"An good and successful entrepreneur is not a risk taker. He cannot think of himself in those terms. How would he convince other people if he himself thought that the whole venture was a risk? How would he get funding? How would he get people to do work for him if he constantly thought he was taking a risk. To him, his idea is everything. His plan is all carefully worked out. People outside, who don't know the plan, use frivolous words like 'risk taker'. To him its a done deal. He is sure his plan will get him there. Its not a question of 'if' but 'when'."
That to me rings true. If 'risk taking' was a factor in some body's business plans then taking a 12 std public exam will also qualify as a entrepreneurial venture. Because 12 years of a person's life is wasted if he fails and everything is doomed for him. Isn't having 'everything to lose' the substance of the risk attributed to entrepreneurs? By that definition of risk everybody is taking a risk, aren't they? The lowest bar is risk. Let me take another trivial example; a few people ask me "how did you quit work, join business school, take a 140K loan within months after your marriage? You are a big risk taker?" Hell No. I am the most paranoid guy, I have ever seen. 95% of BSchool students end up in jobs. A huge majority of them in really decent jobs. So if someone joining Bschool thought s/he was taking a risk, I am not sure how they navigated through all those interviews and networking-related scrutiny with that kind of self-doubt. Some of the most risk-averse people, I have met went to Bschool with me.
If risk taking was a standard then pretty much a gzillion people would become awesome entrepreneurs. Because the risk involved in going to bschool is pretty much the same as starting a company or writing a 12 std exam. All have 'everything' to lose. 'Risk' is not a distinguishing dimension. It has infact clouded the analysis and due diligence aspect of starting your own venture. The significant dimension is the content and preparation for the venture. This is obvious when you say the venture is a 12 std exam. But not so when venture = start-up. Its the people who don't know the requisite information that label the unknown as 'risk'.
It is in the content. It is in the idea and its execution plan. That's what a good entrepreneur should worried about. The rest are incidental details and useless hype.
p.s: Risk has many contexts. Don't confuse market risk beta with 'risk' bhaskar.