Many of us are not blessed with overflowing confidence and when it comes to starting your own business and stepping into the work of entrepreneurialism, self doubt and low self esteem can feel at an all time high. From the outside, we see many successful business owners who seem to have endless confidence in their business decisions but how did they get to that stage?
In truth most of us have our moments of battling with a lack of self confidence, the difference may just be how well we hide that. And for that matter, having some moments of self doubt can be very important when they stop us rushing headfirst into bad decisions or ill thought out plans.
Whatever your level of self confidence, if you’re considering embarking on an entrepreneurial future, it’s likely you’ll be having moments of questioning your abilities and the likelihood of your success, so what are the ways in which you can build your own confidence to help propel you and your business to success?
The very first priority is to be honest with yourself. What is it you’re worried about? What are your fears about your new business, the potential failures or successes, what are you hiding from yourself? There is no point in pretending that you have it all covered and you’re not worried at all so think about it, write it down and figure out ways in which you can address your real worries and move forward with them in mind.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to be honest with the people around you, in particular the team you’re working with. Good leadership requires honesty and you’re more likely to bring your team along on your journey and encourage them to commit to your vision if they really understand you and what you’re concerned about. Perhaps there are areas in which they can help you or they might even share the same worries so being open with the key people in your life can really help to build confidence in yourself as well as their confidence in you.
Strengths and weaknesses
We all have them and more often than not, we try and mask them for the purposes of other peoples opinions. It’s hard to hide these when it comes to starting your business, everything becomes exposed so taking the chance to really figure out where your strengths and weaknesses are before that happens is important. Figuring out where you really shine can reveal areas on which you can build, shaping your business goals around your stronger skills. And equally understanding where you’re lacking can provide you the opportunity to build a team around you that fills in these blanks, as well as to go out and educate yourself in areas where you could improve.
Past successes and past failures
If you’re low on confidence it’s likely you don’t spend a lot of time celebrating your successes or your strengths. Take the chance now to sit down and identify the times you’ve had great success. What were they, what did you do to make them happen? Say them out loud and really appreciate what you’ve achieved in a way you might celebrate a friend or colleague’s accomplishments. When it comes to failure, we all have them and the most positive and confidence building thing you can do is see them, recognise them and learn from them. Failures can help drive us forward, they can provide us with fundamental learning moments and they can inform our decisions going forward. No successful entrepreneur is free from failure, the question is what do you chose to do with them and how can you use them to move forward.
Many of us spend our personal life deferring to the decision making of others. Whether it’s at work with a boss or colleague, at home, when children’s preferences take priority, or socially when we try to be easy company. Unfortunately those social habits don’t work when it comes to business. You are the decision maker in your own business and the quicker you can get used to the role of making decisions and standing behind them, the better. Start small, in your home life, rather than ‘I don’t mind’, take a moment and really think about what you’d like to eat or do? If you make a habit of really considering your own preferences and opinions in your home life, you’ll more easily be able to transition confidently intro that role in your own business.
We’re all guilty of staying within our comfort zones, whether in work, in fitness, or socially, we are creatures of habit and moving outside of what we know and feel comfortable with can feel daunting. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your outlook!), the work of business is filled with moments of being out of your comfort zone. You’ll be asked daily to make decisions in areas you had not anticipated, or to undertake work in areas you’ve never experienced before. It can seem overwhelming. To move past this, why not try to undertake small things that push us out of our day to day comfort zone, to stretch abilities and make you feel less fearful of stepping outside of what you are used to. Maybe that means saying yes to an invitation where you’ll be with lots of people you don’t know or taking on a hobby and a goal that seems out of reach for you? Whatever it is that pushes your boundaries and your opinion of what you’re capable of will be hugely beneficial to you in building the confidence you need in business.
As in all aspects of life, running a business is a path filled with learning opportunities, You can certainly barrel along without noticing these and find yourself at a business dead end or you can take the chances you have with each turn of your business to learn more. In areas of the business you know nothing about, in the lives of your customers and the problems they’re experiencing, in a new skill you could take on that would help to streamline your day. Whatever the option is, finding ways to learn and to continually broaden your outlook is invaluable.
Focus on relationship
The world of entrepreneurialism can seem quite solitary, starting a business on your own, making decisions on your own, being financially responsible on your own. There is an opportunity here to use the relationships you build to help you to grow personally and professionally and to really provide you with the support you need to build your confidence. Finding a mentor is the ideal place to start. Someone who’s been there, done everything and can come to you with really insightful short cuts or shared experiences. They’ll be the perfect person with whom to share your fears or ideas, to understand what you’re doing when others don’t, and to help you find your feet in these early months of learning your business.
In addition you can seek out fellow entrepreneurs who will be sharing many of the same issues as you and from whom you can look forward to support and community on the path ahead. Rather than seeing others as competition, you can lift one another up, champion each others businesses and grow a community of like-minded individuals whose help may come in extremely handy.
While confidence is seen as an essential component of a successful entrepreneur, we’re all starting at difference stages of our personal confidence and self belief journey. Finding small ways in your work and personal life to broaden your sense of self, to connect with your own opinions and abilities and to learn from people who have already walked the course, is a good place to start.
Whatever your business idea, whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already, we’d love to help. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch. Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you and to talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept.