Success Strategies

The 3 Biggest Obstacles to Entrepreneurial Success

The 3 Biggest Obstacles to Entrepreneurial Success
Image credit: Tomasz Stasiuk | Flickr
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While many people dream of starting their own business, not everyone takes the plunge. Meanwhile, among those who do embark on an entrepreneurial pursuit, many face the difficult reality that 50 percent of new businesses will fail within five years.

Sometimes, success or failure depends less on external factors and more so on an entrepreneur’s mindset. Indeed, as economists have noted dating back to the 1930s, psychological factors have major impacts on economic behavior. 

Here are the three biggest psychological impediments to entrepreneurial success and how to overcome them:

1. Perfectionism 

For entrepreneurs, practice doesn’t make perfect; action does. You simply cannot wait until you are 100 percent ready before you take action.

Related: The Difference Between Successful and Very Successful People

I remember thinking that I needed to write out 25-page business plans before I could do anything. After all, that’s what I was taught in school. In reality, by the time your “perfect” business plan is out of the printer, it’s already dated. 

We always want to think things all the way through, but sometimes you need to just go for it, foregoing your perfect business plan and winging it with a five-page deck instead. The hardest part of giving up on perfectionism is to “own” your decision. While it is never going to be easy, if you let go of perfectionism, you will achieve better results.

2. Fear

Entrepreneurs’ resolve is tested from the very first step of starting a business. In fact, one of my entrepreneurship professors compared starting a business to jumping off a cliff and assembling your parachute on the way down. While it is that scary, if you succumb to your fear and never take the plunge, you have zero chance of succeeding. 

Related: To Achieve Your Best Results, Put on Blinders

In addition, entrepreneurs must overcome the fear of rejection. Here’s one exercise: Send out applications for awards, incubators and programs for which you are afraid you might not be qualified.  It worked for me. I took a chance and applied for the NYSE Big StartUpSM competition in 2012 and soon found myself standing on the podium ringing the Closing Bell.

Not giving in to fear of failure or rejection was the secret to my success. 

3. Worry

As an entrepreneur, worry comes with the territory. In fact, over a third of entrepreneurs told Gallup they worried a lot about yesterday. While worry is a quotidian experience, it is not productive. You have to make peace with the things that concern you, and not let them stop you from taking action and pursuing your dreams.

To achieve success as an entrepreneur, you must embrace action and let go of perfectionism, fear and worry. You have the power to transform your future by giving up on these three biggest impediments to reaching your goals.

Related: 5 Tips for Entrepreneurs to Keep Moving Forward