I’m scared my start-up is going to fail. Help!

Dear Aunty B,

I know 80% of start-ups fail, but when I started my business, I was sure it would be a success. Now three years on, I don’t feel sure at all. It’s been very hard and I feel scared all the time that I’m going to fail.

Scared and Desperate,



Dear Scared and Desperate,

I am so tired of hearing that plain wrong statistic about most start ups failing. That statistic came from a study that was decades old that only looked at why a group of start ups weren’t in operation a number of years later. Subsequent studies have found that many of those businesses deemed a failure had actually been sold, bought, merged or the owner had come up with a better idea and pursued that. People that call those businesses a failure misunderstand the fundamental drivers of entrepreneurship.

ABS figures actually show the reverse, that most start-ups continue in business and in fact the more employees you take on the greater your chance of success.
Secondly, the first two years are always the worst, and yeah, all entrepreneurs feel scared most of the time. Unfortunately for you, your third year had to coincide with a global recession, so at a time when you should be feeling more confident, the world is crawling into a hole.

The good news for you, is that as the economy picks up, your business will pick up, and your fear will fade. Further good news is that the longer you stay in business, the more resilient you become. You won’t stop feeling fear at all times, it happens, but the longer you are in business the more capable you are at dealing with it.

So congratulations on three years in business and here’s to a happy new financial year!

Good luck
Your Aunty B


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I read all your stories about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and I’m starting to think I haven’t got what it takes. I’m not sure what I’m asking but I don’t think I can keep going on like this.


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