According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months of operation. These are daunting odds, and hoping to be among the 2 successful ventures is not enough. It is crucial to take action to face one’s fears and overcome them, wishing and hoping will not get you far. A proactive mindset will serve you well during the start-up phase of your business, and this attitude is also a helpful habit to cultivate throughout the lifespan of your venture. Fear is a powerful motivator, and we often give it too much negative power over our lives. By embracing these feelings and harnessing them as motivators, we can eliminate the immobility caused by fear of failure.
Before starting down the path to starting your business, be sure that you are prepared. Formulate a comprehensive business plan, determine a strategy, and identify goals and how you will measure your progress. A well thought out business plan will also prove invaluable when meeting with bankers and other potential capital partners. By having a fully fleshed-out plan for market differentiation and revenue stream creation, you will be better equipped to correct course when things go awry, and your enterprise will be much more attractive to investors.
CONTINUOUSLY FINE-TUNE YOUR GAME PLAN
Think of your business plan as a work in progress, and know that you will need to revisit it as you progress through your company launch. Your in-depth approach to launching your business will give you the intelligence to see what is working and what isn’t fast enough to make the necessary corrections. Taking a proactive approach will also allow you to acknowledge mistakes and face them head-on rather than trying to bury your head in the sand.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEARS
Consider worst case scenarios, face your darkest fears, and then strategize ways to ensure that these fears never become your reality. Create plans for how to best deal with expected crises and obstacles, and have the mental wherewithal to know that unexpected problems will arise. If you do your best to prepare for the worst, you will give yourself the chance to handle the situation successfully. Always be the best you can be.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE
As you are going through the arduous process of getting a business off of the ground, be sure to keep your goals in mind, especially when things get rough. Many people are too willing to throw in the towel after the first rough patch, especially when they have entered a situation without the appropriate level of planning. Previous goal setting will pay-off in these important moments. When you are feeling down, focus on your goals and remember why you’ve started this venture; this focus will help you continue working toward success.
HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY
Through your analysis and preparation, you will be able to create a well-informed exit strategy should things go wrong. If you do fail, and that is okay, you will need to evaluate all of your options. Declaring bankruptcy, while never a welcome turn of events, can allow you to move on to your next venture with less negative impact. Other, less severe exit strategies include sale of the company, taking on a partner, utilizing small business loans, or returning to the conventional workforce. Again, planning for the worst possible outcome can help you to avoid it altogether. If you are constantly updating your business plan and making the necessary refinements, the future need for an exit strategy will likely lessen.
Yes, starting a business is an incredibly risky venture, and the chances of failure can be daunting. Taking action to overcome these fears can help to alleviate anxiety, while also increasing the likelihood of success.