Your Startup Is Doomed If You Let Fear Influence These 3 Things
When you’re launching a new business, you do have more to fear than fear itself. Here’s how to get that powerful emotion working for you instead of against you.
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Most things become easier the more you do them, but starting a business isn't necessarily one of them. Whether it's your first serious attempt at entrepreneurship or you've just had one more in a series of innovative startup ideas, getting your idea off the ground can be scary.
For some, that fear is the biggest motivator driving their success. They fear failure so much that they'll put it all on the line to win. When carefully wielded, fear is a powerful weapon to have in your arsenal.
For others, fear could be the one thing that holds them back from realizing their dreams. Rather than driving them forward, the fear of failure prevents them from adapting to new challenges or even trying at all.
Regardless of your entrepreneurial experience, you can't always avoid fear. Likewise, you can't always turn it into a motivator, either. Fortunately, you can at least make sure that it doesn't ruin your chances of success by not letting these three common fears control your decisions:
1. The fear of exposing your secret too early
Before you launch a company, you have to tell people about your idea. This could be the hardest story you ever tell, especially if you fear someone will steal your idea, or you feel as though it is still too unrefined. At some point, though, you'll have to share your secret.
Your new startup is aimed at solving a problem, and it's reasonable to fear that someone else might solve it first. However, you'll have to pitch your idea to get others on board, so practice conveying your idea as soon as you've figured out what your solution is. Even if someone else tries to steal it, no one is as passionate about your idea as you are. As Alexander Muse, managing partner at Sumo Ventures, serial entrepreneur, and co-founder of ShopSavvy, points out, "most people want to partner with people with passion."
Not only does sharing your idea as soon as possible help you practice pitching it, but the fear of someone else taking it forces you to keep pushing to make it a reality. Your passion will also drum up interest that will be highly valuable once you launch. Most importantly, you can get an early reading on whether or not your idea is a good one based on the reactions you receive.
2. The fear of not telling the perfect story
Part of the reason you might fear loosening the reins a little is apprehension about how others might portray your brand. That same fear can drive you to overthink your brand's message and waste time trying to craft the perfect story every time. However, the reason why 92 percent of consumers prefer storytelling ads is because of their authenticity, not their perfect plotting and delivery.
The point of telling your brand's story is to communicate its purpose, which is just as important to consumers as authenticity. They want brands they can trust, with a purpose they can support and a message they can believe in. Roy Morejon, president and co-founder of digital marketing agency Enventys Partners, who has consulted for AOL and Microsoft, warns that customers can "spot a fake, over-promotional narrative from a mile away."
Sometimes, authenticity means imperfection, and trying to iron that out of every message could be counterproductive. Instead, be transparent about everything -- from how your products are made to what your company wants to achieve. Also, tell stories where people are the heroes, rather than your brand, so that your audience can actually relate to them.
3. The fear of letting go of control
You started your business because you had an idea, and you fear that no one else can execute that idea better than you. Hands-on involvement in everything is necessary at first, but as your company starts to grow, it will quickly become impossible. The longer it takes you to accept that, the more likely your need to control everything will be your downfall.
For that reason, learning to delegate is one of the most significant steps in controlling your fear. It's important that you do so without micromanaging everything your team does because that, too, can be destructive. Still, you do have to know what's going on in every department, such as what projects they're working on and whether they're short-staffed.
As your time becomes increasingly precious, make the most of it by finding team leaders who understand your vision. Delegating to employees has numerous benefits, not only for you and your business but also for your team members' professional development. Give them the freedom to lead, and shoulder only the most vital tasks yourself.
It's OK that you're a little scared and unsure about launching your new (or newest) startup. That's natural. Just be sure not to let your fears become self-fulfilling prophecies. Share your idea early to gain support, tell real stories that matter, delegate control to people you trust, and watch your fear turn into one of your most useful tools.