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Despite the opportunities for learning that perceived failure from a growth planning perspective can bring, most of us running businesses view failure in a negative way and try to avoid it.

Our perception of failure, provokes an emotional response or reaction which can often inhibit us from even taking the first steps, rather than creating an experience from which we can learn.

It is not surprising that we never hear much about the emotions of failure that entrepreneurs feel when a planned growth phase doesn’t work, that’s because as a business owner, expressing these emotions is often too much to bare.

However, it is only by managing these emotions that business owners can look to learn, experience and grow from these failures.

This is not an easy process.

It is much easier to blame others, or external events, for failures in order to maintain our self-esteem and sense of control.

For business owners’ failure is extremely difficult – they have invested almost everything into their businesses or their growth success. Very often, the businesses success is tied to that of the business owner.

Fear of failure can be a major impediment to seizing opportunities and transforming planned business growth into real growth.

Understanding failure is a very important part of growth and is a vital lesson for business owners that want to grow themselves personally and professionally.

As a business owner, once you establish the extent of your fear of failure, you can begin to develop some coping strategies to deal with it, and, subsequently, to help develop your growth.

First, you need to set some achievable growth goals, for example, rather than setting the goal of earning £10,000 from a new product launch in the first month, consider making the target about overall performance. For example, what are the top five lessons learned in the first month?

Even if the product or service launch didn’t meet the required monetary target you will not feel that you have failed.

If it was a complete failure, and you are sure it will never work, instead of thinking ‘I feel terrible because I have failed at growth” you can genuinely ask yourself “what have I learnt from this experience”.

Finally, a good way of dealing with your fear of failure, with regards to business growth and development, is to seek support from role models or mentors.

Other business owners who truly understand what you are going through can be an invaluable source of support.

That’s part of the reason why we have created an online community of business owners within our Facebook group. We all experience the highs and lows of running a business and, particularly when it’s just you, it’s important to have a platform to share your experiences and seek advice.

If you aren’t already part of our Business Northumberland Facebook group, you can join the up here.

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