Fear of failure can be a great motivator.
I am inherently a risk-taker. However, I’m a risk-taker who does his research, whether it’s about launching a business or jumping out of a plane. Maintaining a positive mindset allows me to be driven by fear rather than paralyzed by it. I’ve failed at few things in my life, and I realize the endeavors that didn’t work out were probably not right for me.
When you decide to start a new business or expand an existing one, it can be scary—especially if you have never done it. You have to check your fear at the door; you have to be fearless. Being informed so you can make good decisions is just as important as not letting your fear get in the way. When it came to launching Branded Group, I was determined to succeed.
It can be scary to strike out on your own. I was an East Coast guy launching a business 3,000 miles away, not knowing a single soul professionally or personally in the area. But I did it, and the growth of my business is mind-boggling. Branded Group went from being an idea in my head in a small town on Long Island to a thriving, award-winning organization in Orange County, California.
Here are some practical tips on how to Be Fearless when launching your business.
Know Who You Are
Prior to launching Branded Group, I came to recognize a few things about myself that gave me the confidence to know I’d be successful starting my own business. First, I don’t like having a boss. I don’t like being told what to do or having my time dictated by someone else. I was going to push the envelope in order to achieve my goals, win clients, and advance my career. In short, I like freedom.
My resistance to authority doesn’t mean I’m being rebellious and doing whatever I want whenever I want. That’s irresponsible. Just because there’s no boss over you does not mean you can throw caution to the wind. Yet, there is freedom in how a goal is accomplished.
Your team should be empowered to handle the responsibilities of the position. Your job is to be a coach, to be open to answering their questions or brainstorming new solutions to problems. The days of clocking in and out are long gone. Your focus and your team’s focus should be on achieving your company’s goals. The “how” is less important.
Determine Your “Why”
In addition to discovering who you are as a business owner, you also have to understand why someone should buy from you. If you don’t have an answer, it’s time to go back to the drawing board because this lack of self-awareness and confidence may come back to haunt you. Without a firm sense of what you can offer, you won’t be able to differentiate yourself from your competition.
Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Our clients do business with us because we are focused on our “why,” our purpose, which is to help “provide our clients with peace of mind and preserve their brand standards” through our BeBetter Experience. There are a lot of companies that can deliver the same services we do, but none deliver the BeBetter Experience. That comes from giving your team the freedom, the trust, and the tools to do their jobs.
My intention when I started Branded Group was to Be Better. Do facility management better. Do management of a team better. Do customer service better. Do giving back better.
The only way to achieve these goals was to stay true to my philosophy in every aspect of my business and hire people who aligned with this vision. When you hire for skills, you get worker bees. When you hire for cultural alignment, you get brand champions.
Fill a Gap in the Marketplace
Right now, you might be sitting behind a desk wanting to start a business that is the exact opposite of what you are doing now. That’s what makes being an entrepreneur so exciting—you can launch whatever business you want, whether it’s a service or an actual product—but first, you have to become an expert in that industry.
I saw a gap in facilities management in California and I knew I could fill it. I had the skills, the drive, and the connections to get started. It’s critical for new business owners to study their marketplace and identify any holes. Don’t just copycat someone else; truly look to create your own niche. Otherwise, you’ll spend all of your time chasing after the same clients as your competition.
This article was adapted from the book, Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership (Houndstooth Press; July 19, 2022) by Michael Kurland.
Written by Michael Kurland.
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