They say, the only thing to fear is fear itself. 

It’s a nice saying, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of practical advice. Thankfully, we’re here to help business owners overcome their fears of failure with some helpful advice and strategies. 

Specifically, we’ll be talking about these strategies:

  • Know that everybody fails
  • Redefine failure
  • Hope for the best
  • Plan for the worst
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Celebrate your victories
  • Learn from the mistakes of others
  • Be more afraid of the alternative
  • Make a business plan

Remember, these are not techniques to help your business succeed. They are just simple things that will prevent you from getting in your own way with nagging doubts and fears. 

Take care of yourself, and you can take care of the business. 

Know that everybody fails

This is something that everybody knows, but nobody really takes to heart.

Very few people are successful on their first attempt. And those that are, are incredibly lucky. The main takeaway is to stop comparing yourself to others, go at your own pace. 

There’s an old saying, “comparison is the thief of joy”. We’re not saying you shouldn’t pay attention to what other business owners are doing, but don’t feel bad if others are doing better than you. 

Redefine failure

In many cases, the fear of failure is really the fear of what will happen if you fail. For example, you might be afraid of looking foolish or letting somebody down. 

To help overcome that fear, you can redefine what you mean when you think about failure. For example, when running a business, many people might consider these are failures:

  • Not making a profit
  • Not getting investors
  • Not sustaining growth 

If in your mind, achieving anything less than the best possible outcome is a failure, then you’re setting yourself an incredibly high bar and setting yourself up for disappointment. You might not achieve everything you could’ve hoped for, but it’s still a long way from complete failure. 

Hope for the best

A little optimism will go a long way in business. There’s no point in starting a business at all if you don’t think you can succeed. 

Believing in yourself alone won’t make you successful, but it’s definitely a key ingredient that most successful business owners have. After all, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Plan for the worst

Failures are often much worse in our heads than in reality. So thinking about it in real terms is a good way of taking the power away from it. 

You shouldn’t expect to fail.  But you should know that, first of all, it’s a real possibility and, second, it’s not the end of the world. 

Think about a time you’ve failed in your life before, and what happened after. 

Did the world end? Did it ruin your life?

Probably not. 

Most likely, it was upsetting for a while then you moved on. This is the reality for most failures – you dust yourself off and keep going. 

Learn from your mistakes

Nobody likes failure, but try not to beat yourself up about it too much. Instead, learn from the mistakes you’ve made. 

Not only will this prepare you for the future, it will turn your failure into a positive experience. If you can master that mindset, you’ll actually bounce back faster too. Eventually, mistakes and failures will barely phase you at all.  

Celebrate your victories

As we’ve mentioned above, mistakes and failures are opportunities to improve. 

That said, focusing too much on your failures will just drag you down in the long run and make you more afraid of the future. 

Take the time to celebrate victories of any size. It’ll improve your overall state of mind and assure you that, while you are making mistakes, there’s a lot you’re doing right too. 

Learn from the mistakes of others

Everybody makes mistakes. It’s comforting to know, yes, but it’s also a valuable resource. 

Most successful people will have some form of biography published online where you can see where they went wrong. But something a little closer to home could be more valuable to you specifically. 

Ask more experienced people in your industry for advice and guidance, what they wished they’d known at the beginning, and what they would have done differently. 

Be more afraid of the alternative

Fear in general can be a powerful motivator, so try to use that power to your advantage. 

The fear of failure is daunting, yes, and can stop you from achieving your goals. But the alternative, doing nothing at all, should be scarier. 

It can help to visualise your fear as a physical being, like a dragon. Imagine the fear of failure as a dragon, guarding the gates to success, preventing you from going any further. 

The alternative, inaction, is an even bigger, scarier dragon, but it’s behind you. The key difference is that the dragon behind you chases you forward, toward success. 

Make a business plan

A strong business plan is essential for success. But more than that, it’ll actually make you feel less afraid of the future. 

The best way to handle fear is to confront it head-on. Well, that’s exactly what a business plan does. It tells you exactly what you’re trying to achieve, what to expect, and what to do next.

For a detailed guide on how to write a successful business plan, check out our article. 

Keep on top of your finances with Countingup

Failure in business often amounts to your financial situation. So the best way to overcome that fear is by staying in control of your finances. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.

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