By Deborah Edwards, Raised Up Finance
Businesses exist to make money. But even with that goal in mind, it doesn’t mean it’s an easy ride. There are many different reasons why one business succeeds and another fails. It’s not down to the idea itself, the readiness of the industry or hard work behind the scenes. Often, it's due to the individual and their beliefs, attitude to money and the impact that these have on the how the business is shaped and the decisions they make. All the financial academia in the world telling you to create profit and loss forecasts will not be a game changer if you have a relationship barrier with money. And here’s the thing: Few people don’t have some kind of limiting belief.
Money blocks are all too real and common in personal and business finance often stemming from our upbringing and journey through life and the lessons we have learned along the way. Learning to recognise and then overcome them is essential early on to clear the pathway for a lucrative and rewarding enterprise.
Here are four ways to help you overcome your own fear of money.
1. Recognise & Acknowledge the Fear
As is the case with any fear, the first step to overcoming fear of money is to recognise it. Do that and it becomes easier to identify what’s actually the issue.
Do you fear the thought of losing money? If so, you could have a scarcity mindset which causes you to hang on to money rather than invest it, thus preventing you from bigger and better things. You may also have a low attitude to risk. You might recognise yourself in this scenario. There’s an event being held in Excel, London. You know that many of your potential clients are attending the event and it could be a real good place to connect with these people and just landing one client would give you £10k income in one year. But the exhibition stand starts at £2,000 and there’s no guarantee. You don’t make the investment and decide that you could just attend as a day visitor, if you can spare the time.
Or do you fear not making enough money? Do you trust yourself, your ability and the value in what your business can offer? So you might hold back in talking about your business. If no one knows, no one will judge you if you don’t make it, right? You might also have receiving blocks, where our past circumstances have led us to feel guilty when we have gained or been given gifts or rewards as a result of that receipt. Your mind is protecting you from feeling that guilt and discomfort, but actually, it’s preventing you from opening up your business to income. You might subconsciously sabotage potential new client attempts to pay you for your offered products and services, such as not engaging with their enquiry, discounting them or putting them off in another way.
Another common block is the fear of failure, encouraging low bar "break even" mindset from the beginning. This is where you may find yourself making excuses or saying “you’re not the main breadwinner anyway”, or "you're a not for profit" organisation regardless that all businesses need to generate an excess of cash over costs, even if it's for social good.
Acknowledging your fear, whatever it may be, helps identify the real underlying issue.
2. Ask for Help
Whether it’s personal or business finances, there’s always someone out there that knows more. You may not have even realised until reading this article that there is even such a thing as a money block and that it is something that is inside of us as a result of our conditioning as we progress through life.
People who hit money blocks and develop a fear of money are those that never ask for help. But there’s no shame in asking someone more experienced or qualified about what you can do in this regard.
Money blocks are typically a "personal" matter, rather than a business one, so look to a suitably qualified coach who can explore these blocks with you. Be prepared to think back to your childhood and do a bit of self analysis and critiquing. Often we behave in ways that we don't even acknowledge until someone points it out to us. It's never too late to unpack it all and move ahead with trust and confidence.
3. Talk about & Ask for Money easily
In Britain particularly, we aren't very good at talking about money. In a business context however, talking about money with ease and confidence is vital.
Are you not generating enough revenue? If so, why not consider asking for money? This can be in the form of not discounting, making excuses because of a fear that you are new to the scene or you don't feel experienced enough. Can you have the right conversations with the right people? Are you fishing in the right ponds? Is the price that you charge agreeable to the market that you are targeting? If not, then it may be time to change markets... and your marketing.
If asking for money makes you feel uncomfortable, you could have a receiving block. Sometimes this can stem from being made to feel guilty about receiving presents as a child, amongst other reasons. Practice stating your prices in front of the mirror. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and the more confident and worthy of that price tag you - and your products and services appear.
If you are seeking investment, practice talking about cash flow, profit, burn rates and returns on investment with an experienced ear. This could be another business owner or a finance professional, such as your accountant.
Read the business sections of quality newspapers so you become comfortable with the language and hold regular meetings within your business to talk about cash, profit and business performance.
4. Develop New Money Habits
Sometimes, the best way to overcome a block is to step outside your comfort zone. If you’ve read something that resonates with you, be mindful of your responses when presented with opportunities or situations. Try to make adjustments and developing new money habits that can help overcome the block.
It will take work and time.
If you look at everything with a view that it is too expensive, or don't recognise value, you will naturally assume that others do the same. This is not the case. Don't make someones else decision for them by making the assumption.
If you are someone who doesn't like paying a professional to do something because you have been raised in an environment where "you could do it yourself," have a go at delegating and paying for another to do a task and see how you can best utilise the time that you saved. You never know, you may make even more money than what you spent on getting someone else to do something.
The idea is to try new things and make progress. After all, small successes add up and can alter the mindset and before you know it, you'll be a smooth talking, walking the walk confident entrepreneur with cash in the bank!
Deborah is a chartered accountant and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and has been supporting business founders, owners and entrepreneurs for over 20 years.
Founder of Raised Up Finance, a business finance mentoring and education organisation, Practice Director of Harland Accountants and Director of Crowdfunder UK, Deborah is on a mission to bridge the gap between the skills required for effective financial management that leads to clarity, freedom & prosperity and business owners, for whom this is not their area of expertise.
Follow Deborah for more information on handling your finances in business and overcoming the fear.