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Uncertainty and Fear in Starting a Small Business

As a business consultant, when I talk to people interested in starting a small business and those who would like to make their very small business into a full-time venture I can clearly see a shift in those who have fear.  This fear is very real to them, but it isn’t the same kind of fear one might feel at seeing a fast-moving car while stepping into a crosswalk.  Small business owners and solo-entrepreneurs have a fear based on uncertainty.  I can tell you that your business can be profitable, but if you haven’t experienced it yet for yourself, you’ll likely feel uncertain when I tell you that I know, as a business consultant, that your business can make 6 figures.  Uncertainty creates fear and fear steals our dreams.

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Don’t let uncertainty steal your dreams.

Much of our uncertainty in life comes from the things we are taught by others, consciously or subconsciously.  For example, my father based much of his approval of my sister and me on our personal career prospects and earnings potential, not on our looks or ability to ‘bag a husband.’  But this isn’t the case for everyone.  Some women were raised to ‘be pretty’ in order to get the best in life and were never given any appreciation or credit for their smarts, talent, or drive; these women might be uncertain about stepping into a role where their talents are valued because it isn’t what they were raised to believe.  This uncertainty of talent having value can lead to fear in starting a business based on that talent.  One of the questions I ask my clients is “What results would you like to produce?”  Most hesitate to answer the question.  They are AFRAID to speak the answer. To say what they want.   

These fears are not the same as a fear of being burned by a fire; fears from uncertainty are often a fear of that which is not real.  Someone you trusted or was important to you told you that you couldn’t do something or that something you did lacked value and those words stayed in driver’s seat of your mind for years and years. 

So let me tell you right now that fears kill more dreams than failure ever will. 

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If you have uncertainty in starting or growing a small business, try to pinpoint where that uncertainty came from before you give it too much value.  Some fears are based in probability and some are baseless.  If you have a fear of starting a small business because you don’t know how to get a loan, or you don’t know how to hire an employee, then you have a valid fear, but one that is fixable.  Uncertainty and fear of the unknown is telling you where you need more support and training.  This is what I do as a business consultant and coach – I help business owners find the real fears grounded in uncertainty and provide them with solutions, like training or knowing when to outsource something like bookkeeping, and I also help business owners rule out the fears based on irrational thoughts and beliefs.  My father loved to visit Germany and there is a German proverb: Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is. Don’t let your fears turn a need for training into a big, bad wolf.

Lorna Whiteaker

Lorna Whiteaker is a San Luis Obispo business consultant and coach dedicated to helping business owners get the results they want. Lorna has over 30 years of experience working with small businesses, working as an administrator in the legal industry and as an independent business consultant helping hundreds of entrepreneurs. With clear and realistic expectations of just what a business owner must deal with in running their business, big or small, she has worked with firms making 7 figures and start-ups with little more than elbow grease and a dream.

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