Tips to make sure your business is not overcome by the Fear of Failure

However, new Barclays research has revealed the rise of the entrepreneurial “BoFF” – Businesses overcome by Fear of Failure. The research found that over half of SME owners admit they’ve put off making important businesses decisions for a day or more during the last twelve months in case they make the wrong call, here Sue Hayes, Managing Director of Barclays Business Banking, offers her top tips to avoid becoming a BoFF.

Sink or swim?
The BoFF mentality is out of character when compared to the traditional risk-seeking behavior you’d expect from an entrepreneur. The tough economic climate is the reason behind much of this business paralysis – over a quarter of respondents admitted that economic uncertainty has made much more hesitant about longer term decisions, and almost one in fivesaid they now play it safe and their focus is purely on the day to day.

But despite the tough external environment, there are many opportunities out there and making those important decisions now is vital to the growth of individual businesses and the overall UK economy.

We worked with a Psychological Entrepreneur, Jon Cousins, to help business owners (and would-be business owners) overcome their fear of failure when making those tough calls. Check through his top tips to regain that positive mindset and make your company the success it has the potential to be:

1. Accept that fear of failure is a totally normal and rational emotion – but make sure it is in proportion.

2. Learn from your own past experiences – sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t but make sure you learn from it.

3. Does the risk have to be all or nothing? – can you mitigate the danger by setting less extreme goals and aiming a little lower.

4. Risk-taking is a game of chance, so try to put numbers to the probability of success. – while it’s always good to listen to your gut, try and make a logical decision rather than a purely emotional one.

5. Seek advice and expertise to help you make the right call – Barclays is just one of a number of organisations that offer entrepreneurs free advice and guidance. Check out

6. Be honest: what’s the worst that could happen? – over half the respondents to the survey had made a business decisions that didn’t go to plan, yet had no serious repercussions: some even ended up better than planned in fact.

7. Remember that risk-taking is part of what makes you an entrepreneur.
When you create your own enterprise you do so knowing you’ll have the freedom to take chances and follow hunches, generally in the hope that this will lead to your eventual success. Stay true to those values.