Fear of failure is a barrier to success


Fear of failure is a barrier to success



If you speak to most successful entrepreneurs you will discover that failure has often played a central role in their success.  Despite this, so many entrepreneurs today have allowed their mind sets to be completely dominated by a fear of failure that could, in truth, be the key to unleashing their potential and talent.  It may sound obvious to some, but in the UK particularly there is an absolute fear of failing amongst leaders.  This creates a barrier, not just to personal development as an entrepreneur but also to business leadership in general.

Innovation is important to most start up businesses today and many entrepreneurs talk about their desire to actively encourage disruption within their industry and market, yet very few can honestly say they have actually activated real innovation within their business.  But why is this the case? 


Zero risk means zero disruption

There are two thoughts that come into play here.  The first is that people from corporate backgrounds are inherently risk averse; they’ve spent so much of their career developing strong internal processes to manage business that when it comes to going it alone and attempting to exercise creativity without boundaries, there is simply no chance that disruption will succeed. 

The second is, that change is needed.  Many leading strategic thinkers are moving beyond a focus on traditional product and service categories to seek out innovations in business processes, distribution, value chains, business models, and even the functions of management.  But which school of thought is correct and will win at the end of the day?

If the former is true, then it suggests that those with vision that are open to taking on risk will encounter barriers along their road. If the latter, then company cultures need to also accept that failure will happen and that there needs to be a major change in the cultural psychology of business so that people aren’t afraid of it.



Entrepreneurs must stand for more that just a well-run business

Regardless of this, the real danger is that the trend which, has seen many people become disengaged with corporate life and therefore desire a new life within the entrepreneurial world will only lead to a greater increase in the fear of failure.  Of course, entrepreneurs today can and will prosper but they should be led without fear and with conviction and self-belief, not by business processes.  As an entrepreneur you need to be able to stand for more than a simply ‘well run business’ – you need to be able to demonstrate a fearless approach and engage your own people to be unafraid of failing.

Interestingly, it is becoming recognised that there is an increased fear of failure amongst the younger generation too. The baby boom generation were often more gung-ho in approach and achieved great things as a result. It was arguably a generation of superb leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs. There is far less freedom today and the young are known to feel under greater pressure at work. Mental illness and depression is on the increase as we know. It is logical that when one feels under such pressure that talent will not be creative or productive and they will choose to leave. The baby boom generation would have done exactly the same.


Be prepared to fail

How can we reduce this fear amongst future entrepreneurs?  We need to place people back at the heart of leadership and to encourage them to express their skills as soon as their careers begin, these are our future entrepreneurs and innovators and they need to be accountable and to be prepared to succeed and also to fail. The vast majority of CEOs and chairman will accept that they have, at times, failed.  It is completely normal, it happens to the best of us and the more we fear it the greater the barrier to success.
Some believe that the younger generation are not accountable but is that really true? Or do they just lack the confidence to take on risk because they fear the real possibility of failure? Perhaps the truth is, that the system they grew up with does not allow them to fail or achieve poor results? 


Accept judgement and accountability

Making the decision to run your own business is arguably more difficult than it has ever been as everything is more transparent today and people are far more judgemental, perhaps this also exacerbates a fear of failing?  Business needs young leaders and the economy needs young entrepreneurs breaking through, those who want to be accountable and are prepared to be judged.  Business is competitive and it will put up a fight to anyone that wants to be different, create change and do best by all.  Leadership and entrepreneurialism means accepting both success and failure; the good and the bad.


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Is your small business prepared for auto-enrolment?


Is your small business prepared for auto-enrolment?



Declan Harrington is a financial advisor at Savage Silk, a multi-disciplinary practice that offers financial and legal advice. Here, he outlines what you need to do to prepare your business for the upcoming changes in pension rules.


With its Pensions Act 2008, the government laid out its plans to improve the state of pensions in the UK. The auto-enrolment process began with large companies in 2012, and existing UK businesses of all sizes will have to offer and contribute to workplace pensions by February 2018.

If you own a new or small business that hasn't joined the scheme yet, there are some things you can do to prepare for these changes. Here, I'll outline how you can ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible.


Make sure you know your deadline

You should already know when your staging date is, as this is when you need to have everything in place for the new auto-enrolment system. If you miss your deadline, you could face fines and penalties from the Pensions Regulator. So, if you aren't sure or have forgotten what your staging date is, it's vital that you find out as soon as possible.

To help you keep track of things, the regulator has created a staging date calculator, which will tell you when to mark it on your calendar. All they ask for is your PAYE reference, so make sure you have it to hand.


Choose a suitable pension scheme

Once you know when your deadline is, you need to choose a suitable pension scheme for your business. I would always recommend asking a financial advisor for help with this, as they'll be able to help you to pick one that works for both your employees and your company.

Your chosen pension scheme must be suitable in the eyes of the Pensions Regulator. So, make sure you read their detailed criteria thoroughly to ensure you choose one that satisfies their requirements. You should also read this if your business already has a pension scheme, as it must measure up to the same standards.



Make sure you know which employees will be enrolled

To be eligible for auto-enrolment, your employees must fulfil certain requirements. For example, they should be aged between 22 and the state pension age. They also need to be earning enough to reach the 'trigger' point in each pay reference period. The government reviews these thresholds every year and you can learn more about that here.

It's important that you know who needs to be enrolled by your deadline, as this will allow you to inform all of the relevant people about these changes. And, it will help you to prevent anyone from missing out.


Be ready for some employees to opt out

Although it's mandatory for you to offer a pension scheme, your employees can opt out if they wish. They'll be given a one-month window during which they can leave the scheme, and they'll be required to submit a notice that the pensions provider will typically provide. Within a month of them doing so, you'll have to refund all of the contributions they've made up to that point.

Any employees who opt out will be automatically re-enrolled every three years. If they still don't wish to have a workplace pension, they'll have to provide you with notice every time.


Know your responsibilities and stay on top of them

As an employer, you'll have a range of responsibilities when it comes to auto-enrolment, and it's vital that you stay on top of them. One of your most important tasks will be to review how much you're contributing to your employees' pensions on a regular basis. This can change if any of your workers are given a pay rise or start to work more hours.

Additionally, you'll have to prove that you're fulfilling your role. To do so, you'll have to show the Pensions Regulator that you've set up an effective scheme for your employees within five months of your staging date. You will also have to show them how you've been meeting your responsibilities. The details that you give them will be checked against your PAYE scheme data, and this process will be repeated every three years. AccountingWeb's guide to a declaration of compliance has all of the information you'll need to ensure you're prepared.

You'll soon have to offer a workplace pension to eligible employees, and it's important that you're prepared. Take this guidance on board and the transition will go much more smoothly.