Dear James: I’m 27 years old, and started in Business when I was 18 but unfortunately I went bust 2 years ago, I made some silly decisions and they backfired on me. When I went bust I managed to get a full time job which I have been doing for the last 2 years. In that 2 year however I have been putting together a Business Plan, for a business I have always wanted to get into. And I am about ready to get going. How can I get over the fear of going bust again? William Wilson James says: Firstly I would like to commend you on starting your own business when you were 18. In order to do this you have to believe in yourself and have the courage and conviction to do it. You will have gained experience and knowledge in your full time job from the last 2 years so this can only be a good thing. However, make sure you are ready to leave the job market and go it alone again. I truly believe that if you are passionate and determined you will succeed in the long term. It may surprise you but many entrepreneurs go through failure before they reach success. They say that in business, ‘your best loss is your first loss’. This is true of many extremely successful entrepreneurs, look at the likes of Henry Ford he suffered bankruptcy due before succeeding with Ford. And of course Sir Richard Branson has closed a number of businesses under the Virgin brand over the years. I have also had my own experience of failure with my investment in the sandwich chain Benjy’s. I acquired Benjy’s in a week, leaving a tight timeframe to complete due diligence. I knew it would be a lot of hard work, but not an impossible task. However, I will be the first to admit when I’m wrong. Ever heard the saying ‘Don’t catch a falling knife’? Well with Benjy’s we came close to losing our fingers! Conviction, passion and unquestioning belief in what you are doing are essential for success in business as these ingredients will ensure you never stop learning and growing. Even the low points have been important to my own development. But remember businesses without a plan seldom go far. My advice to you to get over your fear would be to make sure you are prepared for every eventuality but above all assess why it didn’t succeed the first time round. A business plan is important not only for investors but for you to refer back to, so include your mistakes or failures from your first business so you can continue to improve. Dont forget the essentials are so important remember to thoroughly research and understand the market. Look at things such as market size, predicted growth, barriers to entry. You’ve mentioned you are ready to go, but I urge you to make sure you understand your current and potential competitors. Do all the right sums, make sure there are no holes in your figures. Be realistic and honest all the way throughout your business plan, pay particular attention to the level of risk involved and what your financial forecasts are. Look to find a mentor who has the experience to help you in the early stages of your new business as this advice will be invaluable in the long run. William you need to ask the questions what went wrong? How can you improve? Is this right for you? The essential skills to be a successful entrepreneur are to recognize where you made the mistakes and how to recover. You need to put the fear aside and concentrate on making it work for you.