When brands have a clear, compelling and inspiring purpose and an enemy, it makes everything so much easier and clearer when it comes to the creative process and marketing.” Moreover, this is exactly one of the ways you mitigate risks.

Startups and small businesses should take brand risks often and early. Train those muscles; build those habits. Balance emotion with logic by understanding the facts. It’s about weighing the potential risk versus benefits and grounding your analysis with what you know.

Oftentimes, early is when potential benefits stack up heavily against the risks. For example, it’s much harder to quit a corporate job when you’re 20 years in with a partner and children. Lean in when the downside is minimal. Create a foundation for risk-taking at the beginning. Inject it into the culture of your business so creative and risk-taking can live on even as the company grows.