Your Week 8 Action Plan: Start Small Win Big 2015

Step 8: Overcome Fear

Editor’s note: This is the last of eight installments for SUCCESS’s 3rd annual Start Small Win Big entrepreneur challenge. Check out last week’s installment.

Fear of failure keeps many would-be small-biz owners from ever starting businesses, and keeps other entrepreneurs stuck in the small-time instead of reaching for the stars.

How can you overcome fear of failure?

Start by doing everything you can to ensure success—which happens to be your homework this week. Here are some strategies, both practical and emotional, that have worked for me:

1. Have a plan. Remember Step 1 of the challenge, be prepared. No matter how excited you are about your business idea, take the time to create at least a rudimentary business plan laying out what you will do, what differentiates you from the competition and, most important, how you’ll make money.

2. But be flexible. Once your business is up and running, it may not pan out exactly as you expected. That’s not always a bad thing. Perhaps a minor market is suddenly making up the majority of your sales, or a product you didn’t pay much attention to has become a runaway success. Watch what’s going on in the market, keep tabs on your sales, and be ready to “pivot”—that is, adjust your business plan and business model to do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.

3. Have enough money. There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your business run out of steam due to lack of capital. Your options for ensuring this doesn’t happen are 1) starting low-budget in a business that doesn’t require a lot of money, or 2) making sure you’ve got adequate funds on hand—or the means to obtain them—before you launch. Explore your funding options and be prepared.

4. Find a mentor. Starting and running a business can be scary and lonely at times. Getting advice, insights and moral support from a more experienced entrepreneur can give you the courage you need to succeed. If you don’t have a mentor in your life already, it’s worth seeking one out.

5. Talk it out. You always feel more confident when the significant people in your life are backing you up. Make sure the people who matter to you—your spouse, significant other, parents or friends—support your plans wholeheartedly.

6. Learn from your mistakes. In the end, often the best way to get over fear of failure is by failing. Just be sure that, instead of blaming other people or circumstances for your failure, you dissect its causes and learn from failure what you should do differently next time.


Share in the comments below: Imagine the worst that could happen if your business did fail. Would you lose your home? Where would you live? Would you owe someone $100,000? Write it all down. Now, imagine yourself in that situation and come up with some strategies for dealing with it. Write those down, too. Once you have considered “the worst that could happen,” you’ll likely find it’s not as horrible as you thought, and much of your fear will dissipate.


To catch up on previous weeks of the SUCCESS Start Small Win Big Challenge, visit #SSWB

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