Fear is something that’s usually frowned upon in business. In the competitive, cutthroat world of entrepreneurship, there’s no space for this negativity. Otherwise, you’re going to get paralyzed, left behind by the competition, and ultimately, fail. Or so you thought.
The thing about fear is that it’s what you make of it that determines whether it will be good or bad for you. The unpopular opinion dictates that it can be beneficial for your entrepreneurial efforts in these ways:
It makes you tread on decisions more carefully
Whether it’s in expanding a product line or exploring a new industry, you tend to be extra, extra careful when you have this deep, growing anxiety. You turn into a conscientious analyst, scrutinizing every move, getting opinions from different experts, and drafting back-up plans after back-up plans.
And that’s the level of diligence successful entrepreneurs exercise, which brings them closer to what they’re trying to achieve. So if you’re fearful over wasting hard-earned money or losing your reputation over a business venture, the fix isn’t to back out of a deal, but to use that worry for something productive, particularly pressing on and making sure that you get it right.
If you’re expanding a product line, do the dirty work of knowing the pulse of the market through surveys and interviews. If you’re exploring a new industry, say, considering to franchise sandwich diners or shops, reach out to people in that field and see how they run their businesses. Be meticulous.
It helps you put out fires sooner than later
Entrepreneurs who have an optimistic view of their ventures tend to make the mistake of overestimating themselves. What happens then is they tend to turn a blind eye on red flags. Because on their book, “everything’s going to be okay.” But the reality paints otherwise.
Sales go down. Clients get frustrated. Employees leave. In the case of entrepreneurs who get anxious over the loss of funds, the potential of a business idea, or the threat of an unpredictable economy, they’re hyperaware of the red flags, and that helps in addressing small problems and preventing full-blown crises.
So don’t make the mistakes of overly positive entrepreneurs. Instead, turn the ‘negativity’ of fear into a firm resolve of putting out fires long before they turn your business into ashes. Partner with people who can point out your blind spots, those who aren’t afraid to bring attention to the red flags in your decisions.
It makes you comfortable with the uncomfortable
If you’re new to entrepreneurship, there’s a good chance you have rose-colored glasses on about this entire thing. Perhaps the promise of flexible hours, more money, and no boss might even be the reason you’re trying this path. Sorry to burst your bubble, but entrepreneurship, for the most part, is nothing but comfortable.
Contrary to what you think, you’ll be working longer hours, perhaps including holidays and weekends. You might sacrifice personal funds in one way or another. Plus, you have so many bosses to please now, aka customers.
When you have an attitude of fear, it makes you comfortable with these uncomfortables, precisely because you’re already at an uncomfortable state. In other words, you already have a head start in figuring out what entrepreneurship really is. That’s important for improving your learning curve.
Fear in Productive Action
Fear has gotten a bad rap in the business world — but remember it is what you make of it. Use it as a fuel for productive efforts. Turn the negative into positive.