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is 921720282 owner awake at night largeDo you ever wake up in the middle of the night worrying about your business?

Every business owner worries about small business problems, and they can keep you from doing your job well. At what point does worrying about small business problems become a problem in itself?

Let’s look at the top eight business fears to help you understand them and turn them into a positive force for change.

Fear can protect you and your business. On the other hand, when it starts to interfere with your work and hinder your confidence, it becomes a big problem.

Learning to overcome your fears, tackle them head-on and turn them to a powerful catalyst for movement can lead to greatness. Here are the top eight fears you might face as a small business owner – and how to overcome them.

"Of all the hazards, fear is the worst." – Sam Snead

1. Failure

Failure is by far the biggest fear that keeps both big and small business owners awake at night.

"I’m not encouraging failure. I am discouraging the fear of failure…fear of failure constrains us and amazing things stop happening." – Regina Dugan, Director, DARPA

There's always the possibility that your business won't work out. But so often we misinterpret what failure and success truly mean.

Having your own idea of what success looks like is important. But as an entrepreneur, you have to let go of some of your expectations.

Take challenges as they come and allow them to help you grow. Not getting discouraged when you feel like you're failing is hard to master. But the true failure, in the end, is giving up.

2. Risk

Risk and failure are two small business issues that go hand in hand. When we live with these fears, we hold back from making decisions that can propel us forward.

Business owners must take risks all the time. Without risks, business will remain stagnant and – in the long run – will be unlikely to survive.

There's a difference between being a smart risk-taker and an impulsive one. Know exactly what you're putting on the line before taking a risk. Listen to your gut when it comes down to making the decision to take a risk, but make sure your gut is an informed one.

If the risk seems too great, consider the alternatives. Consult with others and discuss what's at stake. Sometimes it helps to get an outside perspective.

3. Instability

When you step into the world of entrepreneurship, you leave behind the safety cushion of the 9-to-5. You give up having a steady weekly paycheck and benefits. You give up the routine of it all and dive into something unpredictable.

You've accepted the plunge and the new reality of a small business owner. But that doesn't mean you're fearless, either. Until you reach a point where you feel comfortable, and centered, make yourself feel stable in other ways.

It's hard to keep your work and home life separate. Work on improving your work-life balance. Learn to walk away when you're feeling overworked.

Have hobbies outside of your business; exercise and maintain your interpersonal relationships. If you have employees, encourage them to take personal days and vacations.

4. Insecurity

Am I good enough to run my own business? Do I have what it takes to come out on top? What if I ruin everything I've worked for and disappoint people?

Sound like you?

It's normal to feel insecure from time to time, especially when you don't know the outcome of something. Left unchecked, insecurity will only perpetuate more small business problems. It will get the best of you and hinder your performance if you allow it to.

When you start the day or head into an important task, tell yourself: "I'm going to do the best I can." Mistakes will happen, you’ll screw up and fail. Don’t be too hard on yourself. These are learning opportunities, not failures. Analyze what when wrong and how you might prevent making similar mistakes in the future.

Success doesn't come overnight. Set small business and personal goals each day. By accomplishing things one small goal at a time, you'll feel surer of yourself going forward.

5. Money

There are a million and one things to pay for when running a business. Plus, you have your own bills to pay and mouths to feed. So, needless to say, money is one of the top concerns of small business owners.

Staying organized should be your first order of business. If you're organized and run into a money glitch, you'll be able to easily identify the problem. You'll also be able to track your progress and see where you're doing well and where you can improve.

Making more money might seem like the solution to this fear. But it's not that easy: lack of money is a result, not the cause of your financial woes.

Making more money might seem like the solution to this fear. But it's not that easy: lack of money is a result, not the cause of your financial woes.

Work with an accountant or a business advisor. Find the areas where you can save more money and which ones you should invest in. Your business can grow faster if you resolve the areas that are holding you back.

6. Mistakes

Does the fear of making mistakes prevent you from taking risks and trying new things?

"We do not learn from experience...we learn from reflecting on experience." – John Dewey, HBR

Making mistakes doesn't mean you're stupid. If you're making mistakes, it not only means you're trying, it also means you're growing.

When you learn from your mistakes, you come out bigger and better than before.

Identify the kinds of things that caused you to make mistakes. Work on eliminating them so they no longer interfere with your productivity.

7. Criticism

Afraid people don't like you?

Fear of criticism is among the top concerns of small business owners. Being liked is something we all desire. But there's no pleasing everyone!

Every business owner will encounter the disgruntled or unsatisfied customer. People will give you their opinions and tell you how they think you can do better. Some people might express their downright discontent.

It's bound to happen as a small business owner, no matter how perfect you try to be.

How you take criticism and run with it is what truly matters. Do you take criticism and turn it into something constructive or causally dismiss it? What your customers and suppliers are saying to you is your early warning radar that something might be wrong. It’s critical that you consider feedback and be able to discern helpful criticism from unfounded fault finding.

The bottom line: Don't let criticism batter you down. Doing so will only cause other small business problems. Instead, let criticism inform and help you grow into a stronger and more profitable business owner.

8. Uncertainty

Of all the small business issues you may encounter, the fear of the unknown might gnaw at you the most.

There's no predicting whether your business endeavors will be successes or failures. There's no telling where the economy will be in a year or the directions the market will take.

There's also no way of knowing what kinds of events could affect your personal life in the future.

It's the fear of uncertainty that keeps many of us awake at night. The only thing we can do to prepare for tomorrow is to do our best today.

Overcoming Fear & Small Business Problems

We all have fears, but are your fears preventing you from being successful?

You might've experienced one or all eight of these small business fears at one point or another. You CAN overcome them. Being cognizant of when you're afraid makes for a strong start.

Are you currently experiencing small business problems? Are you struggling with problems and situations? You don’t have to do this alone, reach out to professionals for advice, help, and information. The worst thing you can do is keep doing what you’ve always done and expecting things to get better.