Courage in Business… It Ain’t for Wimps is defined as the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. Courage is one of the 14 Marine Corps Leadership traits. Danger is part of a the daily life of a combat Marine, however not so much in a business setting, yet fear and difficulty are ever present in the life of an entrepreneur. If it is missing in your organization… you’re not really trying. Many businesses can outsource many processes that they might not be as knowledgeable about, so they are left with the tasks that are most important to the, for example an outsourced IT team.

Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others. – Winston Churchill

If you have not had an opportunity to display courage yet, then you probably are in the WAY pre-start-up phase of your business. If you do not have any fear, then you may need to take a closer look and determine if this business ownership thing is really for you. If you live and transact commerce on the edge, you will undoubtedly encounter difficulty of some type. Fear is natural but it needs put into perspective.

Put Fear into Perspective

Is your fear just a reaction to something you have conjured up in your mind? There are lots of acronyms for F.E.A.R.

  • False Evidence Appearing Real
  • Face Everything And Recover
  • Fail Early and Responsibly

Call it what you will, just don’t let it stop you in your tracks!

How to Muster Courage

Self disciplined action will put fear in its place. You must:

  • Develop a vision.
  • Know your purpose.
  • Have a plan to achieve it.
  • Work your plan. (action)
  • Never give up.

If you fear something, there’s a pretty good chance that is the thing you need to do. Face the fear with disciplined action. Your actions must align with your vision and purpose. Action based on a clear vision, backed up with a definiteness of purpose is virtually unstoppable.

Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision. – Peter Drucker

Deal with Difficulty

As I mentioned earlier. If you own a business and seem to never have any difficulties then you are floating. Have you ever been in an inner-tube in a river? It may feel like you are standing still, but in reality you are being taken down stream to eventually land at the lowest point. In business you are either fighting your way up stream or floating down stream.

As a small business owner, moving forward can be difficult. It takes effort, it takes courage. It means that you will have to stretch, run hard, avoid obstacles, scale walls and sometimes leap tall buildings in a single bound. For some business owners, this could be some of the most stressful experiences that they have ever come across and may start to think that they are not cut out for this after all. As a result, they could decide to think about selling a business onto another person and try something different with their lives. But for the small few, you will be able to conquer these difficulties and come out on the other side. Like a hurricane, difficulty comes and if you’re not prepared it could wipe you out. If you live on the coast of Florida you probably experience a lot of nice sunny days. So why do you have storm shutters on your house? Right… you are prepared. There is a healthy fear of that a hurricane can do to your home, so you took disciplined action to deal with and avoid overwhelming damage. Regardless of whether you use a firm similar to shuttercraft or a local firm to source and install your shutters, you can rest assured knowing you are prepared for the storm ahead.

Preparation and contingency planning are the storm shutters for your business. In 2009 I decided to go into the hard drive shredding business. It seemed like a good thing to do. I purchased a 24 ft dock truck, a 75 Kw generator and an industrial hard drive shredder, the kind of thing you’d love to get from Fellowes and other places. This thing would turn a hard drive into little metal bits in a matter of seconds.

We put our new truck on the road and began to market our service to local clients. The first time we went out on a shredding job… DEAD… the shredder would not even fire up. Talk about fear! My hundred and fifty thousand dollar investment was a bust! We were out of business before we even started. Difficulty with no back up plan, we had no “storm shutters”. Long story short, we diagnosed the issues, fixed it, and kept a kit of essential part (expensive ones) on the truck as a back up. We were back in business!

We had a vision, we knew our purpose, we developed a plan, we worked the plan, we overcame obstacles and we never gave up.

Have you had do deal with fear and difficulty? Tell us the story and what you did to overcome. Your stories will no doubt help a fellow entrepreneur.