The perfect storm

What do we get if we take a dose of entrepreneurial impostor syndrome, media, and a female founder? The potential for a perfect storm that leads to business failure before it has even had the chance to bloom.

Impostor syndrome is frequently experienced amongst founders, manifesting in feelings of being a fraud, lacking in confidence & conviction and undeserving of our achievements. Media strategies designed to shock, sadden or scare are almost impossible to dodge.

Left unchecked, it can have considerable influence in what happens next in our business journey.

Rather than building our business, we might decide that now isn’t the right time and don’t take the action whilst waiting for things to improve.

We fear investing in resources that will aid growth, believing that we can do almost all of these things ourselves anyway.

We believe that potential customers won’t be buying, making the decision for them before we’ve even presented the offer.

We may avoid networking opportunities, telling ourselves that they will be a waste of time.

We make these decisions based on feeling alone, to keep us safe. Maybe we won’t make any decisions at all. We just… sort of drift.

In short, the thing we feared might happen, actually happens!

So, what tools and techniques can we adopt to mitigate the impact of these influences and maximise the chances of our success?

Exercise self-awareness

Know that impostor syndrome can present itself even during fair weather times and recognise it for what it is. Remind ourselves of our strengths and what we have achieved.

Manage our expectations

No road to business growth is smooth. There will always be trials and tribulations, but also remember that many well-known businesses emerged during the last recession.

Watch our information consumption

Social media and generalist media is often designed to evoke a fear that does not serve us and those that comment on social media are often inexpert speculators. Select credible business news sources instead.

Surround ourselves with the right people

Curate a ‘go-to’ tribe in key functional areas, such as finance, marketing, or industry specific. Even better, connect with a seasoned entrepreneur who navigated the last financial crash.

Avoid asking well meaning friends and family for advice, unless they fall into the previous category. Whilst they mean well, they will often default to the safe zone.

Have a plan or three

Map out the future with key milestones and aspired end goals. Know that it’s ok to deviate from the plan when the decision is calculated and considered. Build different scenarios.

Learn how to assess risk

Brainstorm and assess each one for a low, medium or high impact. Determine what action can be taken to minimise and mitigate it.

Be financially informed to feel in control

Keep your financial data at your fingertips and check in often. Make it easy by automating wherever possible and use expert software that records and forecasts. It’s the closest thing we’ll have to a crystal ball.

Manage what we measure

Most founders only need to measure five things in their business so know what they are. Have an expert such as an accountant to help make sense of it all.

Curate predictable cash flow for peace of mind

Identify income streams into your business model such as subscriptions, scalable offerings that don’t trade time for money and other monthly recurring revenues.

Be burstable and agile

Being able to dial up and down on expenses evokes a sense of control.

Avoid committing to contracts wherever possible but resourced enough to fulfil market opportunities as they are presented.

How a business coach can help

It may seem like an unaffordable luxury, but an experienced coach can make the difference between success and failure.

Led by business finance expert Deborah Edwards, Raised Up is a financial mentoring and coaching platform that gets results, and our clients say they couldn’t do without us! Find out how we can help you by visiting

This article originally appeared in the Sept/Oct issue of Startups Magazine. Click here to subscribe.