Most new businesses fail. The thought of failure should not haunt entrepreneurs, but should encourage every entrepreneur to do more to succeed against the odds of failure. There are lots of ambiguities that comes with starting a new business. Most new entrepreneurs dread these first encounters and it’s okay.
If you get past your first moments with partners, customers and investors, you will be much more confident about your prospects of success. It’s hard to ignore the thought of failing when failure is so close and difficult to ignore. But if you get it right, you will come out a better entrepreneur.
These are five of the worst nightmares of every first time entrepreneur.
1. The fear of FAILURE is the real nightmare!
Without a doubt, an entrepreneur’s biggest fear is failing–understandably. Greater percent of all businesses fail. When you’re starting with those kinds of odds, it’s OK to be a little freaked out. The list of what-ifs is endless: What if I’m not cut out for entrepreneurship? What if I can’t get this last deal? What if I go bankrupt? But the consequences of failure are mostly in your head. Get over your fears and face your doubts with courage. Remind yourself of what you are doing right and focus on what works.
2. The first meeting with potential investors
If you have bootstrapped your business and need cash infusion to take it to the next level, an investor meeting will be a crucial point in your entrepreneurial journey. It even gets worse when your idea is yet to be fully developed into a product (even though it’s a viable idea). When everything depends on funds from investors, you will definitely not conformable until it’s all over.
Once an investor accepts to meet you for a presentation of your idea, there are just too many thoughts in your mind before the meeting itself. But there is no cause for alarm, as long as you have adequately prepared for it and are ready to deliver the greatest investor pitch of all time. You have a few minutes to make a lasting impression, make it count, don’t panic your way to failure.
3. Product launch (the real deal)
If you get past an investor pitch and come out with some funds, you should be comfortable enough to prepare for your product launch, but it’s not that easy to pull it off successfully. If you are starting your business with your personal funds, savings or borrowed money from friends, investor pressure will not be of concern to you but you will still be desperate to know how your prospective customers will respond to your product launch.
Make sure your product launch strategy is good enough to attract the right audience who could potentially be paying customers for a long time: your business depends on it. Don’t spend all your resources on marketing, find out free options that could still make a difference. Once you run out funds, your business may possibly crash especially if you have bills to pay.
4. The decision to hire your first employee
Employees are your greatest assets. The very first employees you hire can make or break your entire business. Your success depends on the people who are managing your company. You have to get it right, its your only option to a successful future.
They may be partners along the way (when you decide to give them equity). It could be your best decision or your worst nightmare as an entrepreneur. If you get it right, you will have a friend and partner for life and if you get it wrong, you will regret that decision for a very long time.
5. The very first board meeting
At this point, you are doing something right and your should be proud of yourself but the journey has just started. Most businesses with board members are being run on investor funds hence the need to monitor its progress every quarter or even less. Your board members will either be pleased with the progress you have made or may threaten to pull off the funds if the numbers don’t add up. They know you may not make money in your first or even second year but they expect growth of some sort.
Board members are not your enemies because they genuinely want to see you succeed ( remember some of them invested in you and your idea). Be comfortable and talk about what is working, what is not working and most importantly what you intend to do differently to get on the success road.
It’s a huge confidence boost to look back at the things that scared you last month, last year, or even five years ago. And realize you conquered them. This kind of success leads you to trust your instincts. And it also builds confidence.
Every great and successful entrepreneur know today still faces some kind of fear but they manage it because they have experience and know things could go wrong at some point. It’s the will to get back up and move on that counts.
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