Seven things business owners fear

To be successful, you need to determine what causes your fear and figure out whether that fear is holding you back or pushing you forward

Reading Time: 4 minutes

David Fuller on fearThe day I got married was the scariest day of my life. I walked up to the altar shaking like a leaf. At 31, I would have thought I was too old to be afraid of getting married. But I was afraid.

Each month, I talk to a business owner who expresses their fears to me. There’s definitely nothing wrong with a healthy dose of fear sometimes. Here are some of the things that business owners regularly fear:


Failing in our business after putting in so much time, energy and money can make us lose face.

We’ve probably been putting on a brave face, all the while knowing that things are not always going well. We’re afraid of failing our family, who believe in us, and not being able to bring home the bread.

We might be afraid to fail because we’ll disappoint our employees and our customers.

I even worked with a business owner who was afraid to fail because she would let down the previous owner who sold her the business – for too high of a price, I might add!

Losing control

Business owners don’t want to lose control and as a result end up micromanaging their businesses.

“No one can do it as good as I can,” is often heard in the small business environment. However, it’s exactly this fear of losing control that holds business owners back.

Only once you overcome this fear and start delegating tasks can you move your business forward.

Successful owners hire people who are better than them and let these people do the job they were hired for.

Not knowing what to do next

When we own a business, we think we should know everything. However, this is impossible.

Often business owners are great at the technical aspects of the business and end up faking the other stuff.

Don’t be afraid to get help in areas where you don’t have the expertise.

In order to know what to do next, often we need to slow down, not rush our decisions but at the same time refuse to be conquered by inaction.

Feeling overwhelmed is often a symptom of not having plans in place and following those plans.


Some business owners I know don’t believe they can be successful and have a fear of success.

Sometimes this relates to upbringing and being discouraged or doubted by others.

Sometimes owners don’t recognize that they’re successful and how they managed to get where they are, and are doubtful of taking the business to the next level.

By celebrating successes and recognizing what you’ve done well, along with having goals that are achievable, you can overcome this fear.

Being thought of as crazy

You’re stepping out on a limb by taking on a business venture and some people will think that the risk is incredible and that you’re crazy for doing it.

Pay no heed to the naysayers unless they have experience in what you’re doing. Avoid those with little else left to do than bring down those leaders like yourself who are able to see bigger things.

But listen closely to good advice.

It’s the big dreamers like you who turn those dreams into action who change the world!

Thinking big

This can be related to some of the other fears, which all can be related to our upbringing or our life’s history. However, thinking big can be scary but necessary for small business owners.

Unless you can think out of the box and try new things, you’ll be stuck forever with small profits and a struggling business. Think and dream big regularly and move your business forward with incremental steps until it grows as big as your dreams.

Don’t limit your business, make it so you and your business are opportunity seekers!

Lack of business knowledge

As a business coach, I work with owners on a regular basis who have not reached their full potential because of self-limiting factors.

Sometimes it’s simply the lack of knowledge on how to grow their businesses, how to increase sales or, more importantly, how to make their business profitable.

Often times, the business owners don’t have sales systems, good marketing practices or financial systems in place that enable them to be successful.

It’s hard to measure what you don’t understand.

If this is holding your business back, take some courses or get someone to help you with this area of your business so you can become more successful. The fact that you’re reading this proves you’re committed to increasing your knowledge of business, which will lead to your success.

In order to truly be successful, business owners like you and I need to determine what’s causing us fear, and figure out whether that fear is holding us back or pushing us forward.

By understanding the drivers and the psychological barriers we might have to our success and working on those, we can truly achieve things thought impossible by others.

I’m glad I got married and I really had nothing to fear – or maybe that fear was justified.

Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award winning business coach and a partner in the firm Pivotleader Inc.

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