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The fear of failure in entrepreneurship

July 17, 2018



Author: Constantin Măgdălina, Emerging Trends & Technologies Expert

With a tradition fractured by over 40 years of centralized economy, entrepreneurship is revamping in Romania. The private initiative, seen by the majority of the population of the 90's through the political economy lens learnt in communist schools, and the propaganda of that regime, had discarded the old meanings and got new ones.


The ‚business owner’ became an entrepreneur, and the little store with 2 employees became a company that produces value. As a result of openness to the market economy and under the influence of technology, business thinking and vocabulary have changed. The emergence of broadcasts and newspapers on economic issues has helped to increase the visibility of entrepreneurs. Revealing of the success stories, entrepreneurship initiatives in the form of hubs and clusters, mentoring programs, entrepreneurship courses and workshops have strengthened the positive perception of entrepreneurship.


The employee mindset predominates

However, the fear of failure continues to be one of the significant barriers to starting a business. Given that the education of children in families is dominated by the ideal of reaching a higher employee status, it is very difficult to turn them into entrepreneurs. At maturity, their mental frames and their success stories are already built.


Under these circumstances, young people want to be employed and do not dare to become Bill Gates. They are conditioned by family expectations, and any business initiative is thwarted by the lack of suport of those closest to them. The deviation from the social norm of the employee is punished by stigma and thus implies a conforming behavior to individuals.


In fact, in a valuable sense, entrepreneurship is about non-compliance with patterns of thought. It's about curiosity, accepting the possibility of failure and consistency.




Factors that help overcome the fear of failure
If several relevant progress factors relevant to an entrepreneur were systematized from the perspective of fear of failure, they would be:
Curiosity – It is organized in the light of questions that are often not answered by the usual means of employment. This very curiosity often leads us to a series of opportunities. In other words, curiosity is stronger than fear of failure.

Failure is an "accounting asset" – The desire for knowledge and answers gives us the necessary tools not only to understand how to better manage the business, but also what to avoid. Essentially, until they become tangible, many of the results of our thinking lie in the head. Entrepreneurs become more valuable with each failure, bringing them closer to success.

Failure does not mean abandonment – Often the fear of failure is rooted in the fear that entrepreneurial initiative may be perceived as a quitting. If you lost a match after you put your energy in an initiative and you did everything you could do at that time, you will gain more respect than those who have never tried.

Failure strengthens – No one wants to fail. It simply happens. Awareness that this is just a step forward and that you have learned something new will make you a more effective and more confident entrepreneur in the future.

• Tolerance to failure – Willingness to risk is different from the desire to risk. The former refers to capital and is quantifiable. The second relates to motivation and is subjective. Entrepreneurs are not necessarily willing to risk more, but they represent the risk differently.


In conclusion
Fear of failure in entrepreneurship is actually about fear of failure in general. This socially shaped natural feeling finds a remedy through the need for accomplishment, personal ownership of the results, the courage to contradict the social norms, the confidence that you can decide your own prosperity, your attention to the pursuit of objectives and the optimism to overcome the imminent obstacles and make judgments based on subjective factors positively oriented.

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About Constantin Măgdălina

Constantin Măgdălina has a 8 years working experience, while he performed in multinationals both in Romania and abroad. Constantin owns a Master in Marketing and Business Communication at the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest. He is certified Lean Six Sigma and ITIL which provide him a good understanding of processes and transformations within organizations. The Chartered Institute of Marketing certification furthered on complemented his expertise and knowledge in business. In those over 4 years working activity in a Big4 company, he initiated and conducted studies which analyzed different aspects related to the business environment in Romania such as the economic growth predictions of companies in 2013-2016, knowledge management, the buying experience in the age of digital consumers, social media 2013-2015, the utilization of mobile devices in Romania. He is the author of numerous articles on topics related to innovation, the efficiency of business processes, social media, the consumers’ buying experience in the age of digital, trends and emergent technologies. He is invited as speaker at numerous events and business conferences.

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