Fear. There’s a difference between fear that paralyzes and fear that motivates. In today’s uncertain economic environment, many companies are afraid and, therefore, hesitant to make any moves. This hesitancy could cost them their business.

In a recent survey of marketing professionals that contributed to our 2009 recession-themed blog, FindYourNerve.com, branding consultant Denise Lee Yohn told us, “I’ve embarked on a new venture that requires a lot of courage as well as perseverance and hard work, but it may have a big payout.”

Courage. Perseverance. Hard work. All very good ways to describe what’s required to succeed these days. Building a solid brand isn’t easy, especially in today’s crazy environment. Those that put a stake in the ground, commit to it over the long-term and apply it to everything they do, are rewarded.

Whether you agree with Chick-fil-A’s stances on moral issues or not, they stay true to their beliefs and succeed. Virgin, a brand managed by the fearless Richard Branson, has always been known for its bold defiance of conventional ways of doing things. TOMS’s steadfast commitment to donating a pair of shoes or eyeglasses for every pair sold is remarkable. And Southwest Airlines is a great example of a business that turned the airline industry upside-down by doing things its own way.

These brands (and many more) are courageous which, by definition, means they take action in the face of fear. Their leaders had/have radical ideas (and ideals) in which they firmly believe, and they work diligently to protect them and bring them to fruition. Brands like these take calculated risks–financial, social, and even personal risks. They aren’t afraid to be different and bold in the face of uncertainty, and over the long-haul they reap the rewards of their hard work and perseverance.

If your company is unsure and afraid to move forward, don’t be. Instead, use fear as motivation to take action. As the old proverb says, “He who hesitates is lost.”