5 Steps to Overcome Self-Doubt and Build a Successful Business
By Sreeram Sreenivasan
Entrepreneurs can be prone to doubt. Is my business idea good? Will my marketing strategy be successful? Is my company on the right track? Am I hiring the right person?
And unless they do something about it, self-doubt can quickly turn into a habit, stopping them from making any decisions and taking any actions, which can adversely affect their businesses.
Trust me; I know. I wasted an entire year before I launched my first business, wondering if it was the right idea. Then I wasted another year building it, going back and forth with product development and design decisions. Eventually, I realized the greatest threat to my business was my self-doubt. Once I dealt with it, I was able to grow my business and move faster.
It’s essential to overcome self-doubt to ensure that you don’t lose track of your goals, and to be more productive. Here are five tips you can use to destroy any self-doubt that occurs while starting or running a business.
1. Don’t worry about what others think
Being an entrepreneur involves meeting with a lot of people: employees, vendors, clients, partners, colleagues, mentors, not to mention your friends and family. If you keep thinking about what each one of them thinks about you and how to please them, you’ll run out of time to do anything else.
Avoid trying to compare yourself (or your business) with other entrepreneurs or businesses in your industry. You’ll only end up making unrealistic comparisons and doubt your abilities, feeling anxious and exhausted. Instead, try to learn from successes of others and apply their lessons to your business. What did they do well? What challenges did they face? How did they overcome them? Can I use those methods to grow my business?
In fact, you can even proactively reach out to others, and who knows, end up collaborating, instead of competing, with them.
2. Set short-term goals
Although it’s essential to have long-term goals for your business, it’s equally important to set short-term ones, attainable goals. Otherwise, you will be doubting yourself when your big goals aren’t realized immediately.
By achieving smaller goals, you’ll be able to stay motivated and continue moving in the right direction. Also, create short-term goals that are tied to your long-term objectives. For example, if your long-term goal is to double your sales next year, then aim to grow sales by 7 to 8% every month. Now that doesn’t sound too overwhelming, does it?
3. Think about your past successes
Every business has its good days and bad days. When things just aren’t working out, that’s when most people start doubting themselves. Couple that with doubts from others, and your life can go into a death spiral.
Take a pause and step back. Think about all the things you’ve accomplished thus far. Remind yourself of the things that you have done right and your recent accomplishments. In fact, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes every day to remember your achievements, and to view your world in a positive way. Think about the day when your business didn’t even exist. If you have come so far, you can definitely go further.
4. Surround yourself with the right people
A man is known by the company he keeps, and it’s even more true for entrepreneurs.