photo courtesy prevents a woman from pursuing her own business? Most surveys conducted about women in business reveal reasons like: “I don’t know where to start”, “I’m too old”, “I don’t have the money” or “I don’t have the skills”. They are all said in so many ways but everything comes down to FEAR. Fear of the unknown, fear of working hard, and more importantly, fear of failure – fear is the biggest hindrance. Overcoming fear is therefore the greatest challenge to women wanting to start a business. It is also a constant hurdle for women in business aiming for success. Fear is never insurmountable; it may take lots of courage, passion, single-minded perseverance, endless planning and re-planning but it can be conquered. There is no single formula to overcoming fear but the below tips can be a step in the right direction.

Choose a business that you really like. There is nothing scarier than running a business that you hate. The idea for a business can come from something you are passionate about, something you already love doing or something you liked doing before. If you love baking, you might consider opening a bakeshop. If you are passionate about public speaking, why not become a speech coach or offer consulting services on effective public speaking? If you love connecting with people and sharing or referring, consider Relationship Marketing or Direct Sales. There are so many business sources from your life that oftentimes there is no need to look further.

Plan to succeed. Learning everything you can about your business is the most effective way of getting over the fear of the unknown. Learn about the target customers and their needs. Learn about the competition; learn about the current market and how to differentiate yourself from it. Know the cost of running your business and your target profit (which must be realistic!). You then create a vision for your business, how you want to start, where you want to be in 2, 3 or 5 years. All of these, you must put in writing via your business plan. Your business plan does not have to be fancy; it is just a guide on how to run your business. At this point, a lot of women get overwhelmed by all the information. When this happens, you have to stop over analysing and simply go about writing your business plan.

Get great people on your team. The fear of failure is lessened if you know you have great people helping you in your business. Surround yourself with people who compliment your skills. Henry Ford once said: “I am not the smartest, but I surround myself with competent people.”

Finally, change the way you think about failure. Failure does not necessarily mean you are a loser or you will lose all of your money or possessions because of a high financial investment. Businesses such as Direct Sales require very little money to start.

The fear of being viewed as a loser stems from minding too much what other people think of you. Remember what Dr. Seuss said: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind!” As cliché as it may sound, fear is really all in the mind!

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