Do you have a dream of starting your own business?
So what’s holding you back? For some, its not having an idea. For others, it is fearing the lose of hard-earned savings. Others think about what their friends might think of them.
All of these and many of the other reasons given really come down to the fear of failure. It seems so scary and would be so devastating.
Before you let those fears take over, think back. Did you ride your bike the first time you tried? I have several times where I tumbled to the ground. Or how about when you learned to drive? I suspect all of us did not always hear encouraging words from our driving instructor.
The fear of failure is common among aspiring business owners. The desire is there, maybe even the idea, and, at times, all of the pieces and planning. The only thing missing is starting. So how do you move forward?
The first thing is acknowledge it exists. We all feel failure. One author, Kevin McCarthy wrote, “Fear of failure or success is one and the same. Both are fear of exposure. Not of our strengths, but of our weaknesses.” Aspiring owners are afraid of losing money and the time it will cost them if the business does not succeed.
The fear is real with between 50 to 80 percent of businesses will not be there in five years. But understand what that means. Many of these business terminations occur but no one, except the owner and perhaps family and friends, are owed any money. It is a business that just didn’t work out. Business owners saw a better opportunity and either transitioned the business into something else or just closed the first one and opened another. In view of all the businesses that start, only a few close via bankruptcy in the grand scheme of things. Businesses close for lots of reasons.
The second thing to remember is failure is okay. It happens and is just part of the learning process. As Edison said, “I never failed once. It just happened to be a 200l-step process.” Or the words of General Colin Powell, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure.” Entrepreneurs fail. Think of Sam Walton or Henry Ford. Ford recognized this when he wrote, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”
So don’t let the fear of failure be your excuse. It isn’t a given that you will fail. Many businesses plan, work hard, adjust when needed and end up being a success. Perhaps the words that inspire so many aspiring and existing entrepreneurs are those of William Feather, “No man is a failure who is enjoying life.”
So don’t let fear stop your dream. Look for an opportunity, see if the market responds well to your idea, put your plan together and go for it.
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Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.