Its only natural that startup founders contemplate failure, especially considering that the majority of startups don’t last more than five years. More often than not however, the fear of failure tends to be quite irrational and often prevents entrepreneurs from focusing on the very goals they need to accomplish to achieve success. Rather than dwelling on the negative, its important to embrace the possibility of success and constantly envision your business’ growth and continuous improvement.
We spoke to several startup founders at different stages in their careers, and asked what advice they had for overcoming their fear of failure.
1. Focus on the End Result
Think about the end results of your hard work. As long as those are greater than the risks associated with failure then stop thinking about anything other than success. Also, as long as nobody is going to die or go to jail, then the risks of failure are minimal.
Monika Rydz, AuctionsByCellular
2. Business Failure is Relative
Reflect upon your own mortality. We all experience that last big failure someday.
Adam Ierymenko, ZeroTier
3. Just Do it
Start to work! The longer you think about what can happen, the stronger your fears will get and will prevent you from achieveing your goals. As soon as you dig your hands into work and get started, the easier it is to overcome your fears.
Jörg Fehlinger, Artist Radar
4. Know That Even The Best Have Failed
The best way for a prospective founder of a startup to overcome the fear of
failure is to understand that it is highly likely the CEOs/businessmen they
look up to have failed at some point.
Donald Trump has had casinos close, Airbnb has had to reposition their
strategies and we all know Apple wasn’t nearly as successful as Microsoft
in the 90s. Successful people take risks, and you cannot take risks if you
are afraid to fail.
Muneeb Mushtaq, AskforTask
5. Worrying Only Wastes Critical Energy
If you happen to fail it is not the end of the road, you can always bounce back. Failures are relative and worrying potentially failing will waste critical energy that could otherwise be applied to useful tasks.
Tim Nichols, ExactDrive
6. Know That You Can Learn From Failure
To fail, and you will! It’s not the end of the world and you’ll make valuable learnings from the experience.
Justin Ashurst, CTO & COO of AppInstitute
7. Good Planning Limits the Chances of Failure
In the majority of startups, failure is always a prospect. The trick is limiting the damage and knowing when to make changes at critical points to fix potential failure causing issues. With good planning and a staged approach to growth, organizations are able to carefully manage their milestones vs the required outcome. If founders plot their performance on an ongoing basis, action is able to be taken allowing the founder to change direction or put in place measures which avoid total failure.
Robert Sturt, UK WAN Procurement Expert