Building a small business involves taking risks. But taking risks – especially the big bold ones that move your business to the next level – often requires getting out of your comfort zone. Being creatures of habit, this is easier said than done. So just how do you take action when your inclination is to stay safely under the covers of your ‘security blanket?’ 

In a recent article in Entrepreneur, freelance writer Nadia Goodman offers several creative ways to shake things up and as she says, “get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable.”  Goodman’s recommendations include:

Take an improv class: An improv class forces you to think on your feet so it can help to foster creativity and innovation. The experience better equips you to turn any idea – no matter how over the top – into a brilliant one rather than dismiss it.

Switch places with the receptionist: What better way to see your company than from the perspective of someone who deals with everyone who works there and anyone who walks through the door? You might choose someone other than your receptionist, but you get the idea.

Open yourself up to scrutiny: Afraid to hear the bad stuff? Put yourself on the spot — right into your company support forum to find out what your customers REALLY are saying about you. If you don’t have a forum, be the one who handles Facebook or Twitter posts for a while and engage directly with your customers.

Whatever action you take to get out of your comfort zone – it might be as simple as taking a trip somewhere that you’ve always wanted to go – step one is realizing that you need to change.  And, it could be a really small step.  Sometimes taking small steps is more of a catalyst for change than a big hefty step.

Next plan what you want to achieve and what it’s going to take for you to get there. For example, you may need to be more visible in your industry or more assertive about marketing and new business. Don’t let the fear of failing get in your way. Accept that you are going to make mistakes but that each one will be a learning experience. Also keep in mind that there is more than one right or wrong answer to anything and more than one correct outcome.

When you succeed in reaching your goal, reflect on it. Take stock of what you have learned so you can apply it to the next experience. Also celebrate getting out of your comfort zone. It took some doing and you deserve a pat on the back.