Overcoming the failure mentality


My little brother is terrified of spiders. I used to send him snapchats of spiders all the time - something that would result in him throwing his phone across the room and screaming to an inaudible pitch. He’s 21.

Now, I’m not saying that we don’t all have our own fears and phobias, but as an entrepreneur, fear is something that you should never let take control of your business.

If you’re in business on your own, then chances are that you will often ask yourself one of the dreaded ‘what if…’ questions:

·      What if I can’t seal the required investment?

·      What if I can’t come up with a successful marketing strategy?

And most commonly,

·      what if my business fails?

These are all understandable concerns and it would be stupid to ignore these thoughts. However, letting fear get a hold of your business too firmly can obscure potentially smart decisions and place your business into further jeopardy.

So, what can you do to overcome this business fear?

Have a clear vision

What do you want to achieve? Making sure you have a clear vision and that you have a timeline for your business helps overcome the problem of fear creeping in.


By knowing the exact actions that you’re planning on taking, you can more easily control your spending and can anticipate where projects and training may be needed - requirements that usually will cause your bank balance to nosedive. After all, personal finances are usually one of the biggest driving factors of business fear.

What is the worst that could happen?

This is a question that people always ask themselves when trying to remain positive, but you can also ask yourself this when trying to anticipate future problems.  Fear is often in the unknown, so you can get rid of it here by understanding where you think your business is heading.

Taking this further, you can get rid of your fear of business failure by coming up with numerous contingency plans. By creating a plan B, plan C, and hopefully not as far as a plan D, you can prepare yourself for numerous future scenarios. 

The sense of relief at knowing you’ve got pretty much every basis covered means that if things don’t end up going your way, you don’t have to go entirely back to the drawing board.

Get connected

Running your start-up alone and facing every obstacle alone is one of the biggest fears that small business owners have. It doesn’t have to be that way though.

Connecting with other entrepreneurs at networking events means that you can surround yourself with like-minded people. With your new, cooler entrepreneur friends you’ll be able to understand each other’s situation. You can inject some serious positivity into your business when you see that they’ve overcome problems that you’re going to have to eventually face.

When you make more room for these sort of people, you can more easily ignore all the naysayers. While it’s sometimes useful to listen to cynics, the constant criticisms can really begin to drag you down after a while.

 What can you gain?

Learning to deal with setbacks and mistakes positively can be one way of not letting fear takeover. While we often fear these errors that come creeping along, the way that you deal with them can turn them into something positive. Sure, that sounds like the sort of waffle that an overhyped American motivation speaker might come out with, but let me explain.

With each setback, you learn something new about yourself and business. While the initial disappointment is a bit rubbish, the effect of this experience may, in the long term, benefit you. It’ll mean that you don’t make the same mistake again further down the line when it could be more costly. You’ve got to evaluate.

Triss DuncanComment