by Noel Bagwell
for ExecutiveLP™

Wash Off the Stink of Fear

Some admittedly inconclusive evidence supports the claim that humans can smell fear. Findings from a study published around 2012 suggest “that humans can communicate at least some emotions,” among them, fear, “by smell, which could prove useful in crowded places.” Regardless of what the science says, anecdotally, I can tell you fear has a smell, though perhaps one that is more metaphorical than literal.

When a

[prospective] client is sitting across a conference room table from me, telling me about their business’s legal concerns, I sometimes smell the stink of fear. When I am explaining the legal consequences of an unwise course of action a client has suggested taking, that singular aroma fills the room. When a [prospective] client has made mistakes it will cost a lot of money to repair, the fear funk is powerful enough to bring people to tears. All of this I have observed with my own eyes.

There is a solution, a cleansing balm for the soul that restores courage and uplifts the desperate. Preparation. A plan. Foresight. Whatever your word for it — I like “readiness” — you need it in order to recover from or ward away that awful smell.

Soldiers go into combat not without fear, but in spite of it. Why? They have a commander. They have a plan. The troops know the drill, so to speak.

Entrepreneurs often know what they do, but struggle with the business of what they do–two very different things. Passion, the willingness to accept and take risks, effort, and determination are all essential to the successful entrepreneur. They won’t take you the whole way to your goal, though. At some point, you’re going to need a plan, and most entrepreneurs need a guide to help them create that plan.

Your plan is your deodorant, your ward against the stink of fear. The fear might still be there, but there’s a layer of confidence-scented planning right on top, masking your fear, your desperation, and keeping you cool, confident, and in control. You’ve heard the adage, “Fake it ’till you make it.” You can’t do that if your proverbial pit stains are showing, if people can smell your fear.

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An important ingredient in your anti-fear deodorant, an essential element of your plan is sound legal counsel about the structure of your enterprise. I have a friend who is an Eagle Scout with six Eagle Palms, who taught me a fun saying: “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance.” Planning is essential to good performance.

Entrepreneurs need a plan for their business–a business plan (preferably, a written one). Part of a good business plan necessarily includes ongoing access to sound preventive legal counsel for their business. If you don’t have a business plan that addresses your legal risks with appropriate preventive legal services, you will reek of fear every time legal issues arise in conversation. I have seen it over and over. That smell is unmistakable.

If you reek of fear, make a plan. Don’t worry about making it perfect. Just have one. If you need help, give us a call. We can help make preventive legal services an affordable, accessible part of your complete business plan. You don’t have to suffer with the stink of fear. Help is just a click or call away.


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