3 Sources of Family Business Fear

Family Owned Business is a series of blog posts about the exciting, rewarding, often challenging, and always unique elements of family owned small businesses. No, we are not talking about the Mafia. Family members make great partners, right? Wrong! Read these posts before you risk everything. This post is on family business fear. Myth: A family business is more successful than other types. Fact: There are many unique elements that make operating a family business more challenging than other types. For the business strategist, a primary hurdle is fear within the family business. Consider these three sources of fear:
  1. Fear of Success
  2. Fear of Commitment and Disappointment
  3. Fear of Failure
Yes, fear of success is real. The result of success is not the source. It is the concern that family members will have higher and higher expectations of someone who is successful. The pressure is often too much for many entrepreneurs to bear. Success also often brings jealousy, resentment, and hostility from other family members. The tragic end result is that an entrepreneurial family member will often avoid the success to avoid the stress. Family business fear can arise in the form of an aversion to commitment and disappointment. Remember that even adult children long for the approval of their parents.
This fear is often unfounded but still significant. A wise parent assures the adult child entrepreneur that it is more noble to try, and fail, than to never try at all. The entrepreneur always considers failure in his business strategy. Fear of failure is rarely the primary element that prevents an attempt. Other factors contribute to the fear of failure which in turn results in the risk aversion attitude. If there is no risk then there is no reward. The only way for an entrepreneur to be successful is for the entrepreneur to take risks. The conundrum prevents many dreamers from ever taking that leap.
 Fear is often a good thing but it can also be a dream killer. The family business is only as good as the cornerstones on which it was built. This means that the successful business must be led by family elders or young leaders who have excellent leadership skills and values to sustain the business. How do you overcome fear of success and failure? Share your thoughts. 
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