Mar 2 / Flavia Richardson

How founders can deal with uncertainty

As a business founder, it is common that you will feel doubt. Uncertainty. A lack of control. Sadly, when you run a business, very few things are certain. It is hard to guarantee business, and thus each day can feel like a mystery. You no doubt worry about many things.

Where will your clients come from? How will you pay staff and suppliers? Do you need to do more marketing? Is your new competitor taking over?
Nothing is certain, in business and in life. The secret, then, is to deal with uncertainty. How, though, can you manage this process?

Find a useful mentor. One of the best ways to cope with uncertainty is to find someone that you can learn from. It could be a business owner from your industry, a friend or family member, a colleague, or even an investor partner. You can find that your mentor, whoever they are, can be useful for helping you to look at things rationally. As a business owner, irrationality is a common emotion. Mentors help you to find a more level way of thinking about the issue, though. Before long, you can change your perspective. 

Analyse as much as you can 

Even with every figure and statistic and prediction in the world, you cannot be sure of any outcome. However, if you have done the analysis, then you know that you have as much information as you can realistically have. If you wait until things are perfect then you will likely miss the boat on an opportunity.
Instead, do as much analysis as you can and then take the plunge. You can only plan for so much, but if you at least know you have done as much planning as you can then you can go in with at least some confidence. You cannot guarantee anything, but you can try. 

Review your work and process regularly 

The main thing that you need to work on to manage uncertainty is to look at your process. If you are confident that your business is doing things in the right way, then you should have nothing to worry about. If you review the process and know you are not cutting corners or taking the easy way, then you can go forward with confidence.
Uncertainty is often at its most intense when you do not know if the process you use is good enough. By regularly reviewing your process, you can spot flaws and issues in how you work. Then, you can adjust and improve. Only through regular reviews can you feel certain that your way of doing things is good enough.  

Embrace the uncertainty 

Lastly, make sure that you embrace this. Life is a rollercoaster, and running a business is even more high-stakes. However, if you spend all of your time worrying about the uncertainty of an outcome, you will never act. Take action – live with the consequence. If you feel like your business needs a new product or service, try it out.
The worst thing that can happen is the idea fails and you stop production. If you allow uncertainty to rule you entirely, though, how are you likely to progress?
Embrace the fact that you do not know what is around the corner – it is, really, the only way to confront the unknown head on! 

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