5 steps to conquering your fear of starting a business

Why do so many businesses fail to get beyond the idea stage? Fear. Here are five steps to conquer your fears and make your dreams of entrepreneurship a reality.

Is fear holding you back from achieving your dream of starting a business? Well, you’re not alone. Fear is a natural feeling that affects everyone, from world-famous moguls to Saturday market traders. In fact, this study shows that fear is a major psychological barrier for most business owners; what sets success apart from failure is their ability to conquer it.

Everyone knows that being an entrepreneur isn’t an easy path to choose. The process of going from idea to success is well-documented as being full of set-backs, sleepless nights and stress. So, it’s no surprise that many people put their business ideas to one side. There’s fear of failure. Fear of giving up a stable career. Fear that they lack business know-how. Fear that their business idea is not good enough – everyone experiences fear differently. But the good news is, it’s not unbeatable.

Henry Ford once said, “one of the greatest discoveries a man makes is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” Sometimes the only way to conquer your fear is to face it head on and discover what happens next. The potential reward of overcoming it could be worth so much more than the regret of missing a life-changing opportunity.

Here are five ways to beat the fear of starting a business and to start making your dream a reality.

1. Research your market

“But what if my idea isn’t strong enough to be successful?”

Before you embark on a new business venture, you need to understand the market you want to break in to. By doing so, you’ll be able to identify any market gaps and gage whether or not your business has the potential to close them. The more preparation you do, the less likely you’ll be stunted further down the line.

Research is the simplest way for you to get to know your target market and market trends. It also means you can identify consumer problems and realistic competitors. Having this understanding from the get-go means a rigorous business strategy can be created, which helps to establish and grow a brand. Check out our article on 5 tools to kickstart your customer research.

2. Write a business plan

“It’s too complicated, I’m afraid of how much could go wrong.”

An idea is not enough. If you want to spark an investor’s interest, get financial backing, and have a strong roadmap to success, then a business plan is a must.

A business plan covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts. It will help you to clarify your business idea, spot potential problems, set out goals and measure progress. It shows you have a clear vision of where you want to be and what you want to achieve, rather than just hoping for the best.

Check out our guide to writing a great business plan and then download a business plan template with this guide from government.

3. Create an elevator pitch

“What’s so special about my business idea?”

Your business is only as unique as your proposition, and your proposition needs the right kind of positioning to stand out. This is where an elevator pitch comes in handy. If you’re worried about standing out and making the right people pay attention, then knowing how to clarify your business into a sentence can be very beneficial.

An elevator pitch is essentially a more clear and succinct version of a business plan. It’s a way of explaining what a business is all about and why it’s unique within a restricted time frame. Keep it short and sweet or it’ll fade into the background – along with the other pitches that sent investors into information overload.

4. Look for investors

“Getting investment is too hard, what’s the point in trying when everyone will turn me down anyway? There’s too much competition.”

People open businesses every day, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to open your own. There’s a lot of support out there, from many different sources. When you have a solid business plan and you know how much funding assistance is needed and for what, it’s time to start looking for investors. And, thanks to technology, it’s never been easier to find the right source of help:

– Start-up launch platforms like startups, the UK’s number one resource for starting a business
Angel investors who will not only invest in a start-up but will offer a mentoring scheme and their network of contacts
– Crowdfunding sites that provide access to different types of investors, from the general public (Kickstarter) to accredited investors (Our Crowd), who are all seeking the ‘next best thing’

5. Apply for an accelerator programme

“I’m not ready to start a business; there’s still too much I don’t know. How do I make my business a long-term success?”

Once your business has gained footing, you may want to consider an accelerator programme to speed up its growth and continued success. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with possibilities and the day-to-day running of a business, but this is where an external point of view and funding boost can really help out.

By providing investments and a network of mentors, these accelerator programs are the support many entrepreneurs need in the early stages of their business journeys. What’s more, they usually conclude with a public pitch event or demo day, which is the perfect opportunity for you to build your reputation.

It’s important to note that most accelerator programs require equity share of your business so, before applying, do your research and make sure the one you settle on is the right fit for you. Check out our article on how to find and apply for accelerator programmes.

Becoming an entrepreneur and running a business is all about taking risks; it’s the difference between where you are and where you want to be. But, with these risks comes an element of fear, which can hold any entrepreneur back from achieving their goals. By conquering this feeling, you could experience a personal and business triumph beyond your imagination.

Want to read a successful start-up story – one defined by determination, not fear? Then, check out our interview with the founder and CEO of Habito, the world’s first online mortgage broker.