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Fear: leverage it to achieve your dream of business ownership

Fear is a natural protective response, especially when you are about to experience something you’ve never experienced before. Fear of the unknown can keep us safe because it forces us to evaluate the situation before moving forward.  While fear can keep us safe, if the perception of fear is not managed and assessed rationally it can also keep us from realizing our dreams.

For example, a Gazelle can leap ten feet in the air and jump nearly thirty feet in a single bound. However, place them in a zoo, bound by a six-foot concrete wall, and they are paralyzed. They are paralyzed by the fear of not being able to see what is on the other side. Therefore, they won’t attempt to make a leap for their freedom. Many of us are like the gazelle. If we can’t see what lies on the other side we won’t take the leap. Thus, we remain caged by fear and live our lives always wondering, what if?

The Dream of Business Ownership

There are many people in the world that dream of owning their own business. Odds are that you are one of them. When people tell me that they would love to own their own business, I always ask, “Why?” In most cases, they talk about the freedom that comes with business ownership. Freedoms like, the ability to make their own decisions, set their own schedule, determine their own fate, and one day realize a level of financial freedom that just isn’t possible when working for someone else. However, I also find that few ever act on their dreams of owning their own business.

When I follow-up with, “What’s holding you back?” I usually hear things related to fear of failure, such as: What happens if I don’t make it? What happens if I quit my job and realize this wasn’t for me? I have a family and can’t put them at risk. I’m afraid I don’t know enough to do it on my own. And etc… While these are great reasons to take a step back and evaluate the opportunity before taking the leap, none of them should stop someone from investigating the possibility of business ownership. Fear of the unknown should force us to do our due diligence, it should not cage us.

Knowledge Is Power 

When we experience the emotion of fear we first must ask ourselves, “Why am I fearful?” Knowing the genesis of our fear helps us in our investigation of that fear. In many cases, fear is based on perception, a lack of knowledge, a lack of confidence, or all three. We let the fear of what might happen paralyze us. Starting a business certainly involves a lot of unknowns. However, if we take the time to understand all aspects of the business we might find that those things we fear are not to be feared at all. We might also find that if we operate as a good business person should their is more to be excited about than feared.

Experience tells us that the more we can learn about those things we fear the less fearful we are. For example, think about something you feared, but through education and practice you overcame that fear. For some, it might have been learning to drive a car. For others, it may have been learning to ride a motorcycle, jumping off a high dive, rock climbing, or navigating a boat. For me, it was learning to scuba dive. No matter what it was, once you became knowledgeable and gained experience the fear subsided and you became more confident.

Take the Leap

Business ownership is no different than learning to ride a bike. To overcome the fear, you must do your due diligence and educate yourself. Then, practice those skills that have been identified to be the best practices for whatever business endeavor you choose. If you are a person who just doesn’t have the skills or knowledge to start a business from scratch, but you have the drive, desire, and business savvy to try it on your own, there are other options. You can achieve the freedom of owning your own business and the support of proven systems through franchising.

Franchising offers an opportunity to own your own business while benefiting from someone else having figured out the systems, process, product, and brand. If you implement the franchisor’s systems properly and operate using tried and true business practices your odds of success are much greater than trying it without franchisor support. With that said, you must realize that franchising does not guarantee success. There are many out there who have tried franchising and failed. However, I have found that many of those who have failed not only failed to implement the franchisors systems properly, but they also failed to utilize fundamental business practices. In most cases, it is the franchisee’s failure to operate efficiently and effectively, follow procedures, hold people accountable, maintain tight financial controls, and focus on customer service that led to their demise. Likely, had they gone it on their own without the franchisor’s support they probably would have failed anyway and much sooner.

What If?

Business ownership is scary and it is a lot of work. However, if you talk to those who took the leap you will most likely find that the risk was worth it and the reward was much greater than staying in their comfortable job that restricted their creativity, passion and drive. Business ownership isn’t for everyone, but until you dig a little deeper you’ll never know if it might be perfect for you!