The Secret Fears of Small Business Owners: 5 SMB Confessions

SMB Confessions - The Secret Fears of Small Business Owners

We asked small business owners to share their biggest secret fears in an anonymous survey. We received many great responses and selected our top five to share with you. We put together our top tips on how to address these fears that are common in many businesses – both large and small. What keeps SMBs up at night? Here are five confessions small business owners shared with us of their secret fears, along with tips on how to overcome these fears.

1) Impact to Personal Life & Self Worth

Small Business Fears Harming Personal Life

“I worry that success will ruin my personal life. I also worry that failure will ruin my personal life. I worry that too much of my identity is wrapped up in my work. What would happen if I couldn’t work at some point?” – Design Business

While it can be very fulfilling, running a small business requires incredible commitment of personal time, attention, and resources. Both success and failure can take a toll on SMBs whose identity and self-worth are tied up in their business. Help alleviate this fear by having conversations with your partner, family, and friends to let them know how you feel so they can support you emotionally as you go through the peaks and valleys of owning a business.

2) An Empty Schedule

Small Business Fears No Patients

“My fear is that I show up to the office and there are NO patients on the schedule. “ – Medical Office

An empty schedule can be a huge profit loss for any small business. Alleviate this fear by working with a trusted marketing partner who can focus on building your pipeline of leads so that you continually have new business coming in without having to divert time away from running your business. Also, create a back-up plan for how you’d approach an off-peak day, such as a process to create and share spontaneous “rainy day” promotions to help quickly fill up an empty schedule.

3) Poor Sales

Small Business Fears Bad Sales

“My fear is not getting enough sales.” – Auto Sales Business

Not getting enough sales is a universal fear for most small business owners. Getting contacts and leads in your pipeline will only impact your bottom line if you’re converting interested prospects into sales. Alleviate this fear by using automated lead follow up and lead nurturing emails to help prospects choose your business. And, educate your entire staff to be sales-minded and focus on the customer so that you can close more business from the leads who contact you.

4) Wasted Spending on Advertising

SMB Fears Wasted Spending No ROI

“My fear is wasteful spending on advertising.” – Medical Clinic

Small business owners today are inundated with options for advertising and marketing, and it can be difficult to know what actually boosts the bottom line. Alleviate the fear of wasted advertising dollars by using a system that helps you track everything from incoming calls to the actual business you get from each advertising source so you can see the true ROI of every marketing dollar you spend.

5) Failure & Bankruptcy

Small Business Fears Failure Bankruptcy

“My fear is failure and ultimately going bankrupt.” – Contracting Business

According to the Small Business Administration, there were about 33,000 small business bankruptcies last year, so this fear can be a very real one to SMBs. But to put this into perspective, there are over 28 million small businesses currently in business. There are many factors that influence the success rate of a small business, so it’s important to focus on the things that are within your control. Make sure you have a solid business plan in place, an excellent business advisor or team, a mindset focused on success, and the discipline to keep business momentum moving forward daily. Sometimes, fear can be a healthy thing, so use the fear of failure to motivate you to take actions that will lead you to success.

Don’t Let Fear Stop You

Have you ever had a fear as a small business owner? You’re not alone. Every small business owner faces fears, just like the rest of us. The good news is, you don’t have to let fear hold you back. By sharing your fears with trusted family and friends, putting a plan together to help alleviate your fears, and working with trusted partners to help you, you can push past your fears and focus on your success.

Tiffany Monhollon

Tiffany Monhollon is an award-winning content, community, and social media marketing strategist who is passionate about helping businesses and professionals succeed online, currently serving as Director of Content Marketing at ReachLocal. She develops integrated strategies from the ground up, incorporating content, community, and social tactics to deliver online marketing, search optimization, social engagement, and reputation management results. She speaks and writes about online marketing and social media for sites like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, Small Business Trends, Media Post, Social Media Today, Business 2 Community, and the ReachLocal Online Marketing blog.

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