Everyone is better than I am. [AKA I am not enough] Most of the business owners I work with who share this fear with me are BRILLIANT – they really are. Yet they feel inadequate, less than. These are lies. As business owners we compare our truth, our inside information, with the social media, website version of other businesses. To overcome this fear…

  • Tell yourself the truth. Get honest with yourself. Identify your faulty thinking and highlight the truth. It can help to say it out loud to yourself or someone you trust.
  • Ask for feedback from people you trust. We often get bogged down and are not able to see the full truth – our filter is dirty. Getting the truth from others can help to right size the fear.
  • Acknowledge you’re not the only one who feels this way. I have not met a highly successful person yet who has not felt this way at some point.

MONEY. Many owners fear money. They fear not having enough, losing what they have or not making enough in the future. Other owners fear there are missing something. I hear my clients talk about being afraid that their financial knowledge is lacking or that something bad will happen because of this. To overcome this fear…

  • Take a class.
  • Invest in a good accountant and/or bookkeeper. Hiring the right professionals to help guide you is so important. We don’t need to know everything, but we do need a good team who does.
  • Keep your finances updated. Input all transactions EVERY month.

Lack of knowledge. I’m afraid I don’t really know what I’m doing. The truth is if we had waited til we ‘knew’ it all we would have never started a business. To overcome this fear…

  • Write a list of things you want to know and things that if you knew would make you feel more confident.
  • Get the knowledge you need. Get a mentor, take a class or watch a video.
  • Join an industry association and get involved. Rubbing shoulders with other experts in your industry will teach you more than any article or podcast ever could.

Missing the ‘BIG’ opportunity. Many owners fear there is some BIG thing out there they might miss. This fear can lead to overanalyzing our competitors and spending too much time looking at the industry trying to figure out what’s next. To overcome this fear…

  • Tell yourself the truth – there will never be only ONE opportunity.
  • Set aside time on a quarterly or bi-annual basis to intentionally look at your competitors and other BIG opportunities that may be popping up in your industry.
  • Keep an idea file. Put all great ideas into a folder and review when you do your annual planning.

Letting go of control. Fear of letting go be overwhelming for an owner. They may have done it all from the beginning or had a few bad experiences along the way. Whatever the reality most owners care so fiercely about their business that they have a hard time letting others take over. Many owners are perfectionists and don’t believe anyone can do it as well as they can. While that might be true a business cannot grow if the owner does not let go. To overcome this fear…

  • Practice in the small things. Start by giving others small pieces of the work and monitoring [not micromanaging] the process.
  • Outsource some work to other companies or independent contractors before hiring full-time employees. This can be a gentler transition.
  • Tell yourself the truth – done is better than perfect.

Getting sued or some other catastrophe happening. We cannot predict the future and bad things do happen. Yet most often we are worrying about events that never happen. If we manage our business well, have good insurance and hold true to our values we most likely won’t have some major catastrophe. And if the crap hits the fan, we’ll deal with it. To overcome this fear…

  • Get insurance and all the licensing you need.
  • Stay connected to your industry associations. These groups share best practices and horror stories.
  • Think about the worst case, the best case and then the most likely. Let go of the best and worst and focus on the most probable.

The economy. The economy will do what it’s going to do. There are success stories in every economic season. Being fearful and obsessed about the markets will not help our business grow. To overcome this fear…

  • Be realistic. Pay attention to what is happening. Be smart with your projections and pay attention to your industry.
  • Limit the amount of news you consume. Be informed but not obsessed with what is happening in the markets.
  • Stop using the economy as an excuse. Be really honest if the economy is the real issue or it is just fear of change.

Burnout. There are not enough hours in the day – there never will be. The more we focus on the stress and the workload the more likely it is we will burn out. To overcome this fear…

  • Plan your ideal week and do your best to stick to it.
  • Say NO! Choose what are the most critical tasks at the season of business and do those things. Say no to the things that are not most important during the season you are in.
  • Stop saying “I am so busy” or any other variation. The more we speak about and focus on our stress the more overwhelming it becomes.

Being responsible for my employees. Fears of not being able to pay my employees. Feeling responsible for other people and their families. Or having to lay people off. These are very real fears that cause more anxiety for many owners than all the other fears combined. To overcome this fear…

  • Hire smart. Make sure you are ready to take on full-time employees before you do. Also avoid hiring too many too fast when the business is growing.
  • Realize the truth. If you have to lay someone off it’s not the end of the world. It will be hard and It’s not fun, but no one will die. You’ll survive and so will they.
  • Keep your projections updated and manage your cash flow. Knowing far enough ahead of time that you are heading into a cash crunch can allow you to make staffing decisions ahead of time

Competition. The fear that others may take my clients away or do things better than I do is real. Competitors exist. There are those already in the market or those who will enter. We should be aware of them and what they’re doing but focusing on them does no good. To overcome this fear…

    • Be the best you can be. Focus on doing what you do well and stay connected to your customers.
    • Limit the amount of time you spend focusing on your competitors. A competitive analysis once a year is helpful. Monitoring them on social can be useful. But focusing on them to intently is not helpful. Focus on your own success.
    • Celebrate their successes. If your competitors are excelling give them kudos.

Fear is a normal part of life. It will pop up often when we least expect it. The best things we can do is to be prepared to tell ourselves the truth and take action to step out of it and into action.