December 6, 2023


Supportive Business Potential

How to overcome your fear of starting a business

How to overcome your fear of starting a business

Businessman working on a laptop in an office [Courtesy]

Starting a business is both exciting and terrifying. If you’re giving up the security of a regular paycheck, it can be nerve-racking.

Not only will you be investing your savings into the venture, but also jeopardising your family’s livelihood.

It is normal to experience trepidation before taking any major step in life, starting a business venture included. However, you must not let fear hold you back from realising your dreams.

No great achievement has ever been attained without overcoming the fear of the unknown.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you conquer the fear of starting a business:

Don’t forget your why

While the ultimate goal of any business is to make money, this can only take your business so far. To be truly successful, you must have a deeper reason for starting a business. Is it to provide a product to a community that needs it? Is it to bring some innovation to life? Is it to improve service delivery in a given sector?

Having clearly defined goals (why) will strengthen your resolve when it falters. The reason you started the venture will keep you going despite the fears.

To keep your why in sight, write down a list of reasons why you want to start your business. Try to visualise how it would feel to achieve each one of your goals.

Confront your fears directly

To conquer fear, you have to know exactly what the fear is all about. Ask yourself: What scares me so much about starting a business?

Is it the uncertainty? Are you scared of failure? Are you afraid of risking your family’s livelihood? Are you overthinking the criticism? Are you stuck in analysis paralysis?

Write down your fears and analyse where they come from. You might discover that some of them are unfounded. Come up with solutions to mitigate the negative outcomes you are scared of.

For instance, if you’re scared of losing your income, you can start your business as a side hustle. Alternatively, you can save up for up to 12 months of expenses before you start your business. Having substantial savings will reduce your fear as you focus on growing your business.

Do your homework

One of the most powerful ways to allay your fears is by doing all your homework before launching your business. Don’t fall in love with an idea and act on it without adequate research and due diligence – that’s a recipe for disaster.

Well-done market research will show you which gap you’re filling in the market, how to best advertise your products, the kind of investment you have to make and the profits to expect.

While there will be plenty to learn on the job, market research helps you anticipate most of the major factors that will affect your business.

Take baby steps to success

Starting a business is no mean feat – that’s why it can be so intimidating. But as the adage goes, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

You will not have to get everything done all at once. Break down your big goals into smaller ones. You can tackle each day, week or month at a time.

Focusing on small steps along the way will relieve the pressure of failing at a monumental task. When your mind can focus on small, achievable tasks every day, the resistance is minimised or eliminated. As the small steps start bringing success, your motivation will also improve.

Change your attitude towards failure

The fear of failure can be debilitating. Many people take failure too personally. They believe that failing at something means that they’re not good enough or smart enough.

Such beliefs are just misconceptions. Even the best entrepreneurs have at one time suffered failure in their journey to success.

What separates successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones is their attitude towards failure. While it is painful, failure carries many lessons for a discerning entrepreneur.

It can show you exactly what to do to achieve the success you desire.

Set up a limited liability company to prevent business loss from affecting your personal assets. Even if your business is a sole proprietorship, you can file for bankruptcy to prevent personal losses.

After failing, take time to regroup before starting your next venture or reinvesting. Write down what went wrong, what went right and what you could have done differently.

This would give you a clearer perspective if you either choose to reinvest or begin a new venture.