The perception of the fear of failure is one of the main deterrents for ICT entrepreneurs in Europe, but it is also an inherent possibility in any process. That is why FACE Entrepreneurship has taken on the challenge to accept failure as a natural part of development needed to enhance education and evolution of ICT entrepreneurship.
The FACE (Failure Aversion Change in Europe) project aims to promote ICT entrepreneurship and to foster a risk-taking culture through a marketing and communications campaign throughout EU member states. FACE wants to change the perception many Europeans have of failure especially when it comes to starting up an ICT business. FACE Entrepreneurship accepts the challenge to help aspiring entrepreneurs overcome and face those fears.
Fears realted to the road to ICT entrepreneurship
FACE Entrepreneurship has carried out a Delphi Study which aims to identify the main fears of an entrepreneur, their causes, consequences and the best ways to get past them.
The study has been conducted by Jan Brinckmann, Professor of Entrepreneurship at ESADE Business School and member of the Advisory Board of FACE Entrepreneurship project. In this study have participated mentors and investors all over the European Union.
The first round of the study found that the main doubts and uncertainties related to the fear of failure, and which affect ICT entrepreneurship, included:
Financial Fears: The fear of ending up bankrupt, penniless and/or homeless or of not being able to raise the necessary funds to keep the project afloat.
Professional Career Fears: The fear that a previous professional career could end and that one’s life’s efforts in education and work might be in vain.
Competency Fears: The fear of not having adequate knowledge to start a project and the lack of access to experts as well as a fear of feeling all alone and not knowing how to carry on.
Individual Liberty Fears: The fear of giving up free time for family, friends, and hobbies due to the time commitment and effort required when starting up.
Social-Perception Fears: The fear that others will think the idea is crazy and doubt or ridicule the entrepreneur. It also includes the fear that if the venture doesn’t work out, the entrepreneur will be thought of as a failure for life and not approach opportunities in the future.
Self-Perception Fears: The fear of self-doubt and lacking the confidence to lead the project. Another part of this fear is that the entrepreneur might consider themselves a failure which may have a lasting psychological impact.
Fear of Losing it all: A combination of all of the previous fears.
The study determined certain factors that can increase the level of doubt in an entrepreneur. One such example is that if an entrepreneur has experienced success previously then they will have more to lose by starting their own business, on the other hand it also shows that previous success can provide a financial cushion, or a safety net, that allows the entrepreneur to feel more comfortable about taking a risk.
Another factor which magnified the fear of failure was found to be age. Younger entrepreneurs tend to face business ventures with less fear as they feel they have less to lose, but they also have to deal with their lack of experience and knowledge. There are many more reasons that attribute to an increase in the level of fear of failure that we will be addressing over the course of the FACE Entrepreneurship project through different contents and activities.
The True Value of the Fear of Failure
Throughout the study an interesting question also arose: Does fear have just negative consequences? The answer to that is “no”. The experts pointed out that fear can give an entrepreneur a sense of urgency to work harder and learn from their mistakes. That is why FACE Entrepreneurship is focused on altering the idea that failure is detrimental; Fear of failure is inherent in the development of any project, the difference is how entrepreneurs deal with this reality. The study highlighted the aspiring ICT entrepreneurs benefit most from real stories of fear and failure as well as the success that other experienced entrepreneurs have had, therefore we are committed to finding and sharing with our FACErs all of these experiences through online and offline activities.