The decision to launch your own business is likely one of the hardest you’ll make in your lifetime. Not only do most entrepreneurs have to invest their own savings in the company, but they must also wear multiple hats on a daily basis, acting as financial experts, product developers and even hiring managers. With statistics showing that over half of all UK small businesses fail in the first five years, it’s only natural that entrepreneurs should experience some degree of anxiety when launching a business.
Still, start-up founders should take care not to let their fears overwhelm them by acknowledging worries and addressing them head-on. Below are some of the top fears of start-up founders as well as tips for overcoming them.
Lack of Managerial Skills
One of the biggest fears of start-up founders is that they lack the necessary managerial skills to run a business. From strategic planning, to employee communication, founders have a wide array of managerial responsibilities to deal with on a daily basis, and the fact that you excel at software development doesn’t necessarily mean you can cut it as a manager.
There are several things you can do to increase your chances of success. First, seek out mentors who can help you see the things that you can’t. Second, find a partner or two whose abilities and talents complement your own. Third, at the end of the day, don’t try to be something you’re not. Quickly learn what you are good at, and find other people who can help you do the things you can’t.
Overly Niche Markets
It’s no secret that a business needs customers to be successful. One of the biggest fears of start-up founders is choosing an industry with an overly niche market. While you may be tempted to pursue a less common path to avoid competition, selecting a business that’s too obscure will leave you scrambling to find a market for your services. After all, there may be a good reason why no one is pursuing the market.
Even if you do succeed at selling to your niche audience, you will need to progress to a larger one in order to grow your business over the long term. The goal is to choose a business model that will support your company’s future development.
Poor Hiring Decisions
Your employees represent your business to customers and clients, and they have a significant effect on your ability to grow over the long term. One of the top fears of entrepreneurs is worrying that they will make poor decisions when it comes time to hire. While founders are naturally eager to grow their business, most startups can’t support a full staff in their infancy.
Instead, you can do one of two things. First, you can sell your vision and try to bring people on board who are excited to work with you for equity. Second, if you have the funding, you can hire a few contractors and part-time people who can work only when absolutely necessary. The problem with the second track is, in startups, there is always something that needs attention, so you’re going to have to be very strategic.
Along with hiring too quickly, inexperienced managers often choose people who are destined for failure. In fact, a recent survey of 1,000 UK small businesses revealed that 40 percent had exited three employees over the last five years, and 14 percent had exited over six. To minimize turnover, founders should evaluate people for fit and then for skills. When it’s only a few people, each person affects the entire company, so be careful not to let “bad seeds” in.
Starting Too Early
Startup founders have a wide array of concerns on their minds, not the least of which is when to actually start their companies. While many entrepreneurs wait too long to get their products on the market, launching too early can also be a serious error. By going forward with a substandard product or service, you can permanently harm your business’ reputation before you have time to correct early issues. What’s best really depends on the type of business you own. For tech, early release and constant iteration is the name of the game. For other products and services, more market research and planning may be needed.
Not Delivering Absolute Perfection
It’s only natural for founders to want their businesses to produce top-quality goods and services from Day 1. However, the truth is that most startups suffer some amount of growing pains on the road to success. If a fear of mediocrity is preventing you from launching that start-up business, you may want to take a step back and acknowledge that your mind-set is holding you back and that perfection takes time.
For example, you may not be able to afford the product packaging or logo design of your dreams when you first start out. Additionally, entrepreneurs must often test various products before determining what their customers truly want. Instead of holding out for the perfect product, create the best version you can with the resources at your disposal, and make adjustments as needed. Your job as a founder is to sell the vision of what could be and to start paving the road towards that vision.
Overcome Your Fears to Achieve Your Dream of Business Ownership
It’s no secret that launching a start-up business can be frightening. However, the truth is that no career path is entirely without risk. Many large businesses experience significant turnover, and even the best-paying corporate jobs don’t offer the safety and stability they once did. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and the skills to succeed, don’t let fear prevent you from achieving your goal of owning your own business.