Michelle Mone: We may fear taking chances, but risks are a must

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The Independent Online

In my experience, women are more risk-averse than men but some women definitely take more risks than others. If that is down to testosterone, I think I had better take a test.

I don't think it is possible to be successful in business, male or female, without taking risks. To be successful you have to learn to be comfortable doing that on a day-to-day basis. I took risks yesterday, and I will take them tomorrow. It's part of your life in business.

Every single meeting has been a risk, as has every person I have ever employed, and every business decision I have ever taken. You have to trust yourself to make a gut decisio, and that can be intimidating at times. The difference is that I have bigger balls than any man I have ever come across. Just yesterday, I defied all of my colleagues by insisting on the introduction of an embroidery pattern they did not consider to be Ultimo material.

It is the first time I have gone against all of them, so it is my neck on the line. I am sure the new designs will be a success but, most importantly, I have broad enough shoulders to take responsibility if they are not. What is important is calculating the risks that you take. At the start of my career, I had to put a lot more on the line than I do now. I took risks on my house to build up the business.

There is a fear among women of taking chances. I find women more calculating than men, they tend to get facts straight and take the safe route. But to get a business moving forward, risks are a must. There are things we women are better at than men. The stereotypical example is multi-tasking. Men just cannot do it – they need a woman to help them.

Michelle Mone is the boss of Ultimo lingerie

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