It’s completely natural to have pangs of regret when starting a business. Particularly if you’ve made the move from comfortably salaried employee to business founder and director. You’re now completely in charge of your own future.
There’s no hiding from it; you’re responsible for making the big decisions. You’re the architect of your own destiny. Being tasked with all of this responsibility and control, it can easily swallow you up entirely.
If you are struggling to cope with the new demands, it’s completely understandable. It might be time to lean on the support of your circle – and consider branching out to form new connections with more experienced business owners who’ve overcome the same problems and doubts you are dealing with now.
Most importantly, if you have faith in yourself and your business, you can banish any niggling second thoughts and go on to have a long, successful career as the head of your own organisation.
In this guide we’ll run through a couple of things you should remind yourself of to get rid of those annoying little doubts.
Have confidence in yourself and your abilities
Some of history’s most revered business leaders have had reason to doubt themselves. Two of the biggest names in tech – Steve Jobs and Bill Gates – both had to overcome questions about their ability on route to stardom.
Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, is credited with leading the technology company to the apex of the business world with innovative marketing strategies and simple, elegant product design.
But before he achieved his place in the pantheon of tech greats, he was actually forced out by the Apple board of directors in 1985. He rebounded by forming NeXT, which was later acquired by Apple and he was reinstated as CEO.
Bill Gates, owner of tech behemoth Microsoft, had to endure the ignominy of failure with his first company Traf-O-Data. Plagued by faults, their hardware barely even worked and the venture was a complete disaster.
Even the most stubborn business owners, who have a seemingly unshakeable belief in their own abilities, will be plagued by self-doubt at some point. Having the presence of mind and force of character to overcome these doubts and see your ideas through to completion is key to finding success.
Lean on the support of others
Shouldering sole responsibility for the fate of your business can be a lonely place to be. When everyone looks to you for support and is dependent on your counsel for making tough decisions, it can feel like there’s no place to go.
Voicing any concerns you might have might feel like weakness and an admission of defeat. The reality is, however, that there is a network of experienced, battle-hardened business leaders who have more than likely gone through the same struggles you have. Reaching out to these veterans of the business industry for support is nothing to be ashamed of.
You can hold court and verbalise any thoughts or fears that have been bothering you and learn from their responses. Business growth programmes like Growth Ideas HPeX board could also be a viable option for you. Groups like these are built to help you grow and provide a strategies sounding board, even better it’s led by Shweta Jhajharia one of the most awarded business coaches in the UK.
So you’re never really alone and leaning on others for support is nothing to be ashamed of. Spending time with like-minded entrepreneurs is a great way to purge your mind of negativity.
Develop a growth mindset
A growth mindset is a bit of a buzzword at the moment. Professional sports are flooded with coaches intent on ingraining a growth mindset in their players. The same mentality that breeds success in professional athletes can also act as a catalyst for success in business.
A growth mindset is often described in opposition to a fixed mindset.
With a fixed mindset, you are firm in your belief that everything that you are given is innate. There’s little room for personal development, learning or growth. When you encounter doubt or criticism, it’s impossible to respond to it – you can’t change or alter your natural abilities in any way.
With a growth mindset, you believe that you can change and grow over time – adding new skills to your repertoire as you go. Setbacks are merely opportunities for development. Challenges are something to look forward to instead of impossible obstacles. Energy that would otherwise be expended lamenting the gifts you are stuck with – and have no recourse to change – is instead spent on learning and acquiring new knowledge.
Adopting a growth mindset can help you ward off stagnation. It can render you invulnerable to criticism and gives you the robust mentality you need to continually look forward with optimism.
Try not to compare yourself to others
Following the examples set by successful business founders can be useful for plotting your organisation’s future.
Just try to remember that no comparison is completely fair. Every business operates under different conditions – whether that’s differences in resources, products or the wider economic environment. It’s important to remember that no one situation is identical to another – and making unfair comparisons between the two can lead you to unhelpful resolutions.
Casting an envious eye at competitors and becoming demoralised at your relative lack of progress however can be extremely damaging psychologically. Comparing your own progress to business savants isn’t a fair barometer of your own success.
Healthy competition and self-reflection
For some people, competition is an excellent motivator. For others, it can have the opposite effect. Failing to keep astride of your competitors can leave you feeling disheartened and discouraged. Fretting over your competition likely isn’t productive.
A better use of your time is evaluating your own company. If you’re feeling low, you can remind yourself of any triumphs or successes you’ve had – no matter how small. So it’s worth reminding yourself of the reasons you decided to register your company in the first place. It can take a massive amount of bravery and self-belief to start a business of your own.
Analysing your own history is often a more productive pursuit than gazing idly at the competition. Scrutinising your own business model, your marketing strategy and sales funnels can lead to fresh observations and insights that you can use to propel your organisation forward.
Good to go?
Sometimes all it takes is to jump straight in and quickly register your company. Hopefully the above points have provided you with some reflection. Deep down you may know you’re ready, you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you didn’t want to give it a go. Maybe that’s the only sign you need?