Should I be afraid to start a business?
This is Part 4 of a 5 part installment on starting a business.
Eighty percent of businesses fail.
Many — perhaps most — businesses do fail. Failure is a little scary. Fortunately, we’re blessed to live in a country that is quite forgiving of failure. Regardless, people prefer to succeed, and failure damages our psyche.
While I won’t argue the statistics, I have a theory on this high failure rate.
Many failed businesses are started by people who had the external itch to start, but when they experienced the challenges of owning a business, they made the wise decision that their quality of life would be better without it. That’s not to say that starting a business is easy and will succeed if you have the internal itch. However, I’m confident that among people with an internal itch and a high degree of persistence, the failure rate is much lower than the published numbers.
Of course, there’s always a chance your business will fail.
So, what will you do?
Scenario 1: “I’m afraid to fail because failure would embarrass me and disappoint me family and friends, which would bother me.”
Entrepreneurship might be wrong for you. I’m a strong believer that what you fear and think about, you somehow steer towards. A strong fear of failure may actually create a self-fulfilling prophecy, and lead you to fail.
Scenario 2: “Failure would be awful. I will work hard and use everything at my disposal to succeed. However, if I fail, I will know that I gave it everything I had and take it as a learning experience. I prefer to risk it all chasing success rather than let the risk of failure get in my way.”
You should pursue the business. Failure is less likely if you aren’t seriously afraid of it. Chasing success is the key to achieving it. There will always be risk. As long as you won’t be completely devastated by failure, you’re ready for this journey.
Scenario 3: “Failure is a badge of honor; I welcome it.”
You are someone I truly can’t understand. The glorification of failure is abhorrent to me. While failure can be a great teacher and ultimately lead to greater success, you should not welcome it. I don’t think starting a business with a mentality of failure as a desirable outcome is a good idea.
Yes, the statistics on business failure rates are scary, but you have to be a little bit crazy to start a business in the first place. I try to talk people out of entrepreneurship all the time because I’ve been through it many times, and I know how hard it is — even when you do have the internal itch. If you’re too afraid of failure, entrepreneurship might be tough on you.
In my last post of this series, I’ll discuss one final reason I think people should avoid starting a business.