Business development · 13 December 2015

The small business advent calendar: 13 December – Another door, another festive insight

13 decemberBehind today’s door is a fact about fright that might surprise you. Franklin D Roosevelt once said  that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – and for would-be entrepreneurs in many parts of world his remark rings true.

Thousands of people a year are prevented from starting a business despite having a good idea because they’re scared of being unsuccessful, according to statistics published by the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association (GERA).

But of all the countries the organisation surveyed in 2014, Uganda stood out for having particularly brave potential business owners – with only 13 per cent of those surveyed held back by the fear of failure.

In contrast, in Greece – which topped the poll in terms of fear – this was cited as a deterrent by some 62 per cent of 18-64 year-olds with business ideas. Japan came a close second in the league table of nervousness.

The proportion of British people with entrepreneurial ideas put off by the prospect of failure was slightly above average – some 37 per cent said panic at the possibility they would be unsuccessful prevented them from starting a business at all.

Similarly, Business Advice reported in November that the UK was behind the global average when it came to entrepreneurial spirit – with fear of failure given as a notable reason.

And James Caan, a former Dragons’ Den investor and one of the show’s longest running lenders, advised readers in his recent seven-day startup guide: “Never be afraid to fail. For some reason, British entrepreneurs are so obsessed with avoiding failure and avoiding mistakes when in actuality, every successful entrepreneur you’ll ever meet will tell you these helped shape their future.

“How do you expect to adapt and better your business if you can’t learn from past experiences? It is essential you let go of this innate fear of failure and embrace it.”

Come back tomorrow to find out what’s behind door number 14 of our small business advent calendar.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

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