Some business owners are scared to grow their business and fear business success! This is true and because they have this fear of success (versus fear of failure which others experience) they often self-sabotage, avoid and generally drag their feet when it comes to success and growth. As an experienced business coach, I can usually tell the signs. The business owner sometimes knows what they are doing, other times they are somewhat in denial.
So here are some reasons people fear success and some tips on how to overcome those ‘teething pains’ in business growth:
Losing a life.
Yes, often people believe that if they become busy, they will lose their life. They perceive (or from prior experience) believe that once things get busy they will not have time for family or for themselves. Yes, this could be true if you don’t start to implement some strategies early in the business. For example, do you allow for nights or weekend work? If you believe you must do this (perhaps your business needs to have after hour appointments) then limit these. Perhaps only a Tuesday or Thursday night and Saturday till noon, which might mean you actually take Friday afternoon off – and do! It might mean you actually educate new clients when they start with you to say you work Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Set the expectations early; you can hardly complain if you say you’re available 24/7 and are frustrated when clients call you on Sunday afternoon or 10pm at night.
Your back end is not ready.
I’ve worked with business owners who I can tell have the brakes on and when I delve, they admit they have problems in the back end of their business. Perhaps their bookkeeping isn’t going well, invoices don’t get issued promptly or possibly totally overlooked in some instances. Perhaps staff are making heaps of mistakes and you just don’t have the confidence that things will work well if the workload increases. Naturally if this is a problem, you need to rectify this first and get things on track. You may need to enlist the services of a bookkeeping consultant to check and train your staff better, or perhaps even get in a professional bookkeeper to get things on track.
Delivery not working great yet.
I come across this one as well also. The fear is that they know they won’t provide the best service possible and may then blemish their reputation. Before you grow, or expand, or franchise, you need to get the core of the business working well, smoothly and like a well-oiled machine. Often systems and processes need to be implemented, checklists put in place and staff (including owners) trained.
It’s got to be perfect!
Who can relate to this? To be honest, I can relate as I have perfectionist tendencies. If I waited until my first book was perfect, it probably would not have got published 7 years ago and I wouldn’t be up to writing number 7. I’m not saying release things which are inferior or sub-standard, but often things don’t have to be 100% (or 110%) perfect. By the 4th Edition of my first book, it pretty much was perfect, but also by then, I’d sold thousands and thousands and had begun work on number 3.
OMG – what if I succeed?
Mindset can really hold us back at times. That big question ‘do I even deserve to be a success?’ Some business owners put limiting beliefs in place which will cap the ceiling of their success. Alternatively they will go so far, and then again, will self-sabotage. Whilst I can talk around a certain degree of mindset with clients, sometimes something further needs to happen and I may refer those clients to a specialist in either EFT/Tapping or Hypnotherapy. Some of these limiting beliefs were ingrained since early childhood and can take a while to chip away and remove.
Paying too much tax.
This thought usually does not enter the entrepreneurial mind. Worrying about paying tax or child support or losing a semi-pension comes when sometimes one has somewhat of a ‘victim’ mentality. They need those crutches to survive, or perhaps simply don’t want to step up, step out and stand on their own two feet. If you are wanting to worry about handouts (or supporting your children with child support) then I’ll be blunt; perhaps you shouldn’t be in business. Entrepreneurial minded business owners don’t worry about these sorts of things; they just get on with being successful. Yes, absolutely talk with your accountant and ensure you are structured, and have in place smart (legal) tax minimising strategies, but don’t hold yourself back to avoid paying tax.
Not having the right resources.
Resources can be staff, equipment, premises and even cashflow to help a business grow. This planning needs to be done carefully and mindfully. You don’t want to grow too quickly and over commit to what you cannot deliver, but you also don’t want to say no to an exceptional contract because you don’t have a plan (or skill, or method) to say put on staff. The first thing you need to do if this is your concern, is determine exactly which resources you will need and then strategize on how you will access that resource. With staffing, if you are not confident the work will be long term, then consider other options, such as contract services, casuals or temps.
Fear of Failure.
Sometimes fearing success comes back to fearing failure. One of my sons (I won’t say which) was very competitive as a child but not the best swimmer. Simply he avoided swimming carnivals because if he couldn’t win, or do very well, then he didn’t want to do it at all. For other business owners, they worry about the consequences of failure. What will people think? What if it doesn’t work – will that tarnish my reputation? Maybe I could lose more than that – such as losing my home or losing money. Firstly, when a business fails, very few people know about it. Unless you shout it from the rooftops, usually only customers and suppliers might know and that’s if they are told (such as in a bankruptcy situation) but if it’s not that serious you can choose what you say. Perhaps you ‘sell’ the situation as a ‘strategic change in direction’. If you are smart about how you setup, your structure and ensure you do your due diligence, then often the fallout can be mitigated.
Having a plan, strategizing your growth and sorting any potential problems before they occur are important in business growth. However, if you know, you are uncomfortable with growth, or are hesitating, or worse, sabotaging efforts to grow, ask yourself why. More importantly, ask yourself what you’re going to do about it? Having a plan, strategy and action steps to overcome these challenges, should mean you are then feeling better about growth in your business and are ready to step up and start being serious about your business growth.
If the concept of growth in your business makes you uncomfortable, or you have questions, concerns or challenges around growth, then talk to me. As an experienced business coach (and long term business owner) I guide clients in being prepared for growth in ways more than simply generating leads and getting sales. I help you prepare the back end and delivery so that the growth will work well and smoothly. I don’t lie and say there will never be any teething pains, but having an expert to guide you helps minimise those challenges and often guide you in things you didn’t even know could be an issue. Some business owners don’t know what they don’t know. Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your own business growth!