I love talking to business owners about their businesses. The way that their eyes light up and they lean in as they tell you about their product or service. The way that they share with you how they took their business from an idea scribbled into a notebook to the business that they have today. It's exhilarating to hear the stories from our business coaching clients. But eventually the conversation changes and things get real. 

Every business owner at one time or another has experienced anxiety and fear about their future.

As a group, we aren't talking about it nearly enough. And that leads to more fear and doubt. So, today I want to go over the top four things that keep business owners up at night. 

1. Fear of Making a Mistake

As the leader, there is a lot riding on your shoulders. Every day you have to make decisions that can change the course of your business forever. So the fear of making a mistake is very real and one that is all too common amongst business owners.

For many, that fear stops us from making any decisions at all. You just sit there with a sour stomach and shoulder tension with a lump in your throat, frozen. You put off big decisions because it is better than the alternative. 

To overcome this fear, choose an action. Any action. Pick just one manageable step that will get you closer to your goal and act on it. Fear contracts. Action expands.

2. Fear of Letting Down Your Team

Any good leader can tell you that there is a lot riding on their decisions. Each and every thing you do for the business, both good and bad, will have an affect on the business, your family and the lives of those that you employ. So, the fear of letting down your team is another common concern for many. 

If you find yourself struggling with this fear ask yourself:

Is it reversible?

The majority of tough business decisions aren't permanent ones. 

Let's say that you were struggling over whether to purchase a $500,000 piece of manufacturing equipment that would triple your productivity. On the one hand it could be good for business, but on the other you could be spending money that your business might need in the future for something else.

Is this decision reversible?

In this instance, like most, the answer is yes. As long as the machine was properly cared for you could sell if for about 90% of the purchase cost thus reducing the chances of you letting down your team with this decision. 

3. Fear of Letting Go

Another common fear amongst business owners has to do with the fear of letting go. We feel like no one will ever love our business the way that we do, and that others can not be trusted to do as good of a job as we can when it comes to the different pillars of the company. This fear limits our ability to grow and scale. 

Instead, take control of your fear by implementing systems and controls within your business. By creating structure, you can rest easier knowing that the day-to-day operations are laid out and your team has the tools necessary to do a good job.  

4. Fear of Going Out of Business

This last fear is the one that trumps all the others. The fear of failure. The fear of going out of business and closing the doors on your dream. To overcome this fear, one of the best things you can do is acknowledge its existence. By bringing your fear out into the open, you're inviting it to work with you to move forward, rather than against you to remain stagnant. Take that feeling and create an action plan on how you can keep your business moving forward. 

What is your biggest fear about your business?

Published on: May 7, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.