How to Boost Your Entrepreneurial Confidence—Even Before You Succeed
How often have you seen a meteoric rise of a startup and thought the reason was “They had a good product”?
But like most things in life, there is more to the success of a startup than meets the eye. Yes, a unique,problem-solving product plays a vital role in the company’s growth but it is not the only determining factor.
You can even succeed without having an original idea. There will always be an alternative of some sort to your product and investors and customers won’t have any reason to not go with the competition. For every McDonald’s, there is a Burger King. You have to provide them with a reason.
Entrepreneurs have to sell themselves first before they sell their products.
Entrepreneurial boldness means the willingness to take risks and initiatives. It’s a byproduct of self-confidence and courage. When you exude confidence, you show the world that you know what you’re doing.
Self-confidence comes after successful accomplishments but in the case of entrepreneurs, confidence has to come before.
Here are a few strategies that will help you boost your entrepreneurial confidence:
1. Prepare for the worst-case scenario
Many a time people have a groundbreaking idea but they don’t work on it. One of the reason is that are simply overwhelmed by imagining the worst-case scenario.
It is only natural to evaluate the worst-case scenario. It makes sure you are taking a calculated risk but at the same time, you have to keep in mind the fact that nothing in life comes without risk.
Success doesn’t come easy and it means stepping out of your comfort zone. But how will you know if it's worth the effort? The answer is having a clear vision — a ‘why?’.
The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?’ — Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
You have to stress on things you can control, instead of dwelling on things out of your control.
2. Learn, learn and learn
Before pitching your product, you have got to understand the market needs. This is called the research phase. In this phase, you explore potential opportunities and understand where your product fits in the market.
Most entrepreneurs focus on their product and their product alone and are left baffled when they fail to get traction. Eventually, self-doubt starts to creep in.
You have to learn from the already established players and understand their business strategy. The best way to learn is to make mistakes but fortunately, in this era, you don’t even need to make mistakes to learn! Anyone with the internet can learn from the mistakes committed by the founders of famous companies like Apple, Amazon, Uber, etc for free.
Elon Musk does this all the time. Jim Cantrell, one of the members of the SpaceX founding team, said the following
Not only this, conduct interviews with anyone you can learn from. If you are starting a restaurant, interview the owners and chefs of well-running restaurants in your locality. Treat every interview as building a new relationship. These relationships will help you later when you need guidance.
3. Build connections
Many successful entrepreneurs openly discuss the role networking played in their success. Just because you see value in your product, doesn’t mean that others will see the same value.
When you build connections and have an audience you can connect with, you can obtain valuable insights about how a general customer views your product. When the market shows interest in what you are offering, it will shoot up your courage and desire to leave no stone unturned in your business.
If you walk up to a stranger in public and conduct surveys, chances are either will ignore you or they will not provide accurate feedback, which is more harmful than getting ignored. Choose the correct platforms to market your profile. Start a YouTube channel or write blogs about your journey.
When you get visibility, your product also gets visibility.
Moreover, organic growth on platforms like Twitter, helps you come one step closer to the end customer and by proactively sharing your journey, you make the customer feel that they shaping the final product as well. Additionally, networking escalates your chances of building a great team, which is fundamental to the success of a business.
Not only this but building an audience dramatically increases your accountability and trust. You will spend much less time seeking out new leads and prospects because networking will open new doors for you and your business.
4. Launch early
There will never be a perfect time to launch your product. Don’t wait for the product to be entirely perfect and complete. When you spend months building a single product and then go to market with it, you carry with yourself a burden — a thought at the back of your mind that makes you wonder if the months or years of efforts will come to fruition or not.
This is the last thing you need. You should not be validating your idea at the very last moment.
Bill Gates once said that your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. Let unhappy customers teach you where the holes in your service are.
Start small and focus entirely on your first minimum viable product (MVP), a product that has enough functionalities to showcase the core ideas and fundamentals to early adopters, while also highlighting the fact that it is not the final product. This helps you shape the product to meet the demands and needs of consumers.
Furthermore, building an MVP reduces risk since it exposes you to see how the market is responding to the core idea you are trying to sell. The earlier you know this, the better.
As I have said earlier, you have to build connections since this point is much easier to achieve when you have a wide audience who are willing to try your product.
Nobody is born an entrepreneur. Everybody takes a slightly different path to their entrepreneurial journey. However, one of the challenges that every budding entrepreneur faces is self-doubt.
Recently, there has been a rise in the number of entrepreneurs compared to previous generations. Many see entrepreneurship as fun, rewarding, and financially sound. But as soon as they start their journey, they start to encounter the rather untold side of entrepreneurship. Being an entrepreneur is mentally and physically taxing.
Fortunately, there are few strategies such as interviewing everyone you can learn from and launching early that can build self-confidence and willingness to take risks.
Although you get a lot of freedom after starting your business, everything from the success to failure of the business is on you and hence, you need to have self-confidence, diligence, and the ability to sell yourself.
At the end of the day, it is worth remembering that your faith can move mountains and your doubt can create them.