Have you ever wondered why some people achieve small business success while others find themselves sitting on the sidewalk waving flags as the parade passes by?

Unfortunately, there are many external reasons why people fail.  But the good news is that most can be simply remedied through external solutions.  For instance, if your business lacks cash then you may need to seek creative financing methods.  

Or if lack of time is holding you back, then perhaps a few time-management courses are in order, or maybe it will take hiring an assistant.  The first step in breaking down external barriers is identifying them.  Then you can craft solutions that work best for you.  Once you remove those external barriers, success is simply a matter of time and perseverance.

On the other hand, internal barriers are a little more difficult to identify and to overcome – which is why it’s the topic of our discussion today.  

I have found that the biggest barriers to success are the internal ones we place on ourselves  that we dredge up from the deep, shadowy recesses of our minds.  In particular, these three are especially nasty:

Barrier #1:  Fear

Hands-down, fear is the biggest barrier to small business success.  Fear has kept countless millions of people from achieving their dreams – cowering in the corner afraid to venture outside the safe.  Some of these people fear failure; others fear success.  Some fear change, some fear sameness.  There are as many fears as there are people.  But one thing is for certain, all fears can be paralyzing if we allow hem to get a foothold in our thoughts and actions.

The best way to overcome fear is through cultivating courage.  

–    Start being deliberately courageous in the decisions you make regarding growth, risk, and day-to-day operations.  The more you practice courage the more courageous you will become.
–    Resolve to never again “take the easy road.”  Have a clear understanding of your beliefs and core values, so when situations come up, you know where you stand.  
–    Accept personal responsibility for the decisions you make, and encourage those around you to do the same.
–    Make sure the people you hire and promote are also courageous people.  Surround yourself with fearless people you’ll discover what a powerhouse organization you can become.

Courage can conquer fear and help speed us on our way to small business success.

Barrier #2:  Lack of Vision

Unfortunately, many small businesses are so focused on the day-to-day business of keeping the doors open  that they neglect this incredibly important  aspect.


Vision is what defines who you are as a company, your core values, and your future aspirations.  It truly is your “reason for being.”  

Additionally, having a clear, strong vision motivates, inspires, and empowers your employees.  A vision that starts at the top and threads through the organization is an excellent loyalty and retention tool because employees like being part of a company that knows where it’s going and how to get there.  Remember, too, that your employees – more than anyone else – will be the driving forces behind your vision.  They will be the ones to bring your vision to fruition.  

If you don’t have a vision for your company, it’s time to develop one.  After all, if you don’t know where you want to go, how can you expect to get there?

Barrier #3:  Lack of Faith

I’ve heard it said by many wise people that you can only achieve that which you believe.  

Do you believe you can achieve your dreams of success?  Do you really believe it?  If not…why not!

If we don’t believe in ourselves and our ability to achieve, then success will always be just beyond our reach.  If you don’t have faith in yourself and your dreams, how can you expect anyone else to believe in you?

Truth is, some people lack faith because they are afraid to hope too much, fearing that they will be disappointed.  I say don’t just hopeexpect!  Expect good things to happen! Have faith that you success is imminent!  

Let me tell you something:  wide-eyed optimism will take you and your company a heck of a lot further than always viewing life through the eyes of Eeyore.  

Believe in yourself.  Believe you can achieve…and you will.

On your road to success, don’t let barriers – either external or internal – detour you or stand in your way to realizing your dreams and  goals.  Face them down and get on with it.

© Copyright 2009, BusinessBurrito.  All rights reserved.

Donna Williams is the founder and creator of BusinessBurrito.com – a website dedicated to helping small businesses grow to their maximum potential. She is also a 25-year advertising / marketing executive, creative director, writer, and producer. Together, Donna and her husband currently own and co-own five small businesses. To read more of her articles, or to sign up for her free weekly e-newsletter, visit her website at www.businessburrito.com

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