Small business owners are no strangers to self-doubt. Oftentimes, they embark on their small business journey filled with audacity and optimism; however, the unpredictable ups, downs and zigzags that are inevitably part of running a business can often lead to waves of self-doubt and question their capabilities.
Self-doubt is subtly destructive, causing business owners to question their decisions and fear making new ones. Even the most accomplished business people have their moments of insecurity. It can lead to decision paralysis, reduced creativity, and lost opportunities, harming not only the individual but also the business. It’s completely normal to experience self-doubt, but unchecked, it can stifle the growth of your small business. Recognizing this, reframing the negative thoughts and fostering a growth mindset, can help small business owners overcome these periods of uncertainty and harness their full potential as a small business owner.
Ok, I’ve had enough! This will be the best weight your business has ever lost! No, I’m not talking about superflous personnel. I’m talking about the weight of OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS and the weight of SELF DOUBT.
Other peoples opinions.
So many businesses approach me with “XYZ said I have to do “live video” (replace “live video” with anything you’ve been told to do to get noticed or make money.
With every “expert” bombarding businesses to do this or that to take your business to the next level- it is easy to get confused and side tracked.
If you have your business and branding strategy worked out- chosing extra options to help you becomes easier. If you don’t know who you are as a business you will be jumping from thing to thing trying to use any of those things to leverage your business further.
Unless you have a good foundation you are going to be at the whim of all these ads from “experts” that make you think maybe if I just do this it will make the difference.
What makes a difference is boring to most people, so they skip it.
Most people are trying to find the next shiny potential solution that comes their way.
What makes a difference is returning back to basics, and working out a strategy.
This is about you taking control.
Are you clear on WHY your business exists (I felt like making a business, because a You Tuber said they made $500k in their first month isn’t a good reason- you need more than this, if this why you started- you need to dig deeper).
Are you clear on what problem you solve and who you are solving it for?
If you know these things, it is so much easier to stay on track with each decision you make in your business- you can clearly assess your decisions as to whether they would be in alignment with your brand. eg. Does this reflect my brands values?
There are various stages of knowing yourself- and it is an evolving process! Think of it along the lines of the level of self awareness stages ranging from newborn, toddler, adolescent and an adult. The knowing yourself doesn’t stop when you reach adulthood- its constantly evolving. Business is the same.
Don’t try and be all things to all people.
Some people start their business then realise because they are trying to be all things to all people- they can’t craft a meaningful message-they have 3 basic choices.
1. Grasp on to a shiny potential solution that they are being bombarded with and hope it yields results. (Appealing- promise of results, hand over money and the “expert” will take care of it for you. Results will vary).
2. Take a step back and reassess what their business is about and create a branding and marketing strategy that reflects it. (Not every business wants to look at itself in the mirror, they want to “soldier on” regardless, it takes time and grit. At the end of it all you will have a clear brand strategy and marketing plan ready to implement- better results are way more likely and if appropriate you can explore what may fit for you in 1).
3. Crawl up in the fetal position and rock to and fro or any variation there of (Might make you feel better for a limited time- doesn’t change anything about addressing your problem).
None of these are WRONG – they are all OPTIONS. Just like you chose to start your business in the first place- you get to chose which option you take.
I’m not saying don’t listen to other peoples opinions-I’m just saying know yourself first and the direction you want to go in. Take your power back and then you are equipped to make good decisions about what can help your business.
“I’m probably doing it wrong”, “Not sure if I should be doing it this way”, “Should I even have a business”?, “My packaging is wrong”, “I’m never going to get enough money to cover my expenses” etc etc.
You are NOT doing it wrong- if you are constantly telling yourself you are “doing it wrong” STOP IT. Once you realise there is no “doing it wrong” there is only learning-reframe your experiences. Yes you can learn from other people’s mistakes and your own. It’s valuable for growth- so stop beating yourself up about it and lose that attitude. I can hear people saying “easy for you to say” , “but you don’t understand….” and on and on. The truth is “shit happens” in life and in business- and of course the old saying “it’s how we respond to it that matters” is true.
Our responses take time to master, but my point here is about reframing the self doubt that so many small business owners have. Often people are so obsessed with the things they believe to be “wrong” that they don’t give themselves credit what have they have done! Remember why you started your business in the first place. Presumably it wasn’t to torture yourself?
You know those motivational quotes about “Enjoy every moment”?
Image from Google Search
They drive me bonkers. You are NOT going to enjoy EVERY moment. It’s a nice idea-but it’s not reality. There will be MOMENTS that you don’t enjoy. It’s unlikely you will enjoy it if someone decides to take your small business to court for example. It’s unlikely you will enjoy the moment your website gets hacked either. We can however, choose how we respond to these things, and learn from them- rather than use them to create more self doubt.
To reframe and keep self doubt at bay
1. HAVE A CLEAR STRATEGY AND PLAN.
2.Don’t compare yourself to others- each business and business journey is different.
3. Realise you are not alone-surround yourself with people that can help you in the areas where you require help.
4. Set short term goals/Make checklists so you don’t get overwhelmed trying to do everything at once.
5. Take breaks, do something you enjoy doing outside your business once a day.
6. Don’t be afraid to reassess and refine your business plan and brand strategy.
7. Challenge yourself to take action.
8. Celebrate wins- however big or small.