In my previous post, I talked about the second most read and most searched for topic on naijapreneur —branding.
In today’s unusual article, I will be talking about the first most read and most searched for topic on naijapreneur —business failure.
Repeatedly, from studying the naijapreneur’s Google analytics, the most recurring search engine terms or phrases that bring in the most traffic from search engines to the site is related to business failure, entrepreneurship failure, why entrepreneurs fail, causes of business failure, signs of business failure and many more.
I never knew this fact until I started this blog, it turns out that the greatest fear of an entrepreneur is the fear of failure. Entrepreneurs fear that what they’ve built is going to look lame to others.
They fear that all the countless hours they’ve spent working on a project won’t pay off. They fear that it’s time to go back to the drawing board, yet again!
In this unusual article, I want to take a deeper look into some of these entrepreneurial fears and offer some useful ideas on how to deal with them.
9 Common Fears Faced By Entrepreneurs
If you’ve been an entrepreneur for some time now or aspiring to be one anytime soon, then you would be familiar with the following common entrepreneurial fears;
Fear Of Starting:
The first obvious fear of an entrepreneur is the fear of starting. You’ve got a great business idea, you’ve discussed with a couple of people and they think it’s viable, you’ve done some form of market research and you can see some market potentials and now it’s time to start.
But you find yourself delaying, procrastinating, and over analyzing. Rather than actually starting your business, you are still stuck planning your business. This is the first fear that every entrepreneur faces, it’s the fear of starting.
The whole business idea is so cool on paper that you become so afraid it will be different when launched in reality. You are afraid things won’t go according to plan. You are afraid this is too good to be true. You are afraid something might go wrong. And trust me; it certainly will be a whole lot different in reality. So yes your fear of starting is a valid fear. It is real.
Fear Of The Unknown:
Another common fear entrepreneurs face is the fear of the unknown. As an entrepreneur one thing that is guaranteed on this unusual journey is that nothing is guaranteed. On this path, there are no guarantees, nothing is certain!
This is the most disturbing fear of being an entrepreneur and even the successful entrepreneurs still nurture this fear. Any business can go up in flames anytime any day. That you are big or successful doesn’t protect you from this fear, the future is unpredictable.
Your best selling product can suddenly be knocked out of the market by a competition. Your most profitable client can run out of business or switch to another seller. A disruptive technology can wipe out your entire business model. And the scariest of all fear of the unknown is an economic depression or a natural disaster.
In business as well as in life, the only constant thing is change and this change can either be positive or negative. The disturbing truth is that no one is guaranteed of the kind of change that lies in stock for them in the nearest future. So again, this fear is a very valid one. It’s so ok to be afraid of the future. Why? Because it’s unknown!
One of the challenges of starting and running a business is funding. To tackle this problem, entrepreneurs seek for funds from several sources; some internal from family and friends and others external from investors and banks. These borrowed funds can be very scary for entrepreneurs especially when you find out that the ones you had previously borrowed are still yet unpaid.
Another financial fear peculiar to entrepreneurs is the fear of not paying the bills. This is especially peculiar to entrepreneurs who had to leave the corporate world to be their own bosses. Having left the comfort of regular paychecks, the reality of not having enough money to cover living expenses and also business expenses can be a paralyzing.
Again, these two financial fears are very valid. It’s ok to be afraid of the debts that are hanging on your head and it’s totally human to be scared of being broke!
Business Partner Fear:
At some point in your entrepreneurial journey, if not at the early stage, you will need to get other people on board. For most startup entrepreneurs, the first person to get on board is a business partner or a co-founder as it’s popularly called. This brings us to another kind of fear entrepreneurs face, the fear of choosing a wrong business partner or co-founder.
A business partner or co-founder can make or break your business. Choosing the wrong partner can put a limit on the progress of your business and choosing the right partner can position your business to unlimited heights. So yes, it’s not out of place to have this fear.
Fear Of Being Your Own Boss:
For first time entrepreneurs just out of the corporate world who have been used to working in a structured environment, the first fear they experience as entrepreneurs is the fear of being their own boss. You’ve been used to following a script created by your boss, now it’s your turn to create the scripts and this alone can be very scary especially for first time entrepreneurs.
According to Psychologist, Dr. Colleen Long;
“Working for yourself is both the best and worst part of being an entrepreneur. No one’s going to tell you what to do. The days can pass you by and you haven’t really done anything because there’s no one giving you the framework for what to do.”
Fear Of Too Much Workload:
Contrary to what many people think, entrepreneurs don’t have less workload than employees, as a matter of fact they have more workloads. And this can be very scary to those switching from the corporate world.
On this unusual journey, there are no nine-to-fives; you have a 24hours working schedule. As most entrepreneurs would attest to, you even work in your sleep. So yes, when you think about the workload, it’s totally healthy to be afraid. Why? Because entrepreneurship is very demanding. It’s not for the lazy bones!
Fear Of Boredom:
You would think its only overload that can scare you as an entrepreneur, how about boredom? This is one of the fears associated with running your business on a day-to-day basis. It gets to a certain point where there’s nothing exciting about your business and boredom starts to set in. You start to lose the initial passion and drive that you had in the early days of the business. Everything begins to seem like a routine.
Oh yes, this can be very scary. And the most people susceptible to this fear are serial entrepreneurs who enjoy starting up businesses rather than running businesses. It’s the adrenaline rush of the startup phase that interests them rather than the structured processes of running a business.
If you feel this fear, this is a good indication that you should get a complementary partner or manager early on in the business who can continue when you run out of steam. Another indication of this fear is the fact that you should check yourself and be sincere with yourself; do you really have passion for the business you are about to start? Or the business you are currently into? You can only get bored of something you don’t love doing. So watch it!
Fear Of Failing:
Now to the biggest of them all, the fear of outright failure. All of the fears outlined above one way or the other is summed up in this one fear alone. The statistics are so terrifying of the number of businesses that fail yearly. This is one of the reasons I get so much search traffics on this topic because people are searching for answers on how to become the few who make it through without failing.
Fear Of Success:
I left this point last because it’s one entrepreneurial fear that many rarely talk about. Besides failure, another fear entrepreneurs nurse is the fear of success; what if we become so successful that everything begins to fall apart because of our inability to meet?
Success can kill as well as failure. Becoming too big too fast is one sign of success destroying your business. So yes, it’s not just failure you should be afraid of, you should equally be afraid of succeeding too!
All the entrepreneurial fears outlined above are all valid, so it’s ok for you to have one or more of them as you embark on this unusual journey of entrepreneurship. What is not normal is going on with these fears without seeking out ways on how to cope with them.
This will be the focus of the concluding part of this unusual article. In this post, I just wanted to expose you to the 9 common fears most entrepreneurs face in business. I hope I have been able to do much justice to this?
As always, it’s possible I miss out on some of these fears, that’s why this is a conversation and not an instruction. The comment section is how you participate by adding your experiences, suggestions and feedback that will further enrich the discussion.
Over to you, see you in the comment sections!
really fine and useful article…..if only more of Nigerian youths and student would read and engage with such resourceful materials instead of BBA or celebrity gossips… who knows where Nigeria would be
Very nice and thoughtful observation Iconickels, I couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks for the comment and hope to see more of you around!
I think its normal to feel all these. All we need is a courage and perseverance to continue
and strive for success.
The results don’t surprise me but what I suppose I continue to find surprising is some of the forms this fear takes. Certainly, we can see all of this in our own lives and certainly we fight against it daily. But considering that at some point in some area of our lives failure seems inevitable, that fear also seems irrational and certainly not any reason to stop moving forward. Thanks for sharing your post with the BizSugar community!
Thanks for the brilliant contribution. It’s true these fears can take different forms and failure at some point becomes inevitable. As you said, once this happens, it’s not enough to stop us from moving forward.
As most successful entrepreneurs have confirmed, it’s not the failure that matters, but the valuable lessons it offers. For an entrepreneur, this is the gold in every failure. Seek it, refine it and prosper from it!
One solution I’ve discovered to fear in my entrepreneur journey is passion. No matter the type of fear, the moment you have passion for a business and you come up with the strategies to start and run the business, the fears will not be your problem again. One may have business failure but if you enjoy doing that business and you come up with new business plan and strategies, you will surely succeed. I have failed in some businesses before, but because of my passion I later succeeded. I have never entained any fear in businesses I have passion for, but I have lots of fear with those ones I don’t love doing. Therefore, the solution which has been working for me and some entrepreneurs is passion. See you at the top.
Beautiful writeup,you’re very correct in writeup the greatest fear of a Businessman or Entrepreneur is the fear of FAILURE.
Thank you always providing us useful information.
Watch out for the second article!
One of the solutions I have discovered in my entrepreneur journey is passion. If an entrepreneur has passion for a business, the above listed fear will no be his problem, in fact he will not see them as problem at all. I have done a business before and fail but because of the passion I have for the business and the great potential of the business I keep doing the business until I succeeded. So, my advice is that you should consider the business idea very well to see if you have passion for the business and that the business has a great potential. Once you are able to do that, you will surely succeed. Passion is key in any business.
Awesome comment here. You got it spot on, passion helps to minimize entrepreneurial fear. It turns fear into fuel for never giving up. Successful entrepreneurs have continued despite failure because of their passion for their business.
Much more than money, passion is the antidote for entrepreneurial fear. Well said bro!
Nice post. It’s true that there are many obstacles to successful business, many of them and probably the greatest are psychological. It’s normal to have those fears, how to deal with them is what can make or break a successful entrepreneur.
What about choosing to run a business by using your best talents and subcontracting most of the other things. In online, running a business based on a set of best talents one has seems a lil bit easier to manage, then an offline business. Do you think there are actually ways to really get a life style and business which is not 24 hours plugged into working and stressing out? Thanks, AM
Fear of failure is a major fear entrepreneurs face globally. Personally, I have been able to figure my way around that by trusting in my God, gut and strategy than whatever anyone might try to tell me.
You nailed it with the Fear of Starting. This is the hardest part for most of us, at least I think. It also hits home when you have started, but haven’t launched yet. That last hurdle before launching can really get you.