Are You Letting Fear Slow Your Business Down?

by Carolyn Miller3 Min Read

Owning your own business can be a dream come true. It is exceptionally rewarding when you feel like you are in control of your future.  Your plan is in place and you are committed to working your plan through to success. Despite all of the moving pieces involved in building a new location, you are "on it" every step of the way. 

But what if you’re not actually "on it?"  Doubt, fear, and paralysis can keep you stuck.

  • You don’t know what to do so you do nothing.
  • With precious time ticking away, you know you have to do something so you act (or react).
  • Worse than spending more precious time and energy second-guessing yourself is self-sabotage:  actually doing something that has far-reaching or long-lasting effects on the health or even the survival of your company.

So what do you need to do to keep from imploding?  For starters, acknowledging that you even have a few fears allows you to take a deep breath and examine why fear is knocking on your door. For business owners, fear is usually triggered by feeling overwhelmed.  Simply identifying the ‘why’ behind your fear has somewhat of a disarming effect.  When you realize that fear signals the limits of your abilities, your mind automatically searches for a way to alleviate the stressor.

The answer?  “I need help!”  But what help?

Strategic?

Tactical?

Technical?

When You Need Strategic Help

Strategic planning is the vision you have for your company.  In a nutshell, strategic planning is simply outlining the desired goals of your company and the ‘why’ behind achieving those goals.

A business plan is the documented roadmap that emerges from your strategic planning efforts, in essence the Instructional Manual for your company.  Business plans pinpoint the outcome you want to achieve (your Objectives) and quantify how you will measure the results.

Strategic help comes in the form of someone who specializes in the writing of business plans.  You describe your vision then they compile your thoughts into a bound document that becomes the Business Bible for your company.  As your company operates and grows there will inevitably be distractions and disruptions.  A business plan is your go-to checks & balance resource that allows you to weigh your short- and long-term actions against the vision you identified for your company.  You will instantly know if you are staying your course or allowing your company to drift with the tide.

When You Need Tactical Help

Tactical help is the specific actions that need to be taken to implement your strategy:  what will get done, the order in which it will get done, who will be doing the various tasks, and how they will be doing them. A well-prepared business plan will clearly show that one person (YOU) is not responsible for doing EVERYTHING!  Keep in mind that tactical planning can (and should) involve people outside the four walls of your company like suppliers, power partners, and even mentors. Sometimes tactical help can be as simple as prioritizing and properly delegating all of the To Do’s that are on your list.  Again, simply having a specific and actionable plan does wonders for alleviating some of the fear that comes with feeling overwhelmed.

When You Need Technical Help

Ask yourself:  Am I investing time or wasting it?

Everyone comes to the table with different skill sets.  Something that may be super easy for you (accounting) might seem overwhelming to someone else.  Of course the reverse is true:  someone else may be a technology whiz, yet the extent of your tech knowledge and experience is limited to operating the remote on your television.  That doesn’t make you good or bad, right or wrong – it just means that you need to acknowledge the limits of your current abilities and then decide whether the learning curve – of both time and money – to become proficient at that task is an investment you are willing and able to make.  Don’t forget to consider what the opportunity cost of that investment really equals.  It’s the whole ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ calculation.

When fear beckons your door, fight fear with facts.  If your business plan was well put together, pull it off the shelf and spend some quality time with it.  A stroll down memory lane gives you the chance to reacquaint yourself with some of the brilliant ideas you had during the honeymoon stage of your company – ideas that may have been forgotten once life got in the way.

If a business plan has been on your To Do List forever – and is still something that you will get to eventually, now may be the perfect time to move that up to a priority position so you can check fear at the door!

Carolyn Miller

@franchiseed | Website

Carolyn Miller is founder of the National Franchise Institute and author of “Brick & Mortar Franchise Success: Know The Costs or Pay The Price." She began her career at McDonald’s and has worked with Chipotle Mexican Grill, Red Robin, CiCi’s Pizza, and Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s. Miller founded the National Franchise Institute in 2015.

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