The Unspoken Impacts of Fear on Business Growth

13 min read
Mar 2, 2022

You can have the best business plans, greatest product or service ever, and an all-star team as back-up, but if you, the CEO of your company, are overwhelmed with fear, then achieving business growth will be nearly impossible.

At the end of the day, fear can completely obliterate all the effort you put into achieving solid, long-term company growth.

And, not only will fear completely obliterate growth, but it will lead to:

  1. An even foggier path forward;
  2. Jumping through hoops trying to achieve your business goals; and
  3. Obvious disappointment. 

That being said, we are sharing the unspoken impacts that being fearful as a CEO has on business growth.  By unspoken, we mean the pervasive yet not-often-talked-about repercussions of not addressing your underlying fears!

Additionally, we're also sharing what makes these unspoken impacts so dangerous AND providing actionable steps forward to start wiping out fear today.

Unless you uproot fear, then you'll find business growth nearly impossible.  On the other hand, if you finally uproot fear for good, you’ll eventually realize that achieving solid, sustainable growth is quite straightforward!


What Kind of Fear Do Most Entrepreneurs Experience?


There's no doubt about it... Most entrepreneurs experience fear on a regular basis, particularly when it comes time to kickstart growth.  Why?  Because, growth requires us to get uncomfortable, and our human instincts truly despise and fear discomfort.

However, the biggest difference between the most successful CEOs and the ones who never live up to their full potential is that successful CEOs understand how to manage their fears.

For the successful CEO, it isn't as much about eliminating fear as it is learning how to use it to their advantage!

That being said, some of the most common business growth-related fears that CEOs experience include:

  • The fear of failure
  • The fear of the unknown
  • The fear or taking risks
  • The fear of change
  • The fear of disappointing others
  • The fear of rejection

While each of these fears are stand-alone, they are all deeply rooted in another more highly-potent fear: The fear of being judged.

Think about it... Most CEOs are afraid to fail because they're afraid of how people will perceive them because of it.  Similarly, CEOs who are afraid of rejection are afraid of it because they worry how rejection will make others perceive them!

Furthermore, every CEO experiences fear, especially when it comes to company growth!  Why?  Because, growth requires a significant amount of discomfort, and discomfort is our human instinct's least favorite experience of all...


Here’s the Real Impact That Fear Has on Business Growth


These days, most entrepreneurs aren't afraid to talk about how they’ve experienced negative emotions, including fear, on their business journey.

However, few of them ever really dive into the impacts that fear created throughout their journey!  More specifically, few share how fear impeded their ability to grow.

To start shedding some light, these are 5 real, common, and mostly unspoken impacts that feeling fear has on business growth.

More likely than not, if you're a CEO who's currently overwhelmed with fear, then your fear itself is reaping havoc on your business and it's growth.  

How much longer will you allow fear to push you off track?


Business growth strategies


1. Fear Drives Your Team Members Into the Ground


Believe it or not, but if you're filled with fear, you'll inevitably drive your team members into the ground.  By that, we mean that if you feel fear, your team members will inevitably start to feel it as well for two key reasons, including:

  1. Fear is infections; and
  2. Team members reflect you, the business owner.

Before you know it, your entire team will be off its game because YOU didn't get your fears in check!  

And, unless you plan on going the solopreneur route, then you'll need your entire team to be on top of their game to make your business grow.

Bottom line: In order to hit a growth stage, you need all hands on deck.  However, you'll have approximately zero hands on deck if you, the CEO, don't start things off by getting your own fears in check.


Fear Is Palpable


Fear is palpable.  When you feel afraid, you don't have to say it out loud, because others around you will already sense it.

Moreover, fear is infectious!  When you feel afraid, it changes the entire energy in the room from positive to negative.

Don't believe it?

Consider this: Have you ever walked into a conference room for a sales meeting and the tension in the air was so thick that you could cut it with a knife?  If so, the reason for that, more likely than not, was because the salesperson controlling the meeting was completely unhinged with their fears.  They didn't need to say it out loud for you to know that they were very afraid.

That being said, if you walk into your business everyday and address your team members while feeling very afraid, it's only inevitable that the energy in the room will shift from positive to negative.  

Then, knowing that you're afraid, your team members will suddenly start to lose confidence in themselves and allow fear to take over.  Before you know it, your entire business will be filled with people being consumed by their own fears.

Remember, fear is energy.  And, all energy, including fear, is infectious.  So, if you want to run a successful business, then you first need to get your energy in check.  

However, you don't necessarily need to eliminate fear... Instead, you need to transform it into positive energy before it throws your entire team off!


Your Business Is a Reflection of YOU


Like we mentioned above, fear, like all other emotions, is purely energy.  And, energy is created by the thoughts you think.

Therefore, the feeling of fear is created by negative thoughts you think about yourself.  For example, thinking that you aren’t capable of increasing your market share will inevitably create fear related to business growth.

Keep in mind that whatever thoughts you think and subsequent energy you radiate ultimately determines the actions you take.  Then, those actions will determine your level of success.

For example… If you think bad thoughts about yourself and your abilities, then you'll feel afraid of things like business growth failure.  Because you feel afraid, you'll take limited actions.  As a result of those limited actions, you won't achieve the kind of next-level growth that you want.

A better and simpler way of putting things is that your business is a reflection of you, your thoughts, and your feelings!

So, if you want to achieve solid growth, then you need to focus on the energy that you're bringing to the table as a business owner.  Because in the end, those negative thoughts and feelings will only create negative outcomes.


Business growth and development


2. Fear Drives New Customers Away


Just like how your team members will instantly pick-up on your radiating fear, so will your potential new customers.

​And, here's the unfortunate truth about that... Unless you exude confidence, the opposite of fear, it's nearly impossible to gain new customers in your current market or a new market!

Think about it... Why would a potential customer buy from you if you're exuding fear instead of confidence?  If you're not confident in yourself, your abilities, and your product or service, then why would they have confidence in you?

The hard truth is that fear drives customers away!  When it comes down to it, showing off the fact that you're fearful instead of confident gives off the impression that you're not an expert at what you do.  And, another hard truth is that high-quality prospects only want to work with experts.

No growing business ever grew out of fear!  Instead, businesses grow out of confidence, because confidence captivates new customers and elevates you to an irreplaceable expert.


Prospects Want Confident Experts, Not Unassured Vendors


Consider this... Let's say that you have debilitating back pain, so your primary care doctor sends you to see an orthopedic surgeon.  And, not just any surgeon, but a supposed expert and renowned physician in your area.  Then the day of your consultation, the surgeon walks into the room and something completely throws you off…  Instead of getting the sense that you're talking with a renowned expert, you get the sense that the surgeon is quite nervous.  All of a sudden, you're second guessing your decision to be operated on by this surgeon.

Just like how you'd want to be completely confident in your surgeon's expertise before they operate on you, the same can be said for your potential customers!  They want to get a sense that they're working with somebody who knows exactly what they're doing.

The first and most important way to show customers that you know exactly what you're doing is simply by being confident in yourself and your deliverable, along with kicking fear to the curb.


Here's How to Solidify Your Expertise


Like we mentioned above, the way to solidify yourself as an expert is by exuding confidence.  And, in order to be confident, you need to eradicate fear, as the energy of fear completely opposes the energy of confidence.

However, in addition to eradicating fear while exuding confidence, there are a couple of other ways you can solidify your expert status, including:

  1. Not giving away free proposals;
  2. Shortening your sales cycle; and
  3. Simplifying your business model.

If you do these three things in addition to exuding confidence, prospects won't question your expertise!  Instead, they'll immediately assume that you're the perfect person to help them overcome their problems.


3. Procrastinating on Business Growth Plans


Here's the thing: Business growth and entrepreneurship in general takes guts.  Whether you're starting a new business or growing an existing one, it takes a considerable amount of strength to even think about going down that route!

However, one of the most common signs of boiling-up fear is procrastination.

In an effort to avoid the discomforts that come with company growth, entrepreneurs soothe themselves with procrastination.  Because, by procrastinating, they don’t have to think about all of the discomforts that inevitably come with growth.

For example, every entrepreneur needs to develop business growth plans.  Whether they're diving into new product development or are upping their market penetration, they need strategic plans to accomplish growth.  

However, constantly pushing those plans off to the side and making excuses such as 'I'm too busy for that now' or 'I'll get to that later', is usually a pretty clear sign that fear is lurking beneath the surface and is being disguised as procrastination on the surface!

Furthermore, if you're always procrastinating on growth plans and other growth-related factors, then odds are that fear is at work!


You Can't Avoid the Inevitable


When it comes to company growth, you can't avoid the inevitable... By that, we mean that you can procrastinate all you want, but at one point or another, you'll have to face the inevitable discomforts that come with business growth, including:

  1. Developing thorough business plans;
  2. Monitoring company growth metrics; and
  3. Gathering thorough target market data.

And, these are only a few of the inevitables that come with running a growing business!

Moreover, you can procrastinate or run away all you want, but you can't hide forever.

Instead of running away from the inevitable, you're better off tackling the core cause of procrastination (AKA fear!).


Use Procrastination to Your Advantage


Believe it or not, but if you play your cards right, procrastination can actually help you become a better business owner and achieve stronger growth!

That is, at least, if you don't allow it to completely overwhelm you and use it as an excuse to dodge key components of business growth, including developing solid growth plans.

That being said, studies show that procrastination can actually help stimulate creativity.

Think of it like this... Very rarely do breakthrough business ideas come when you're sitting at your desk trying to force yourself to come up with awesome new growth plans.  On the contrary, most business growth ideas come from the moments in which you allow your mind to wander freely!

For example, how many times have you stepped away from your desk to go for a walk only to all of a sudden have a breakthrough creative idea pop into your head?

Allowing yourself to procrastinate every once in a while gets those creative juices flowing, because procrastination calls on the power of your genius subconscious mind.

Moreover, just be sure that you don't allow fear to turn into endless procrastination, otherwise the cons of procrastinating will completely overwhelm the potential creative pros.


Stages of business growth


4. Developing An Unnecessarily Complex Business Growth Strategy


Whenever you feel fearful about something, you unconsciously make things more complicated than they need to be.  And, business growth is no exception! 

For example, let's say that you're afraid to reach out to B2B buyers in your existing customer base for referrals... What could be a really simple task all of a sudden turns into a major fiasco!  Instead of reaching out clearly and directly, you create multiple hoops for yourself to jump through, and ultimately don’t even reach out because it feels too overwhelming.

That being said, fear breeds complexity!  

When it comes to business growth and fear, one of the worst things that can happen is developing an unnecessarily complex business growth strategy.  What should be simple and straightforward turns into a complex disaster.

And, the worst part is that the entire purpose of having a growth strategy is to simplify the growth process!

Think of a growth strategy like a blueprint for building a house... The blueprint is meant to create actionable steps to manifest the final house.  Similarly, the growth strategy is meant to create actionable steps to manifest your vision of a growing business.

Unless you kick fear to the curb, you'll likely overcomplicate the heck out of business growth.  And, complexity is perhaps the easiest and most debilitating way to stunt growth.


Fear Breeds Complexity


If you feel like you're jumping through hoops trying to make your business grow, then something is wrong.  While growth is certainly challenging, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is hard, difficult, or complex.

However, if you make your strategic planning more complicated than it needs to be, then growth will certainly feel exceedingly difficult!

At the end of the day, many business owners shoot themselves in the foot with their growth strategies.  In an effort to grow a successful business, they make things way harder than they need to be.  Most of the time, this all is rooted in fear.

Bottom line: Don't shoot yourself in the foot!  Tame your fears in order to scale back unneeded complexity.  In the end, complexity never does anything good for entrepreneurs.


Complex Growth Plans Foster Complex (& Unachievable) Business Goals


Remember, business growth is simple!  It really comes down to three key factors, including your:

  1. Business vision;
  2. Growth strategy; and
  3. ​Business growth goals.

First off, you need a clear vision of where you want your business to be in the future.  The vision should clarify why you want to achieve growth in the first place, and the experience that you're trying to create through your growing business.

Second, the growth strategy outlines your plan of attack for manifesting the vision. It paves the pathway for you to get to that final outcome.

Lastly, you need to set realistic business goals which, when achieved, will fulfill each element of the growth strategy.

Unfortunately though, if you have an unnecessarily complex strategy, then you'll have unnecessarily complex goals.  More specifically, goals that:

  1. Are unrealistic; and
  2. Don't accumulate to fulfill each piece of the strategy; and
  3. Are nearly impossible to accomplish in a set period of time.

Furthermore, having a complex strategy, sets off an entire cascade of other issues.  Instead of letting fear get the best of you, smash it before it manifests into unnecessary and mind boggling complexity.


Business growth ideas


5. A Narrowing of Your Perspective


The most successful business owners are the ones with the widest perspectives.  By that, we mean the ones who are able to envision the greatest amount of possibilities for their business.  Moreover, they're able to zoom out and see the big picture of what could be!

On the other hand, the least successful business owners are usually the ones with the narrowest perspectives.  Instead of zooming out to capture the entire picture, they're only able to see what's right in front of them.

Unfortunately, when you're overwhelmed with fear, your perspective inevitably narrows.

Think of it like this: Have you ever had an amazing business idea that was way bigger than anything you'd ever thought of before?  Then, seconds after the idea popped into your head, did fear poke its ugly head out and say to you, 'You should start smaller' or 'You'll never accomplish something that big!'?

If you're like most entrepreneurs, then you've certainly been there before.

That being said, unless you keep fear in check, your perspective will inevitably narrow.  The narrower your perspective, the smaller growth you'll accomplish because the fewer opportunities you’ll see.  

On the other hand, the broader your perspective, the greater growth you’ll accomplish because you’ll see an abundance of opportunities at your disposal.


You Can’t Grow While Looking Through a Small Lens


How can you expect major growth while having such a narrow perspective?

To put it simply... You can't!

Don't expect a whole lot of growth unless you broaden your horizons.  In order to do that, you'll need to manage fear so that it doesn't shrink your perspective.

There is no idea that it is too big.  Not only that, but no business ever grew while being led by an owner who didn't think big!

You can have the best growth plans ever, the strongest sales and marketing strategies, and the best team on your side, but unless you broaden your perspectives, it'll all go to waste.


Final Thoughts on the Unspoken Impacts of Fear on Business Growth


Until now, you may have only seen fear as a nuisance that keeps popping its head out every now and again, but the truth is that it's so much more than that.  That is, at least, if you let it go on unchecked.

Left unchecked, fear will reap havoc on your business and completely undo the effort you put into kickstarting growth.

If your path forward is exceedingly foggy and you are jumping through hoops to achieve growth only to be left disappointed, then it's time to consider if fear is unknowingly uprooting all of your progress.

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