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Believe it or not, entrepreneurs are beset by doubts and concerns. Here are some common ones - and how to overcome them.
As an entrepreneur, you will face risks, obstacles and successes all the way from company registration through to the point where your business becomes more stable and starts gathering momentum.
This journey will probably change you as a person - and change can be terrifying especially if it takes you out of your comfort zone. While each entrepreneur and each business is unique, there are few common fears which most entrepreneurs starting a business will have had an experience with, at some point or another.
1. Fear of failure
This “mother of all fears” is one that could potentially rear its head in various spheres of life, and psychologists believe that it heads the list of fears hindering prospective entrepreneurs. No one wants to invest time, money, hopes and dreams into a venture only to watch it fail.
Failure will set you back no matter what, but you cannot allow the fear of failure compromise your decision-making. Failure marks the end of your entrepreneurial journey only if you allow it to. Otherwise, you can just consider it as a small break in the long journey to your final destination.
2. Running out of money
Entrepreneurs who fear running out capital probably have a well-founded concern. Starting a business usually requires a considerable amount of money, which tends to come from the entrepreneur's savings, family, or even from investors.
Being unable to establish a reliable source of revenue before this capital is exhausted can be a major headache. A loss of your capital can be very hard to bear, especially if the loss also represents a loss of your life savings or your reputation in front of your friends, family or investors.
You can increase your chances of success by testing your product in small sections of the market before spending the bulk of your capital on it. This will give you a chance to gain some feedback quickly and improve the product if need be, before committing your capital towards a product which may need more work.
3. Not being good enough
The fear of not being good enough can be debilitating to new entrepreneurs, whether it means not being good enough to run a business, or not being good enough to be competitive. One key strategy for conquering this fear is to begin by investigating the demand for your product using a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
An MVP is the most basic version of your product or offering which is able to demonstrate its capabilities. It does not have to be perfect, it just has to be acceptable enough to communicate your product/service to your potential customers. Once this is established, you can then build out the product based on any feedback that you receive.
4. Being overwhelmed
It is no secret that the life of an entrepreneur is one that is riddled with stress, obstacles and a gruelling amount of work. On the other hand, however, it encompasses a lifestyle where you are in the driver's seat and are able to control whatever factors are threatening to overwhelm you.
One way to overcome this fear is by outsourcing any tasks causing a drain on you. If you are overwhelmed with administrative work, you can outsource it. If your sales team is not delivering results, you can restrategize and employ fresh talent. There are always solutions available, so you do not need to bear the burden alone.
5. Fear of the unknown
When starting a business, you really don't know what you don't know. “The Unknown” is obscure and impossible to prepare for. At the point where you first get your business plan and company registration underway, you really cannot tell the magnitude of the task you will be undertaking.
While many entrepreneurs find this thought thrilling, others find it terrifying. Whatever the case, the unknown is not to be feared, only experienced - and the rewards for experiencing it are immense. You could create a lot of great business connections, stumble on something great, and at worst, any mistakes that you make could turn into a learning experience for you.
Sometimes the fear of being humiliated or ridiculed by friends or family can surpass the fear of failure itself. You may be surprised to realise that your inner circle might even be more supportive than you realise and that your fears may well be unfounded.
7. Fear of letting others down
This is actually a healthy fear to have, as this is one fear that can also double up as a great motivator. You will probably be terrified at the thought of letting your customers down, and this is understandable as your customers represent the set of people who trust you enough to purchase your products and services.
The upside of this is that you have no choice but to provide great products or services that live up to your customer's expectations. Another set of people whom you cannot let down are your employees. Your loyal employees will have bought into your vision, and they may have dependents indirectly depending on your success.
Knowing that you have these people looking up to you can either cripple you or sharpen your focus.
8. Fear of being wrong
After launching your business, one of 3 things can terminate your idea: being wrong about your product, being wrong about your marketing strategy or being wrong about your audience.
To minimise the risk of either of these happening, you will need to be intentional about your strategy from the very beginning. Think about what you want to achieve – one outcome at a time and test your idea in small segments before you invest time and resources on a campaign which may or may not be successful.
9. Being underprepared
If you are waiting to feel ready before taking the plunge, you will probably never feel completely ready. The truth is that the perfect moment will probably not present itself. You must seize the moment and make it perfect by taking calculated action.
Success comes more from taking action than from thinking about taking action. If you master the art of taking the first step, you will find that you will learn more from one mistake than you will from an eternity of daydreaming.
10. Lack of originality
You might be fearful of the notion that most ideas have already been implemented, and that you are unlikely to have the capacity to bring anything of significance to the table. Don’t buy into this.
While it is true that most things have been done, your idea has not yet been implemented by you. You are a unique individual, and once you put your experience and personality behind your product offering, it becomes authentic to you. One thing that cannot be duplicated is the value perceived by your customers when they encounter your unique product.
11. Lack of knowledge
Most successful entrepreneurs did not start in business with an omnipresent knowledge of every single action and every single outcome of their actions. They probably just started with a vision of what goals they wanted to achieve, and there’s a lot to learn from this. While you need to have an idea and a vision to focus on, the path to achieving your goals will continuously be under development.
So, do not wait until every single idea is fully developed before taking action. Recognise what you know and what you need to do, and take action on it. And the rest? You can either learn from the experts your field or outsource whatever can be outsourced.
You can begin by monitoring entrepreneurs who are already accomplishing the results you desire and pay attention to what actions they take. Buy their products, follow them on social media, opt into their mailing lists – basically, keep an eye out for any communication that they put out. By doing this, you will be able to learn their operating strategies direct from the source, allowing you to model whatever appeals to you in your own business.
For gaps in your knowledge or areas where you lack expertise, you can outsource tasks to experts in the field who can be hired as virtual assistants. These experts are likely to achieve results faster and more efficiently than you could, with the added advantage of freeing your time up to focus on tasks that cannot be outsourced.
The more you face your fears, the less power they have over you. You need to remember that you are far more powerful than you realize, so believe in yourself and trust in your ability to deliver. Entrepreneurship might be unpredictable but it is the path you chose, so focus on your vision and don’t allow your fears rob you of your dreams.
Eleven Biggest Fears Of Entrepreneurs And How To Conquer Them