I can’t afford to do that.? Can you NOT afford to do that?
You’ve got enough to deal with in your business. There are cash flow issues, employees that don’t perform and products you thought would sell that don’t. The last thing you need are problems you can avoid. You don’t need the consequences you get because of fears that keep you from doing things you should be doing.
So let’s jump right and go over these fears you might have and discover which ones are lurking in your mental closet.
Fear #1 – Fear of confrontation
I know a lot of people that struggle with this. I know a lot of people who deal with the consequences that come when you or someone around you avoids confronting people that need confronting. It could be you have an employee that treats another unfairly or is just plain rude. Then you have a boss, who fears confrontation, keeps them from having the touchy conversation to address the issue. It could be you have a vendor that generally does well, but falls short at some specific areas that affect you. Then you have the vendor manager with the excuse of not wanting to strain the relationship of that. The real problem is they don’t like confrontations.
What happens is the anxiety over the conversation is more menacing to the person than the problem you need addressed. You hit a deadlock that goes no where. It’s unfortunate that the delay in getting the issue resolved is usually followed by resentment by someone involved because some problem just lingers.
This was a fear I had to deal with in my younger years. As I hit my late 40s and then my 50s, I taught myself how to overcomes this. My inaction because of the fear has caused me some damage and sometimes it still does. My natural slant is to avoid ruffling someone’s feathers if I don’t need to. Unfortunately, it means I’m not ruffling feathers that need ruffling and postponing solving problems that I could easily solve more quickly.
I say I taught myself to get over this, but it just sort of happened. I noticed when I had some bigger confrontations I needed to address that the anxiety I felt leading up to the conversation far exceeded the anxiety I felt having the conversation. It was all in my head. When I did have these uncomfortable conversations, more times than not, it went more smoothly than my worst case scenario thing. I got the problem addressed and felt so relieved afterwards. After doing it enough times, and I mean a lot of times, I thought, “Boy, all this worry and anxiety is so stupid,” and I embraced it. I don’t thrive on confrontations, but now I handle them so much better and it’s a part of the new less fearful me.
If you are running your business, you have enough to do. Don’t pile on more work and difficulties because you don’t want to face this fear. Don’t wait like I did and start getting over this fear. You’ll be a lot better in business and life because of it.
Fear #2 – Money fears
Everyone getting into business has to deal with their own money issues. And there are fears that start in childhood probably before you were five. Some people grow up poor or in families where frugality was cherished. Others didn’t have to deal with money issues because there was plenty to go around.
When dealing with customers, employees, partner companies and personal friends, you’d be surprised how differently we look at pricing, spending, debt and everything that goes with money.
With that in mind, you have to remember that cash is king. It’s like the gas you put in the car. You can have a super car, but if you have no gas it goes nowhere. Most business owners, and I include myself here, charge too little for what they do. We compare ourselves to competitors that are farther along and we do see ourselves as worthy of charging more. We may also feel the crunch in our personal expenses needing the money badly and that causes us to lower prices to make sure we get the deal on price.
This will hurt you badly.
I don’t have forever here in this article, but all this works together with our own built in fear of failure and we have to face this head on. I have gone from being overly careful when talking about money, that was caused by my fears, to being very “matter of fact” about it. I mean if I’m talking about building a website for someone, I’m pretty matter of fact about asking for requirements and working out the details with the customer. Why should I be any different when getting to the money part…except that it plays into our feeling and issues with money.
In conversation I have with potential customers, I’ve built in the line, “Can I get your credit card number we can get started with this?” Some people hear me do that and think that’s a little gutsy. It’s not. I have something these people need. I’m not doing it for free. WE have to agree on price. A lot of times, it our money related fears or our fear of getting the, “No” that keeps us from going there.
I’ve been through a lot of training and work to figure this out for myself. My advice is figure out a way to pretty much “get over it.” The biggest struggle I have had in my business and the biggest problem anyone has in running their business is they aren’t making enough money. Make it a point of identifying what is it that holds you back. Get this fixed before it causes you a lot of problem and these will directly affect your bottom line.
Fear #3 – Fear of losing control
Control freak bosses are the worst. They are into every detail and make the lives of the people that work for them impossible. The absolute most important problem I deal with in my business is that there is only one of me and I’m usually the biggest bottleneck. There are things on my to do list that are keeping others on my team from finishing something and that something is usually something that holds up a customer project.
In one of my earlier lessons, I asked readers to decide, “Do you want a job or do you want a business?” If you want a job, being a control freak can work. You aren’t planning to scale your operations and you are doing everything yourself, then this isn’t so bad. Now if instead you want a business, meaning something that runs without you, you MUST get over this fear.
You have to train yourself, if you’re not good at delegating, to become a really good one. You MUST learn to hire and train people. You have to strive to find people that are better than you at doing what you need done so they become your teacher. It’s a real changing in thinking if you are a controller, but it’s one that will pay off in a big way if you learn to master it.
When you start a business, you’re going be cash strapped. It’s almost a given. There are things you know you MUST do, but then there’s not enough money to do them.
This dilemma affects you in two ways.
First, it stalls progress. There is something you need to get done and then you have to hold it up or do it poorly because you can’t figure out how to pay for it. Second, it pulls you, business owner and your business’ most critical resource, into things you probably shouldn’t be doing. The first one is an issue. The second one can kill your business.
As we start growing our business, because we’ve been doing things ourselves, we grab onto things and often keep hanging on just because that’s the way we’ve always done it. It becomes a habit that stifles us and then the challenge is breaking the habit.
When I started my business, I was talking to a colleague about an Infusionsoft user conference I just had to attend. I had just discovered this cool new tool and saw huge potential for using that in my business and for my customers. The problem was I didn’t have the money to pay for the travel expenses. I remember telling my colleague, “If I land this deal, I’m going to that conference.”
She had seen how important going to that conference was based on what I wanted to accomplish and she challenged me right there. She said, “Jorge, if you need to go to that conference, figure out a way to get yourself there.” She made me realize the messed up thinking I was using.
I did figure out a way and attending that conference changed my business and it changed me. I now run an Infusionsoft consulting business with a specialization building membership sites in that space. Attending that conference not only taught me a lot, but it enabled me to join a mastermind group (something else I couldn’t afford), without which I wouldn’t be in the business I’m in today. The relationships and knowledge I gained from that group taught me what I needed to transform my business into what it is today.
Now I’m not advocating out of control spending nor am I saying get into huge debt. I am telling you that a cash strapped business owner must keep themselves away from cash strapped thinking. There are critical things we must do in our role. There are those that are best hired out. In order to succeed in your business you MUST figure out ways to get things done and even hire people before you can afford them because waiting and delaying what must be done can destroy your business and keep you from opportunities that are clearly yours to have.