Fear Or Control?

New Entrepreneurs operate either out of a place of “fear” or out of a place of “control”.

That’s a powerful statement.

So let’s look at the difference.

I believe the reason why so many businesses fail is that they did not open with a plan. I can only imagine the fears that these business owners faced every day. They didn’t have a benchmark for sales and profit targets to let them know if they were on track or not; so of course, they always assumed that they weren’t.

When your business is going well, everything is looking rosy. You have customers and money in the bank.

But still as a business owner, you wonder when things are going to take a turn for the worse.

One person we spoke to, who is a successful entrepreneur in his own right, believes that entrepreneurs operate from a place of fear or strength and that it is based on the amount of money they actually have in the bank or have access to. Spencer Thompson is the founder and CEO of Sokanu a platform for millennials wanting to discover what career best matches their talents and skills. Spencer is a real thinker and a voracious reader; so when he said that he researched this subject, I listened.

After analyzing the traits and backgrounds of people who run successful start-ups, Spencer found that almost all of them come from wealthy backgrounds and almost all of them went to Ivy League Schools or institutions like Stanford. They also come from a group that are largely male, white and elite.

The point is this:

When you have money, you are operating from a better place than when you have none. Having money takes “fear” out of the equation and allows the entrepreneur to focus on the task at hand.

In most instances, start-up entrepreneurs – especially in the beginning phase of their businesses – are operating with little or no money. When this happens, you can fall into a trap. You start berating yourself and even may start asking yourself questions like:

  • How am I going to survive without customers?
  • What if I can’t find employees?
  • What do I do if people don’t like what I offer?

Believe me I have been in your shoes.

When I opened my first business – and I was busy from day #1 – I was always thinking that “today” is the day that customers will stop coming. In hindsight, it was a ludicrous thought; but just goes to show you how fragile we as entrepreneurs can be.

I created a problem that didn’t exist except in my mind. Cash flow does that to you.

If you find yourself in this situation now, it is somewhat comforting to know that most business owners have been exactly in the same position you find yourself in now.

There are strategies to help you get back in control of your business so let’s explore a few:

  1. Review your goals and if you do not have any I suggest that you get some in a hurry. Ask yourself why you went into business and where you want to be going forward – say 10 years from now.
  2. Review your governing philosophy.
  3. Review your Business Plan.

That last one is a real stickler. Yes, you need to be constantly re-visiting your business plan and making changes to it as your business matures and you become more familiar with both your business and the marketplace in which you operate.

The financial forecast should be up-to-date and should mirror what is happening in the daily grind of business. So if there happens to be a downturn in your business you can look at your financial forecast to see if you predicted a slower period of activity during this time.

OR you can adjust the financial forecast to mirror what is happening. This will refocus you and help you adjust your sales expectations and costs.

It could be that your tactics and processes need to change to allow you to get to your goals. When you realize this, you are now putting yourself in a more strategic frame of mind rather than letting the fear get the best of you!

Wherever you are in the business process you first must realize that you must embrace change. There is a lot of competition out there so you need to adapt or you will die.

  • Again, don’t be fearful.
  • Get ahead of your problems by taking action and you’ll be a smashing success.
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