One of the joys of running your own business is that you get to decide what happens next. You don’t have to do what a boss is telling you. But sometimes, that can backfire if you avoid doing things that make you scared or uncomfortable. Yes, you may be able to get your business to a certain level of success without ever facing your demons. But if you want to achieve breakthrough growth, you need to push past the fears that are holding you back.
What kinds of fears are you facing (or failing to face)?
Below are some common ones:
Fear Of Technology
Technology moves so fast today that sometimes it’s tempting to just throw up your hands and say, “I’ll never get up to speed.” Well, your business can’t afford that attitude. Even if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool technophobe, you need to get over it, because today technology is essential to give your small business an edge.
Start by hiring someone (inside or outsourced) who knows the stuff you don’t and can get your company up to speed. If you must, take a class (online or off) to learn the basics. Enlist a patient friend to tutor you. Anything that gets you comfortable with what you need to know.
Fear Of Sales
This is a huge one for lots of entrepreneurs, myself included. When we first started our business, I struggled with fears of seeming pushy, aggressive or money-grubbing when I went out to ask for the sale. I wish I could tell you there’s some easy formula for getting over this fear, but there isn’t.
I just had to do it over and over, until it got easier (I didn’t say easy). Practice makes (almost) perfect.
Fear Of Being A Boss
When your company is young and small, it’s easy to feel like you and your tiny team are pretty much equals, and that’s more comfortable for many entrepreneurs who don’t want to be perceived as the distant “boss-man.” However, as your business grows, you’ll have to distance yourself a bit so you can take on sometimes scary tasks like making unpopular decisions, or disciplining employees who aren’t working out.
I’m not saying you can’t be a nice, friendly boss, but acknowledging that you are the boss is a crucial step in getting your business to the next level.
Fear Of Networking
It’s easier than ever to network through social media today, and many of us are great at that. But you also need to go offline sometimes and get up close and personal. Networking has earned an unfortunate reputation as phony “schmoozing,” but in reality, it’s how relationships are built and business is done.
Make sure you invite your online connections out for coffee or lunch on a regular basis, attend networking events and industry conferences, and generally put yourself out there. If you’re shy (like I am), start with things in your comfort zone (like coffee with one person) and move up to the big leagues gradually—but do move up, or your business won’t.
Fear Of Success
When you get stuck in the day-to-day running your business and making payroll, sometimes your sights get set too low. Do that long enough, and you may decide it’s not worth dreaming big because you’ll never get there anyway.
That’s the surest route to business stagnation and a ho-hum life. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, take your eyes off the ground and make time to look at the stars.