How To Use Business Failure Fear To Your Advantage

October 31, 2014By

Whoa. That’s scary.

Americans are mostly afraid of walking alone at night and being a victim of identity theft according to a new study. The old staple of public speaking is in the top five too.

Now, I certainly have a few personal fears. Walking alone at night isn’t too high on the list although I don’t usually walk alone at night unless it’s into the woods to go for an early morning deer hunt. I’m not sure if I should be afraid of that, but I’ve done it so many times that it’s become kind of calming.

Anyway, while reading that post on fears it got me thinking about the things I do fear and one of the items on my list would be going through difficult times with the business. There is a fear that comes up occasionally that has me thinking about what would happen if I woke up one day and all the clients had emails in my inbox saying they didn’t need the service anymore.

I’ve seen it happen with businesses before. They get that call from a big client that has decided to move on for whatever reason. Then the business is left to try to recover, but in a few cases the best decision is to shut down and find something else to do.

But with this fear I’ve tried to figure out ways to kind of use it to my advantage. I think the fear will always be there, but I’ve learned how to deal with it and how to use it to hopefully make the business better.

1. More Clients // Less Risk

One of the things I’ve tried to do with GBW is to get a lot of clients. I figure if we have a lot of clients then it will be harder for them all to leave at the same time.

2. Growing Slowly

I read Great By Choice and one of the interesting points was how Southwest Airlines kind of grew slow on purpose. They had demand to fly to many airports, but did methodically only going to a few each year. The company made sure they were ready to expand before just expanding for expanding’s sake.

I liked that lesson and with GBW we have taken the same approach. We add many clients that are all pretty similar instead of adding big clients and taking on that risk. This way I figure we can grow slow and if bad things happen we’ll at least die slow and leave time to figure out a new strategy.

But if you’re growing slow you’re also not likely putting your business under cost stresses.

3. Checking Company Morals

I think every company is always at risk for somebody saying something or doing something that makes the company look back. I’m trying to do the best I can to make sure the right people are working for GBW including myself.

4. Always Thinking Of New Ideas

I’ve started to think about new business ideas nearly every day. I set aside time to think about ways to improve things or to find problems people and businesses have that could be solved.

I’m focused on GBW so I likely won’t follow just about all the ideas, but I feel a little comfort knowing that if something does happen to GBW that I can go to this idea vault and hopefully find at least one idea out of hundreds or even thousands to do going forward.

5. Making Slow Decisions

There are times when you need to make quick decisions, but I’ve had the best luck with most things in life by taking a step back, taking a breather and thinking about things as rationally as possible. When I react fast, bad things usually happen.

Bad things will happen in business, but how you react will go a long way to determining how bad things go and how long they’ll be bad before you start working your way back up.

Final Thought

There are lots of things to fear in life. I don’t know if it’s possible to get rid of all fears, but I think it’s at least possible to minimize their effect. And I think you can use fear to your advantage.

Back to the study – it’s interesting that people that have the greatest fears tend to watch a lot of TV. I think I need to put the remote down.