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Are your beliefs holding you back?

I was recently asked to deliver a presentation to business owners on a topic relating to business growth. Rather than talk about one of the more common subjects around growth, such as access to finance or marketing your business effectively, I decided to take a different approach and look at the psychological reasons that hold people back from taking the next step in their business.

We make hundreds of small decisions every single day but when it comes to making those big business decisions, your heart and your head can play havoc with each other!

Here are 4 common statements I hear from business owners when discussing growing their businesses and some thoughts on how to rethink your beliefs to stop them being a barrier.

“I don’t have the right team in place”
Having a strong and reliable team behind you can make the decision to grow your business a much easier one and there’s no doubt that any business needs good people in place to be able to succeed. However, using this as a reason not to grow is not a good enough excuse! Staff will come and go – that is a fact – and even if you are 100% happy with your current team, this can change at any moment due to factors beyond your control. There are always good people out there – you may just need to change your approach to finding them or be prepared to invest a bit more than you have previously. In any event, having a shake up by launching a new premises or taking on another business can give you the opportunity to make changes within your personnel for the better.

“I don’t have the funds to grow my business”
It’s true. You may not have hundreds of thousands of pounds lined up in your bank account to be able to launch the next ‘big step’ in your business’ growth. But who does? Although traditional bank funding has become notoriously difficult to secure over recent years, the good news is that a myriad of alternative funding options have become available in their wake. With crowdfunding, angel investment and alternative banks/lenders now all common forms of securing finance, provided the terms work for your business, there are plenty of options to explore.

“It’s too late to pursue my dreams”
It’s amazing (and sometimes quite saddening) how often people use their age as a barrier to taking action. Yet these days, people are working longer than ever and with life expectancy still on the up, this is only set to continue. Although taking risks in later life is understandably something that may require a bit more consideration, this is most likely due to other factors (such as not wanting to risk other assets you have accumulated, your family and other commitments) rather than your age itself! Age shouldn’t be a barrier in business – after all, the older you are, the wiser and more experienced you get and therefore the greater the chance you have of succeeding.

“I’m afraid of failure”
Nobody likes to fail and this is perhaps the biggest barrier that holds business owners back. If you have your own it is likely you will have taken risks before. However, it is the potential to damage your existing business in some way or take a short-term hit to profits that can stop you from taking the next big step. There is no easy way to overcome this apart from to do as much research and number crunching as possible. Ask yourself what the alternatives are and if you think you will live to regret the decision to hold back in the future. In any event, there are ways to ringfence a new business venture so it doesn’t have the potential to impact on your existing successful business operations.

Whilst your thoughts and beliefs can be a barrier to business growth, they can also be a great facilitator if used effectively. Taking big steps in business is not something that should be done lightly and alongside changing your attitude, you of course need to do all of the necessary due diligence and business planning to ensure viability.

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