Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Which Type of Fear Might Be Holding You Back from Success in Business?


Good ideas are literally "a dime a dozen". Individuals conceptualize revolutionary new products and new services with each passing minute of each day. Although there is such a steady stream of ideas that can be marketed successfully and developed into a lucrative business, there are actually few new businesses that make it past the "initial stages" into actual existence.

Why is this, and what factors contribute to the abandonment of great ideas that could've possibly netted the creators a small fortune?

There seem to be two major psychological forces at work when a great idea is abandoned before completion or a business fails for no apparent reason. These two psychological syndromes are:

1. Fear of Success 2. Fear of Failure

It is a very frightening prospect to start and maintain a home-based business. There's no doubt about that. And every business owner feels the "fear" of being responsible for their own destinies, and for their own futures. It's quite common, to be somewhat nervous and stressed about our businesses, especially in the beginning.

Conquering this fear is a necessity, however, as no one can be effective in a business if they allow the fear to overwhelm them.

Fear can be "healthy" in a way, as it can keep an individual alert and aware of any failures of the business, which thwarts problems before they start. Fear can also be "unhealthy" when an individual experiences such fear that it leads to inaction and the business never really gets off the ground as a result.

The two fears above seem to be the most prominent among new business owners. In the first, Fear of Success, a new business owner may have a great idea, and may develop every facet of the business thoroughly, yet they never seem to "open" the doors of the business. They may find excuse after excuse, why they can't really put the business into play, although all facets of the business are established. They may find that they run into repeated crises in their lives, sickness of themselves or a loved one, disasters that are not "really" disasters crop up repeatedly. This is simple Fear of Success, and part of a psychological pattern.

Although crises do occur to us all, we go on with life despite these, and no one has crises that are continuous. A business owner with this syndrome is merely afraid that success will "change" their lives and they are afraid they won't be able to cope with the changes. Of course, success will change someone's life. However, the Fear of Success can be so overwhelming, that some new business owners simply let the business fall by the wayside, thereby ensuring its failure. After all, if the business fails to get started or to succeed, they never have to face the reality of their "Fear of Success".

The second fear is just as detrimental as the Fear of Success. This fear is the Fear of Failure. This fear seems slightly more common and is characterized by the inability of future business owners to even get "started" with any plans or any concrete method of establishing a business. They constantly procrastinate in even the most simple of business chores. They fail to ever establish the business in any way, and for the most part are always promising to "start tomorrow", only tomorrow may never come. They also may jump from "idea to idea" always hatching a new plan for the next great business. Unfortunately, the plans are the only thing that is ever hatched, as nothing concrete ever materializes. They can be seen by their family and friends as mere "schemers"/ "daydreamers".

Occasionally, business owners can "waver" between the two fears, actually experiencing both Fear of Failure and Fear of Success simultaneously, becoming almost paralyzed with the emotions of all this, and unable to attend to the business with any degree of rationality. They can start businesses over and over, or make plans for businesses over and over, and yet never see any real degree of success.

These fears, like all other fears, can be overcome. There are many methods to use to overcome them:

1. A business owner needs to stop "projecting the worst case scenarios" onto the business. This is by far the most effective method. Business owners that worry too much about the worst happening, eventually make this projection a reality.

2. Business owners need to be realistic about the timeframe involved in success. A good business may take months or even years to stabilize.

3. Business owners need to be aware of their own feelings and motives. When "stalled" within a business, they have to question their own inner emotions and ask themselves if perhaps their emotions are overruling their own common sense.

4. A business owner will need to have as much personal and business support as possible behind them. This includes family, friends, and of course, other business people. Knowing we are not "alone" can easily alleviate misgivings and misconceptions.

5. A business owner should take time to relax and de-stress whenever needed. Fears become more palpable and real during times of extended stress.

6. Business owners should always have well thought out plans of action. Good plans reduce stress and the symptoms of stress, which exacerbate our fears overall.

It is best if any potential business owner addresses their fears and their approach to life as well as their motives before starting a new business. It is better to address any underlying issues prior to beginning a business, as addressing them while "within" the throes of a hectic business start up is difficult, if not impossible.

Remember all fears can be conquered, and it is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all!








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Vishal P. Rao is the owner of Work at Home Forum, an online community of people who work from home.
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Why Businesses Fail - And What You Can Do About It!


Have you unintentionally set your business up for failure?

No one sets out to fail! Most business owners read all the statistics (maybe more than once) before they open their doors. Many know the reasons why businesses fail. But some businesses operate under this paradigm: "failure can never happen to me because I know better." Is that you?

What most business owners miss is looking at the reasons for business failure and turning them into action steps to help overcome the odds of failure. How do I know? I once thought I knew better, too!

Bear in mind that even "adolescent" businesses fail. According to the SBA statistics, 90% of small businesses fail within the first five years. Many businesses aren't producing enough income because the business owners aren't "business wise." They may be excellent at a specific task -consulting, programming, massage therapy, web site design, copywriting, etc. Or they have a great product. But wise about the "business" of business, they are not!

In the past five years of my business, not one client (including those who have been in business for more than 10 years) provided me with a business plan to review. Not one! Two of 100 clients have had marketing plans, but marketing plans don't work without a business plan and other focus type tools, too. The other common (95%!) mistake I see (and help my clients correct) is pricing their services very low as a way to gain market share and new clients. So low, in fact, that a potential buyer will perceive the service or product as being cheap and of low quality, even when the provider offers years of expertise. NO ONE wants to hire a business that is cheap! Inexpensive - yes; affordable - yes; cheap - no, no, no!

The most common problems business owners experience stem from simple functions like streamlining, organizing, information resourcing, marketing, planning, visioning, languaging, communication, technology and ecommerce. Example: If you know that most businesses fail because they don't have a usable business plan, develop your own business and marketing plans and use them daily; don't create one that gathers dust on a shelf. I use the One Page Business Plan Book or Interactive CD by Jim Horan. It helps business owners create very realistic, focused, and well thought-out business and marketing plans, including scorecards to help you anticipate and avoid business problems.

Example 1: Recently, a client turned down an opportunity to teach computer classes on a subject she could easily teach. Using teaching to market her business is on her marketing plan. So why not? Well, the proposed classes weren't going to help her get business for her primary business, they weren't going to attract her ideal client, and the pay was much lower than her usual hourly rate. She felt confident about declining the offer. Of course, that same week, other new business - the type she really wanted - came her way!

Example 2: New client knows she wants to create a business plan. She also has a strategy of increasing her income by joining four organizations with networking opportunities for her to meet her ideal clients. She joins the first two groups - total cost: $400.

As she starts her business foundation work, which includes the One Page Business Plan, she realizes that her ideal client isn't whom she originally thought it was! Some clients might be found in the two groups she's already joined, but not her ideal clients. As a new business owner, she wants to spend her time around her ideal clients, first and foremost. Planning just a little more for her business would have saved her $400 in membership fees.

What other simple things can you do to build a solid business foundation?

? Use a one-page plan daily to create your to-do list and monitor your business.

? Create an Ideal Client Profile and Elevator Speech and define a niche for your business.

? Read one of the "E-myth Revisited" books by Michael Gerber.

? Go with your strengths. Hire individuals whose strengths ARE your weaknesses to "fill in the gaps."

? Remember that there is no need to repeat the SAME mistakes others have made.

? Know what your business exit strategy will be.

Most business owners don't know what they don't know. Get assistance by hiring non-biased professionals who help you realign with your vision, create plans and financial scorecards to monitor your business. Look for someone who can suggest resources to help you and your business grow. Someone who's been in your shoes and succeeded. Start looking at how having a partner - a business consultant, coach, counselor, strategist, organizer or planner - can help you grow your business.

Ready to learn more about business success? Take a look at the articles I found on business failure that are posted below, ( http://www.coachmaria.com/articles/succeed.html ). Learn to overcome the costly (both in money and your time) errors that other business owners have already made. Give your business a fighting chance to continue to succeed.








? 2004 Maria Marsala, is a business builder who helps women-owned service businesses increase their bottom line in less time. A former Wall Street trader and manager, she used her business expertise to create 6 S.I.M.P.L.E. Business Steps, a program developed to help her clients succeed in less time. Learn more at http://www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com


Why Small Businesses Fail (or Fail to Thrive)

The island of Manhattan, from which the term i...

Tammy, a skilled and gifted horticulturist, called me to discuss what she needed to know to start her own florist and landscaping business. She had been in the horticulture industry for 10 years and was incredibly skilled at working with flowers and plants - one of the best. She also had great design skills, as well as good customer service skills. But she had little business management experience and less self-employment experience.
Discovering why small businesses fail was a smart research project for her, as it helped her uncover her own weaknesses and begin to build up some strengths before she invested in becoming self-employed. It's no secret that a large majority of small businesses fail in the first five years. The question is: Why do they fail and what can I do to prevent problems in my own business?
As we talked, we reviewed some of the common reasons why small businesses fail. Here are 14 top reasons, which might help you to determine why your business isn't growing and thriving. Some of them are related to learnable business skills; others relate to personal attitudes, habits, or self-sabotaging belief, which are not so easy to change, except through coaching or other self-development work.
1. Mistaking a business for a hobby: Just because you love something doesn't mean you should convert it into a business. Too often businesses fail because the owner feels their passion is shared by others. Research your business idea and make sure it's viable.
2. Poor planning: Yes, you must have a business plan. It can be a simple three-page plan or a huge 40-page plan. The point is that you've looked at all the aspects of your business and are prepared to handle problems when they arise. Your business plan helps you to focus on your goals and your vision, as well as setting out plans to accomplishing them. And don't get mellow - revisit and revise your business plan annually.
3. Entrepreneurial excitement: Entrepreneurs often get excited about new ideas, but are unable to determine if they're "true opportunities" and/or put them into practice. Test every new idea against your business plan and mission statement before deciding whether to undertake it or not, and ask yourself, Do I have the time and skill to implement this?
4. Putting all your eggs in one basket: Too often, small business owners will have just one product, one service or one big client. They cling tight to this one thing because it brings in good revenue. But what if the one thing disappears? Variety and diversification will cushion you against the ebb and flow of business tides.
5. Poor record keeping and financial controls: Yes, you have to keep financial and business records, you have to review your revenue and expense report each month, and you have to file taxes and other business-related filings. If you don't know how to do these, or don't want to, get help from someone who does.
6. Lack of experience in running a business or in the industry you're entering: There are so many hats you have to wear, from marketing and selling in order to run a business effectively. On top of that, you have to understand your industry, the skills required to offer your products and services, and the trends in the industry. If you don't know about these basic skills, educate yourself. Talk to others who are successfully running their own businesses, talk to industry leaders, get a book, find a website, get a coach, do your homework. And keep increasing your business and industry skills by attending classes or reading new books every year.
7. Poor money management: You need to be able to live for one to two years without income when getting started; often businesses are very slow to get off the ground. Also, you have to create and use a realistic business budget, and not constantly drain the business income on personal spending.
8. Wrong location: If your business runs out of commercial space, you need to make sure that you are convenient to your customers, and near to your suppliers and your employees.
9. Competition: Customers will go where they can find the best products and services. It's important for you to know who your competition is, what they have to offer, and what makes your own products or services better.
10. Procrastination and poor time management: Putting off tasks that you don't enjoy will sink your business faster than anything else. You can't afford to waste time on unimportant tasks while critical tasks pile up. All tasks need to be done; if you don't like to do them (or don't want to spend your time doing them), hire someone to do them for you. If your time management and prioritizing skills are rusty, hire a small business coach or take a class to help you.
11. Ineffective marketing: Learn the basics of marketing and make sure that you track the success or failure of each marketing technique you use, then dump those that aren't working.
12. Ineffective sales techniques: Once you have a potential client, you have to know how to lead them down the sales path. If you don't understand the basics of selling, get some education on it immediately. If a selling technique doesn't work, try another one.
13. Poor customer service: Once you have a customer, you have to keep them. There are two key points here - make sure you pay attention to what the customer wants (and how these wants can change over time), and make sure you provide quick return of phone calls and emails, proper billing, win-win problem solving and an overall pleasant demeanor.
14. Entrepreneurial burnout: owning your own business requires a huge investment of time, money, energy and emotion. It's easy to work long days and forget to take time off. But in the end, this only causes burnout where your motivation and creativity will suffer, and a pessimistic attitude prevails. You'll find yourself unable to balance your business and personal life, and both will suffer. Schedule self-care time into your work week and be religious about taking time off from your business.
Dunn and Bradstreet recently did a study and determined that "90% of small businesses that fail do so because of a lack of skills and knowledge on the part of the owner." However, D&B also did a study that showed that over 90% of small businesses were still in business after five years IF they had the help of a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or other expert assistance. You can find a list of the SBDC in your area here:
http://www.passionforbusiness.com/web-resources.htm
As Tammy and I concluded our coaching session, she made a list of the areas where she needed to grow, and created a task plan to get the help she needed. Today she has a thriving business and is happily self-employed. You can do it, too. It just takes a little planning and a close look at both the reasons for your success and where you might need to get a little help.

Karyn Greenstreet is a Self Employment expert and small business coach. She helps you increase sales and profits, and learn practical small business skills.
Get the free audio and ebook, "The Art of Networking and Referrals" by visiting http://www.PassionForBusiness.com

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