Starting a business isn't easy. There are so many things to do, research, test and explore before you can take the plunge. When you add the fear of failure to the mix, it's no surprise that many aspiring small business owners never get their businesses off the ground.
Fear of failure can be paralyzing. It can make you question what you're doing and why you're doing it. Fear can cause you to overplan, and never take the first step. It can eat away at your confidence, and eventually, leave you feeling incapable of taking action.
But fear can also be motivating. When you know what you're reaching for, and are aware of the fear that might hold you back, you can take steps to use the uncertainty and worry to propel yourself forward.
If you're starting a business or on the brink of another significant accomplishment, use these tips to overcome the fear of failure and push through to success.
1. Do Your Research
Fear of failure can often be exacerbated when there is a lengthy list of unknowns. While you can't possibly have every piece of relevant information, arming yourself with the most important data and using it to make smarter decisions can help alleviate the fear of failing. Having access to information, and being "in the know" can be empowering.
One thing to be cautious of when researching and gathering information is not focusing so much on data that you lose sight of the purpose. It is possible to become so enthralled in the research stage that you enter a passive, stationary mode, and have an even harder time taking action. Be diligent and thorough when gathering information, but keep it in perspective.
2. Create a Solid Plan
Writing a business plan isn't easy, but it is usually well worth the time you put into it. An effective plan can help you take an idea from the earliest stage and create a thriving business. It can act as your roadmap by guiding you through the entire business startup and growth process.
Setting goals can also be an effective way to stick to a plan and eliminate some of the fear. Breaking down your larger goals into small action steps and using the SMART goal setting method can be effective ways to use planning to reduce the fear of failure.
3. Identify a Plan B
Some may say that creating a contingency plan sets you up for failure, but in reality, having a fall-back plan can make it easier to take a chance. When you start a business, you are taking a measured risk, and by considering the possible outcomes and planning for them accordingly, you can build confidence and be secure in your decisions.
It's also important to note that your Plan B doesn't have to focus solely on an alternative course that you will take if you are to fail. Your Plan B can be a way for you to consider and plan for alternative paths to your end goal. This can give you flexibility and help you make adjustments to your primary goal as you go through the process.
4. Consider the Price of Inaction
Envisioning what may happen if you don't take a chance by striving for your goal and starting a business can be a powerful motivator. The thought of what it may feel like, now and in the future, to know that you had a dream to start a business and never took the leap may be enough to push you past the fear.
5. Get Support
When you do something alone, it's easy to get stuck inside your own head. The uncertainty, questions and fear of failure can be overwhelming when you don't have a support system to join you on your journey. Your support system could be a business partner, spouse, mentor, coach, friend or local networking group. As long as your support system boosts your confidence, helps you think objectively and cheers you on, you can often reduce the fear of failure because you know you are not alone.
Fear is not a bad thing. It can make you work harder, prepare more and enjoy your success fully. If you're starting a business and feel overcome by a fear of failure, trying letting go and embracing the challenge, and you may be surprised where it takes you.