10 Fears You Must Overcome When Starting a New Business
For every business owner who has met the demands of a payroll, many more don't make it past doing a first draft of a business plan. What's the main difference between those who drive profits and the ones who fumble and walk quietly back home?
It doesn't matter how many times entrepreneurs read their affirmations, the fears arise, challenging them every step of the way. Review this list of 10 things a business owner might fear and learn how it's possible to overcome them:
Related: Why Fear Is Your Ally in Business
1. Not knowing where to start.
Most entrepreneurs don't know where to start when first setting their ideas in motion. Start out by finding someone who achieved the goal you've set for yourself.
Read about the person, the structure of her business and reach out to see if she can offer advice or information. Even if businessperson doesn't have the time or an interest in speaking with you, you'll know that she has achieved success so it's possible for you.
Just take a step forward and do what makes sense. The path will unfold as you continue to walk.
2. Not being an expert.
You probably know enough about your product or service to answer the lion's share of questions and solve most issues that may arise. So don't worry if you don't feel like a complete expert in the field yet.
For the things you don't yet know, you can find answers. There is no shame in continuing to learn. In fact, this is a requirement for continued growth. You will never be finished learning: Wear the "expert" label anyway and commit yourself to excellence.
3. Being considered crazy.
Some people will think that you're crazy to start a new business and they will be correct. The safe and rational thing to do would be to never take a risk and work for someone else for the rest of your life.
Did you gag as you read that sentence? That's because you're an entrepreneur and risk taking is in your blood: You can't live without it.
You are a bit crazy to step out on a limb, believe in your talents and convince others to believe in them, too. Accept your craziness and then appreciate that it's the crazy ones who end up making a difference in the world, as Apple playfully suggested in this advertisement.
4. Not finding funding.
Being a business owner would be a breeze if every person with an idea could waltz into a bank and receive a loan or attract an angel investor. Since this is not a dream world, entrepreneurs without investors must jump-start their businesses anyway.
Even if you don't have the necessary capital at first, you'll soon learn that a slow and steady process of building the business may be the best thing after all.
Lola Cimmino, the creator of Chick Sticks, a high-end surf board manufacturer in Oceanside, Calif., sold her first custom surfboard, took the profit and invested it back into her business, never relying on borrowing or investors.
"I make better decisions by being forced to take my time with things," Cimmino told me by email. "It's really been a blessing in disguise."
5. Not being believed in.
Even if you have doubts that people will react well to your business because of your credentials, skin color, height or gender, show up anyway and deliver an outstanding service.
People might be influenced by an physical appearance but no one can argue with a solid work ethic. Even if at first no one believes in you, people will learn to believe in your results.
6. Not attracting customers.
It's terrifying to take the risk of offering your skills to the world, wondering if they'll be valued. Unless you start your business with an established audience of people ready to throw money at you, a stampede won't immediately swarm to knock your door down.
If you approach your business with joy, consistently delivering what's promised, you'll undoubtedly experience a turn of the tide. In the meantime, work your marketing plan feverishly, study to increase your level of expertise and be kind to yourself because you've already made it further than most.
7. Being incapable of handling success.
The flip side of enduring the dry spells of a new business is facing that you're offering exactly what the world has been waiting for.
Imagine that as you turn on the neon sign, people are lined up for blocks eager to see you. Does that notion scare you? Are you afraid that maybe you won't be able to handle the demands of running a successful business?
You're not the only one. A study published in the Journal of Social Issues presented the theory that women believe that demonstrating success will result in social criticism. Men and women alike may harbor the fear that too much of the limelight will alienate them from their peers.
It may be lonely at the top but someone has to be there to lead the progress of humanity.
8. Failing the family.
While you might be scared that your new enterprise will not provide for your family or be an embarrassment, what if someone told you that your family needs this experience to grow closer together? Your spouse needs you to lean on him or her for support.
Your children need to see you go for the gusto and give all to your dreams. Speak to members of your family and let them know that as you undertake this venture, you won't sacrifice their safety or let them go hungry. Talk openly with them about the risks you're about to take and how it's important that you invest your time and energy into the success of this business. Prepare your family as best as you can and ask them to walk this journey with you.
9. Not earning enough to recover an investment.
The definition of entrepreneur is all about a person who organizes and operates a business taking on greater than normal financial risks.
If you happen to invest in your business and don't see an immediate return, keep working. Should you quit before you earn a profit, you'll never earn a profit. And if you do decide to quit before your business sees a profit, remember that you raised the investment capital once. You can always do so again.
10. Discovering everything goes wrong.
You can't play a game of bowling without knocking down the pins. What do you do after they fall? Sit down and cry? No, you set the pins back up and play again.
Setting the pins back up is just a part of the game. When problems arise in business, this just provides you the chance to set the pins up again. As an entrepreneur, you most likely have what it takes to complete the game. So don't be afraid when the pins fall. You can set them upright again.
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