Confidence is thekey in entrepreneurship. It does not matter the size of the company you are running, being a solo coach, a small business owner or becoming an executive with a larger publicly traded company. Each of these roles requires an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong level of confidence to succeed. Rarely does someone succeed in running a business without a high confidence level.
Confidence is so critical because it emotionally keeps you tied to your goals and ambitions without allowing immediate setbacks or the continuous challenges of business get in the way. Confidence allows other people to support into your plans, follow your lead and often buy your product or service.
Few people would likely argue this point that confidence is a critical characteristic. How then do we create, expand and foster a strong confidence level? How do we do it consistently in tough markets and when things are overwhelming? Here are eight ways that confidence needs to be fostered and developed for your success as a business owner:
Strong Plan – No coach, consultant, business owner or entrepreneur has ever really had massive success and giant confidence without some sort of plan. This could be a strong business plan or even just a strong vision of where they want to end up. It is critical in building a plan that you believe 100% in it and the possibility for achievement. It should be a plan that excites you and doesn’t come from a place of “should do” or obligation. A plan that guides someone every day is essential to their confidence level when faced with daily challenges and obstacles.
Support Network – Entrepreneurs can’t be an island. It is essential to have a person(s) resource to share ideas, challenges and solutions with. This can be a hired business coach, a peer entrepreneur with experience, a business support group (EO), or a mentor. Too many of the challenges you’ll face are going to require a second opinion or a different viewpoint to be tackled effectively. When you know you have other people to lean on, it supports your confidence. As you experience more wins with these support groups it grows your confidence with overcoming future challenges.
Regular Review of Goals – Confidence comes from knowing where you are going and what you are committed to achieving. Most people don’t write down goals and even those that do often don’t review them frequently. We recommend reviewing your goals in detail weekly. Monday morning is a great time to sit down in a quiet place (your favorite coffee shop) and review your goals, your “why” and what steps you can take immediately to move you forward. As you get centered on your goals through this process, your confidence grows because you feel the focus, the drive and the desire to go after your dreams.
Commit to Persistence – Another key attribute of a success solotrepreneur or entrepreneur is persistence. Very few challenges are overcome in the first effort. Many require on-going work and ideas to get past. Growing sales, hire and managing a team, customer management … all require persistent efforts in business. Make a commitment to persistence so that you know you’re not going to be discouraged with minor setbacks. Commitment to persistence supports your confidence because it re-frames your approach to a longer term and it strengthens your resilience. This is also true for your organization. As the leader commits to persistence, the culture of the business often also adopts this approach.
Focus on Wins: even the small ones – Many business owners and entrepreneurs are future focusing people. They spend a little time in the moment but are often looking towards tomorrow quickly. This is great to move a company forward but also means most people don’t really stop to appreciate or focus on their wins. In never focusing on achievements but always looking to see what is still remaining to be done, a business owner can tear down their confidence even though the business is moving forward. Stop regularly to appreciate what is being completed and where the wins are. This reminds you of the success you are having regularly and it builds confidence to carry on.
Practice – Now practice may seem like a strange suggestion for building confidence but it is critical. Consider public speaking. The first time in front of a group your confidence may be very low and your nerves at their peak. As you practice public speaking you see your confidence growing each time, your comfort with it improving and your performance being more sound. All a result of practice. Find the areas you feel least confident in and practice them. Then practice areas where you already feel in control. Both strive to build your confidence in you and therefore in your business.
Down Time or Time Away – A fantastic key to building confidence is taking time away from your business and its challenges. Everyone has experienced a great holiday where they left feeling overwhelmed, run down and questioning their confidence to succeed. Then after days or weeks away, we return with a new energy level, a renewed confidence and spark. Down time is key to maintaining and fostering strong confidence.
Find Other Examples of Success – As business owners we often feel like we are going through our challenges and business progress alone. We often hear business owners saying they figured they were the only ones struggling through a problem that is universal. So read about, investigate, interview and eat with other business owners and entrepreneurs. You will find that they have many of the same struggles and challenges. You will hear about their solutions and ideas. Gathering this feedback and information will boost your confidence going back to your own operation. It will give you new tools, ideas and will reduce your sense that you’re a lone pioneer.
Marty started his first company at the age of 21. He has owned 13 companies to date and is a serial entrepreneur. He has dedicated a large portion of the last 12 years to being a coach and mentor to both entrepreneurs and other coaches. By taking to the practical and actual experiences in his world and applying them to other companies, situations and industries, he has found the common ground for all business globally, and has built a curriculum around this foundation for all his companies and his coaching.
Marty currently operates 4 companies with operations in the US and Canada. His first company was a technology startup, after which he ventured into audio production, software, retail, the hospitality industry and more recently, advertising/marketing. He has been a crucial player in all phases of start-up and growth.
Marty was awarded the 2002 Business Coach of the Year for North America and the 2003 Recipient for Global Contribution to the coaching profession*. In addition to international recognition, Marty has been selected as one of Calgary’s Top 40 Business Professionals under 40 in 2004 by Calgary Inc. magazine. Marty was awarded the CYBF Canadian Mentor of the Year in 2006. More recently, Marty was selected one of 18 entrepreneurs to represent Canada at the G20 Entrepreneur Summit in Nice, France in 2011 and Mexico City in 2012.