The No 1 Business Killer

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A quick story about George.

Sitting on a potential goldmine….but frozen stiff with fear, so much so that he couldn’t act.

Usual list of woes. Too many bills. Not enough cash coming in. Team not up to it. And no real plan. And the fact his home office was close to a cemetery didn’t help the mood either.

George runs a service company helping others to generate repeat business. After all, that’s the cheapest form of ‘marketing’ there is. One big client in the bag, others coming down the pipe. But he was paralysed from taking the next step.

“ Do you know what the biggest killer of small business is?”

George thought it was running out of cash. He had only a few months cash left – so the answer was understandable. But I challenged his thinking.

“ If your mother was sick and needed private medical care because the NHS couldn’t manage it, could you find the money?”


“ And if she didn’t get the medical care, what is most likely to happen?”

I’ll be visiting her next door in the cemetery.

“ So you’ve got no hesitation in spending that money, right?”


“ So why are you hesitating about spending to save that which is now providing for your family; that which is nourishing your hopes and dreams; that which is the bedrock of your life and that of your team?”

( Dreadful question, I admit. Socrates, my mentor, would never have stooped so low!)

George had not got over the fear factor – the No 1 killer of businesses. It clouds the mind. When it comes in, the fog is dense. And you can’t see a path through. You can’t see the next obvious step.

A good business coach will try to outline the path ahead. A great business coach will shift the fog.
Fear is part of what I call ‘the monkey mind’. That’s the bit of us which jumps from here to there, never being able to settle. It’s the bit that reacts in the face of something, pretty much like it has always done. It’s not the creative aspect of us at all.

The bed-partner of fear is doubt. Another great trick of the monkey mind. And who is the centre of the doubt? Me, of course.

If you can only drop the ‘n’ from monkey, you’ve cracked it.

That means quietening the monkey and connecting in the present moment with that amazing inner space which is available to us all. The space to reason and reflect.

And most of us will need a guide or a coach to do that.

What we need to know for now is that it is possible. And that’s where a great coach comes in.

PS: The second biggest killer is being fearful of asking for help when you know you need it.

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