Did you know that start-ups create 40% of all new jobs and lead recovery from recessions*? However, one of the leading factors as to why start-ups fail is personal doubt and fear.
I have recently had the privilege to work with my eldest daughter in taking her small business SASA, to the next level by developing their brand and positioning in the market. This foundational work had never been done previously, she of course has been concentrating on the practicalities of running a small business, which is often just pure survival.
As we took time to step back and dig into the foundations of SASA, its unique value, purpose and ethos, the obvious became very clear. She was its uniqueness, her passion, her humanity, her ethos was SASA. Our challenge was to package that up succinctly and to serve it to the tribe she cares about, so that SASA can make a difference to the community, to the world.
This is a lot of pressure on one human being! As an entrepreneur with a career portfolio she had to work hard on herself over the years to build resilience and confidence, never giving in to self-doubt and fear.
If you too are an entrepreneur you may recognise this pressure yourself. You will always care more about your product or service than anyone else, you are so entwinned with your business, that you are your business. This can be a very lonely place to be, so how can you build confidence and remain courageous?
Does walking into a networking event fill you with dread? You must have heard the term ‘fake it til you make it ‘…….well try it. Be an actor, exude confidence until it starts to come naturally. Dress confidently, in a way that makes you feel at your best, stand tall, breath in and walk that catwalk! Believe me, it will become easier the more you do it.
Do you have that annoying chimp on your shoulder, your inner saboteur? You know the one, always telling you that you can’t do this, your product is rubbish, you’re just a fraud and a fake! You need to minimise him or her. Create a name for it, have a conversation with it if, but tell it where to get off, recognise it and dismiss it. One sure way of doing this is to surround yourself with positive people, their noise will squash that gremlin and give you wings to fly.
Does failure cut too deep? Do you find it difficult to bounce back? Success is good, but failure is better. Embrace it, learn from it and come back stronger. The reality is that you need to get used it —– you are going to fail a lot, but in each failure is enormous opportunity. Failure doesn’t mean that your product or service is not good, you just need to do something differently. The more you fail, the more you learn.
Are you proud of your elevator pitch?Or do you find it a little cringy? If so, go back to the drawing board and create something you are extremely proud of. But make it shorter, sexier, and clearer. Make sure your passion is conveyed, it is spoken from the heart and you believe in every last syllable. Make it authentic and congruent with who you are. Script it, practice it, practice it, practice it and believe it.
Do you often feel out of your depth and that you’re winging it? This is good, embrace this feeling, get used it, because if you are operating just outside your comfort zone, you are moving forward and developing. If you’re feeling safe, you are standing still.
Five second of courage can change everything. Read Mel Robbins Five Second Rule. She argues that you only have 5 seconds of pure instinct before your brain can close it down, therefore as soon as you have that thought, move – physically move and act on it. You can make positive, courageous change just one 5 second decision at a time. Developing this habit helps you to stop doubting, amazing things can be achieved when your instinct, goals and values are all aligned.
Finally, sign up to Visionnaires. They will offer you a world of support from business webinars, to networking events, to mentors. A supportive group of like-minded people are waiting to help make your business grow! Visionnaires recent impact report demonstrated that those who went through their programme increased their confidence 3 fold.
One final note to close on, as someone that has always struggled with self-doubt, being vulnerable is OK, people warm to a little self-deprecation. As long as you show up, regularly, consistently, again and again- you can make change happen.