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How to Embrace the Motivating Power of Fear and Reach Your Highest Goals So many entrepreneurs get caught up in the excitement of making an impact with their new business and the income potential it may provide, but this can blind you to the sometimes harsh realities of scaling a startup. You can plan for them though — here's how.

By Nancy Solari Edited by Kara McIntyre

Key Takeaways

  • Grant yourself permission to make mistakes.
  • Consider all possibilities of a scenario when in the planning stages so you're not caught off guard if things go wrong.
  • Have a structure in place for everything from the start.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For any entrepreneur starting a business, deciding whether the risk is worth the reward can be intimidating. But the key to scaling a business concept is to embrace the "fear factor" — let it teach you the right steps to take toward real growth. In the early days, it's easy to get swept up in visions of wealth and fame. But the excitement of making an impact and the income potential can blind you to the realities. Here are three strategies to give you the staying power to reach your highest goals.

Grant yourself permission to make mistakes

You're not always going to have the right information to make the perfect decision. Don't let fear of making a move keep you from growing your business. When you're considering the risk versus reward, build in the inevitability of gaffes, missteps and bad decisions. You're going to make them, and these errors in judgment will probably not bring the end of the world. In fact, even if you never made a mistake, you could still lose your business.

On the other hand, many mistakes and oversights can be avoided with a little proactive planning. For example, business meetings are fertile ground for misunderstandings. Different people walk away from a meeting with entirely different perspectives on what was said. To avoid this confusion, you should have a policy that everything is in writing. Taking minutes in meetings, insisting on written agreements and keeping communication lines open will help keep some of the confusion to a minimum.

In my own business, I take advantage of technology that allows me to hold online conference calls — audio only — and have them recorded. Anyone can listen to the recording; this not only helps with clarifying decisions in staff meetings, but it also assists my team and me with interviews, planning meetings and writing assignments. Zoom gives you the video and audio component as well, of course, with the added benefit of chat comments and digital whiteboard instruction. Recording even one-on-one sessions can prevent the constant barrage of emails or multiple phone calls where I'm merely repeating myself.

Related: The Path to Success Is Filled With Mistakes. Do These Four Things to Tap Into Their Growth Potential.

Consider all possibilities when planning

From the beginning, there are baby steps to starting a business; small decisions that carry a lot of weight. When you look at what you are trying to build, you must decide whether your enterprise is best built by yourself or whether you need partners. Since you know your skill set best, think of what you need that other talent could bring to the table. I work with a team of professionals on the TV show I created. Together, we have a synergy. Our combined skills cover operations, fundraising, production and education.

This strategy works in any business. For example, a contractor who provides the labor could team up with an investor who finances the projects. The right person for your business could be someone who has expertise, connections or even influence. It's important to take the time to think about the foundation you are building upon and who can help you get there.

In the planning stages, it's important to take the best and worst-case scenarios to the limit. Allowing your mind to cover all the possibilities is healthy for you and your enterprise. Growing a business brings highs and lows — it's part of the territory — and you have to be prepared for this. Let's assume you experience real growth and attract investors. You will have to expand. You must have accounting support to oversee that kind of growth. You should already be considering potential candidates or firms to handle the money. Depending on what business you have, you might consider inviting an attorney, an accountant or a marketing guru as a foundation partner to minimize risk — and save costs.

Rather than waiting until the need arises, be thinking about who will cover for you if you get sick; how you will be paid; what your hiring process will look like; and how you will grow and compensate your team.

Related: 5 Fears All Entrepreneurs Face (and How to Conquer Them)

Have a structure in place for everything from the start

You may not realize it, but the clock starts ticking the minute you begin to invest your time, spend seed money and put people to work building your new business. Regret can become your worst enemy. You don't want to look back and say to yourself, "I wish I had done that sooner" or "I've wasted so much time." There is a real danger that you may miss out on an opportunity or fail to maximize your potential. The best way to avoid regret is to have a structure in place for everything you do — from the beginning.

From the start, work out your branding, logo, slogan and message, making sure everything is in sync — from the email to the website, even the advertising and billing. The customer service account specialists need to know your message, how your company began and what the company's mission is. If everyone on your team is in alignment, there is a greater chance that your clients will come to know your purpose. Remember, it's not what you do; it's who you are and what you stand for that matters.

Develop a hiring process and departmental training guides with multi-media components to reach every person's learning style. Something as simple as a list of emails and passwords or links to important sites in a training guide can save your employees time and avoid confusion. Use digital tools for simple tasks such as social media posting or appointment scheduling. Make as many things as possible automated to keep work flowing.

Whether you start the business by yourself or assemble a team, every entrepreneur needs support. You truly can't do it alone. Regret is most acutely felt when we as executives look back at all the things we missed in our personal lives because we were so busy growing the business. Many leaders are people who can't rest. They almost always feel that there is something else they should be doing. But slowing down and celebrating victories great and small help me remember why I'm doing all of this in the first place. In the first planning session for your enterprise, build a support system that keeps you from burning out and missing what is truly important in your life.

Related: 8 Ways to Harness the Power of Fear for Personal Success

Final thoughts

You can be proactive in the way you start your company. Facing your fears by accepting your imperfections, running the scenarios and building a regret-free business will keep your vision clear and your productivity high. By embracing the things that can go wrong, you will reap the benefits and build the kind of success your entire organization can share.

Nancy Solari

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of Living Full Out

Nancy Solari is an accomplished CEO, TV and radio host, business and life coach, writer and motivational speaker. As host of Nonprofit MVP and the national Living Full Out Radio Show, she shares her tools for success with audiences and organizations all around the country.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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