Four Business Fears That Might Be Holding You Back

Many adults have fears when it comes to doing business. Whether your fears are rational or irrational, they CAN be overcome.

Are you afraid of public speaking? It’s commonly cited that people fear speaking in public more than death itself. But for a small business owner, being able to address a group is one of the most valuable skills you can have. The occasion to speak to a group brings with it an opportunity to educate, inform, inspire, entertain, and motivate.

On any given day around the globe, millions of people are making presentations. In the business world, this includes formal speeches, keynote addresses, informational talks, sales presentations, and business meetings. Many of you may never find yourself in a situation where you will face dozens of strangers in the audience or stand behind a podium holding a microphone. But you undoubtedly will face many clients across your desk, and your success will depend heavily on how you present yourself.

How can you overcome this fear? Practice in front of your friends or by videoing yourself and getting an honest critique. Improve by taking a public speaking class or joining Toastmasters — it’s free and it works.

Are you afraid of technology? It’s time to get with the (cloud-based) program if you expect your business to keep pace with the competition. Consumers are adopting technology avidly, and they’ll quickly lose patience if your business doesn’t offer what they need, whether it’s a mobile-friendly website or e-commerce capabilities.

Adding video to your home page is critical these days. People don’t read long pages of text anymore. Given the chance to watch a 60-second overview video on a business or destination is gold. It’s also a very professional touch that sets you apart from the others. Whether you need to take a class, sign up for a webinar or enlist an IT consultant (or a more tech-savvy friend or employee) to tutor you, don’t be shy.

Are you afraid of leading? Leadership is the act of articulating and acting in pursuit of a vision that flows from the commitment to a higher purpose. It’s hard to believe, but many entrepreneurs fear conflict so much that they abdicate their management responsibilities, never confronting employees about problem behaviors or poor performances. If you don’t hold employees accountable, it’s not their fault — it’s yours. And the failure to lead will destroy your business.

If this fear resonates with you, take a leadership course. Your local college or adult education center may offer leadership or management courses. Or, now might be the ideal time to enroll in The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) or Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) program.

Are you afraid to let the client know what you’re worth? If something is easy for us to do, we often devalue what it’s worth to others, without considering that it’s our hard-won experience and expertise that makes it so easy. The noted speaker, author, and travel veteran Nolan Burris offers these tips for educating the consumer on your value:

  • Reveal your hard work. The average traveler has no idea how you do your job. Most are clueless about the amount of time, energy, and effort that goes into it. So, tell them: “I’m thrilled to show you what I’ve found. I spent three hours researching websites, speaking with the most reliable travel suppliers, and comparing numerous options. Luckily, I’m a certified specialist in this destination so I know what to look for and what to avoid.”
  • Take all the credit. With all the time and careful investigation you put into finding savings, upgrades, and extras, you should get credit for it! So, stop saying: “This cruise is offering a one category upgrade and a $200 shipboard credit.” Start saying: “I got you an upgrade, and I’ve even arranged for you to have $200 to spend onboard any way you like.”
  • Make your credentials matter: Achievements like CTA, CTC, CTIE, and destination or supplier certifications can help in promoting your professionalism. However, their value is diminished until you tell your clients why they matter — not in a boastful way, but in-context within your consultation. Try this: “I’m really happy to help you with your trip. I spent a lot of time becoming a Certified Travel Counselor, so you can relax and know that you’re in good hands. It was hard work, but totally worth it. Let’s get started!”

So, what are you afraid of — and how would getting over your fears help your business grow?

This week’s Hot Tip Tuesday was based on White Papers and Friday Five blogs available for free to Premium Members of The Travel Institute. Attend the free webinar on July 30 at 12:00 PM (EDT) and learn how to become a member of The Travel Institute.