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The Fear Factor
I recently conducted a lil' survey asking my colleagues what were their biggest fears when thinking about starting a business or running their business. The following are the top three fears that resulted from my survey and some ways to combat them.
1. Fear of Failure: But of course? the most obvious. Unfortunately, the reality is that 30-50% of start-ups fail for various reasons...not always because of poor sales. Actually, of every seven businesses that shut their doors, only one actually fails - that is, leaves unpaid obligations (Small Business Administration-sponsored research). Then you have your external factors that are uncontrollable, hence the thousands of 9/11 layoffs. However, there are some basics ways to get over failing, if you plan ahead for the good times and bad:
* Know your strengths and weaknesses. People who fear inadequacy sometimes try to do everything to perfection. Yeah, you control freaks out there know who you are! LOL However, you must realize what your talents are and then get help where you're lacking. You'll give yourself more freedom to excell in what you do best.
* Analyze your idea, your market, management team, and your financial feasibility before beginning anything!
* Identify the many pitfalls that others have had and learn how to avoid them. It can't be said enough?Know your competitors and find a good mentor!
2. Fear of Insufficient Cash Flow -AKA- Going Broke!: Your need for start-up money is the reason that you shouldn't storm out of your dull 9 to 5 just yet. Yeah..you might hate your job, but think about it as the contributor to your "lay-away plan for escape." Realize you are probably going to spend more money than you make that first year in business. Here are some pointers to help prevent you from living back at Mom's in your old room...
* Get your business plan together?this goes hand in hand with Fear number one: Failure. Because the more you have dissected what you need to do, the more realistic things will be for you.
* Get your Side-Hustle going! Start small with projects after work and on weekends. You can test the waters to see if your business is even worth expanding. A slow transition is key.
* Know your monthly budget and save accordingly. Each paycheck you get from your job and side-hustle, stash away a chunk for your " lay-away plan for escape." You should have at least 6-12 months saved, so that you can keep that roof over your head and food in your belly. And hey?Don't count your 401k, that's for retirement only! You don't want to pay that 30% penalty for withdrawing!
* When all else fails--Borrow: Start off with friends and family. Banks usually want proof of a financial track record of at least 2-3 years, so they might not be as willing to give, if you have a brand new company. Money is pretty scarce these days, however there are still some grants that are being given away. Go online and to the business library and do your research. Ask your local business organizations. You might get lucky!
3. Lack of Stability: Some of the main reasons people leave their 9-5's is because they are bored to tears with the monotony. You can almost expect to be shaken into a world of change when you are in business for numero uno. But I for one think that's what makes its so exciting. Routine ~yawn~ is what many are escaping. You'll be free to call your own shots and instability is something that might even be welcomed.
* Be able to adapt to change: With every turn in today's unpredictable business environment comes another challenge. You need to be able to change directions quickly-always have a plan B! Entrepreneurs who are aware of change today and successfully adapt to it will emerge as the leaders of tomorrow!
Here are some related links to check out:
Small Business Administration: http://www.sba.gov
1099-Independent Consultant site: http://www.1099.com/
Simone Kelly is CEO and founder of Gots To Have It, Marketing, a firm that specializes in marketing and empowering entrepreneurs with a series of workshops and networking events. Please view her company web sites here: http://www.gotstohaveit.com and http://www.giventakenetwork.org
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