Fear is one of the biggest reasons people do not start a business, one of the biggest reasons people fail to grow their business to the level they could and one of the biggest reasons people do not recover from a business set back.
In this current uncertain time, fear is going to be more prominent than ever. With the uncertainty of financial support available, the uncertainty of whether we will have customers and the uncertainty of illness for us and staff, businesses are scared and understandably so. Statistics show that 75% of businesses fail within the first year and this was before our current crisis.
Fear of failure
Fear around business can come in many forms. Most commonly is the fear of failure. In fact, business aside, this is one of the most common fears humans have. Many fears, whatever they are, often come back to a fear of failure. None of us want to fail and it can bring up all sorts of uncomfortable emotions that make us feel inadequate, unloved and unsuccessful.
Fear of the unknown
Another common fear in business is the fear of the unknown. Building a business involves creativity and innovation and this comes with it’s uncertainties. If a process or direction doesn’t work, we need to rethink. We don’t know how things will pan out, not to mention whether we will generate a profit and this fear of the unknown scares some people. We can plan, strategize and research, but it still involves a certain amount of risk. The fear of the unknown is at it’s peak in times like now as a threat like the Corona Virus means no-one can predict the future and what will happen to businesses during this time.
Fear can make or break your business
Fear is inevitable when you own a business and it can be an entrepreneurs best friend and worst enemy at the same time. How you perceive your situation and use your fear can be the difference between success and failure. The same fear can illicit two very different responses. A fear of failure can stop a person from trying. If you don’t try you can never fail right? Equally, a fear of failure can be a person’s driving force to succeed. It is the latter that is going to protect your business during this time, and you need to ensure this is your mindset going forward if you want to be amongst the business that not only survive, but thrive.
Follow these 4 steps to help you turn fear into your driving force, rather than letting it impact your business:
1. See fear as positive
If you feel fear, it is a warning. Recognise that. Fear is the bodies response to threat and so if you are frightened, there is a reason. Feeling fear in a time like this is justified, it is scary unknown territory we are entering. Use your fear as a reason to push forward and escape what you are frightened of. Once you have heeded this warning from your body, don’t go into panic mode. Take time to sit with your fears and reflect on them. What are you really afraid of? Is it financial worries that are driving your fear? Fear of looking foolish? Fear of not being able to provide? Identify the root cause of your fears and then work with that as your focus when considering your options.
2. Make a plan
Once you have sat with your fears, make a plan to help you move forward. Think about what you really want and make that your priority. If you have a goal that is something you really want, it can become your driving force. Only set goals that mean something, or you will have no push to achieve them and fear may mean excuses start to creep in.
3. Know when you are making excuses
Excuses are the best friend of fear. More often than not, when we come up with a reason not to do something, it’s due to fear. ‘The economic climate is so bad there is no point’. Is this true or is it an excuse? Granted, right now it’s certainly not the best breeding ground for businesses but is not trying really just an excuse to protect you from failing? Simple excuses such as ‘I’m too tired’, or ‘I haven’t got the time’ are common excuses that we give ourselves not to try.
It’s important that when we find ourselves making excuses, we recognise this and nip it in the bud. We can do this by making small changes to make these excuses invalid. If we are tired, we need to change our schedule, so we are not working late at night, or factor in regular breaks for example.
4. Change your perception of failure
No one likes to fail but isn’t it an important and inevitable part of life? Any successful businessperson will tell you that to succeed, they had to go through a period of failure. It is through our failure that we learn to be successful. In society we celebrate success and as a result, failure becomes the opposite of success and is seen as negative. This is unrealistic and unhealthy. Change your perception of failure and view it as a part of life. It is neither positive or negative, it is necessary to learn and grow.
Out of crisis can come wonderful things. It provokes a new way of seeing the world, a new way of dealing with pain and solutions that may not have been considered before. This is an opportunity for your business if you are able to use your fear positively.
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