It is commonly accepted that death, divorce and moving house are the most stressful experiences that anyone has to face. I would argue that starting a new business is right up there in the same category. In my experience, having ventured down this path on a number of occasions, the most frightening part is the fear that the new venture will fail and that your investment, both financial and emotional, will be lost. All these fears are fully justified because, as Forbes Magazine points out, eight out of ten new businesses crash and burn within 18 months.
I have two observations to make on this. Firstly, if the new business is a franchise that has been accredited and is a member of the bfa, the failure statistics are dramatically different, with success being enjoyed by a massive 95% and only a tiny 5% failing. Secondly, most successful people rate the fear of failure as a more powerful motivator than the thrill of success. The elation experienced by winning a race or beating the opposing team only lasts until the next race or game. In business, the pleasure of winning a new order or having a record profit year is also pretty transient – but the fear of failure is nearly always there.
So it is important to recognise that the fear of failure can be the single most valuable motivator you have. But it should not be regarded as a deterrent from going into business, especially if it is a franchise. In fact, what it can do is drive you to succeed: it can be your friend.
Some fears are reasonable while others are not. You need to identify your fear and work with it. Good fear is the kind that screams “don’t walk into a burning building” or makes you question whether you have the right aptitude and mindset to run your own business. Bad fear is the kind that prevents you from entering a room that has a spider on the ceiling or holds you back from moving forward in life and reaching your goals because you are more afraid of the failing than giving it your best shot. The key is to be able to recognise whether your fear about striking out on your own is a rational fear, before deciding if it can be managed or overcome with hard-work, determination and a good business plan.
To be frank, if you don’t feel a little fear when you make a decision to launch your own business, then you are probably not putting your whole heart into it. So don’t let fear paralyse you: see it as a call to action and let it drive you forward, instead of standing in the way of you achieving your ambitions.