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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Fight the Fear: Name What You Control

Written By: Margie Clayman | No Comments

These days, it seems like the entire world is flying out of control, doesn’t it? Entire countries are on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. The polar ice caps are melting and polar bears can’t rest enough while looking for food. Heck, even objects from space are threatening to fall into our bathtubs. All of this creates a perfect storm great for one cause – breeding fear.

As more and more people and things spiral out of control, we can begin to lose our grip too. We can feel more insecure. It gets easy to worry more about our kids, our aging parents or about how we’re going to afford that next mortgage payment. Everything seems to be moving and spinning faster and faster until eventually, we all just want to fall down. 

The fear of the unknown, or the fear of the “out-of-control,” has one mortal enemy, and it’s a very easy enemy to maneuver. We simply need to sit down and give a name to everything we do control in our businesses. This exercise might inspire fear that you need to fight, too. After all, your gut reaction may be something like, “Well, this will be a short list.” Push through that. Let’s identify what you do have control over or what you can attain control over in the foreseeable future. For example, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I control the money that is coming in?
  2. Do I control the money that is going out?

If you do not have control over these two facets of your business as an entrepreneur, a lot of the uncertainty you are facing can easily be explained away. You need to get a grasp on where your sales are coming from. You need to look for trends. You need to find out who your most reliable customers are and you need to nurture those relationships.

If you do not feel like you are controlling the money that is going out, you can easily grasp control of that as well. Start keeping your receipts. Start monitoring your bills month to month and see where you can cut expenses. Go without that latest model of everything. Compromise. Gain control.

Now, ask yourself two more questions:

  1. Do you control your competition?
  2. Does your competition control you?

Controlling your competition may seem like a Herculean feat. However, we are not talking about controlling how you play in the sandbox with your competition. Do you maintain your path, even while your competition insists that you are doing it the wrong way? Do you price things based on what your research shows versus what your competition is doing?

If your competition controls you, you are running your business in a reactionary way. That means that the tail is always wagging the dog, which means you are never going to know what is going to happen next. That feeds the fear. Take control of how you interact with your competitors and you will take more control over your business. Doing so is an effective way to fight the fear.

Fear feeds on the unknown. In your business, there can be very few unknown elements or there can be a lot of unknown elements. This too is something that you can control. Ask yourself questions about your business that are related to the fears you have right now. Do you have a secure customer base? Do you have a plan if your biggest customer or client fires you? Do you have a plan if your best employee gets a new job?

If you already have answers to these questions, great! You are already fighting the fear. If you do not have answers, pursuing the answers will help you feel more secure and in control. Fear really hates that.

What questions are you going to ask yourself so that you can name what you can control and fight the fear? I’d love to hear from you!

Article written by
Margie Clayman is the Vice President of Client Services at Clayman Marketing Communications in Akron Ohio. She blogs at www.claymanmarketingcommunications.wordpress.com and at her own personal blog, www.margieclayman.com.