It’s one of those mindsets new entrepreneurs struggle to shake off: doubting themselves. It’s not irrational, though. It’s perfectly understandable to get cold feet when the task ahead is bigger than you. But, the fact that this feeling is valid doesn’t make it easy to overcome. In fact, the more you understand how sensible it is to doubt yourself, given the gravity of what you’re doing, you’ll feel crippled all the more. Nonetheless, being stuck isn’t the solution. Pressing on, despite such, is the way to do it. If you’ve hit these thoughts of self-doubt outlined below, recognize it, and then act on it.
“What if this fails?”
Of course, the doom of the business is at the top of new entrepreneur’s self-doubts. Your business is like an extension of yourself. If it fails, it’s hard not to take it personally. Then there’s also the fact that a lot of people count on you, from investors and partners to employees. This pressure puts a lot more apprehensions on your end.
The thing is, while failure is indeed part of business life, it can be avoided. That exact prevention game plan is the one that should be consuming most of your thinking time, rather than the actual decline of the business. How does this game plan look like? Well, to take it literally, you must have a business plan. You should have a clear, concise document that outlines all the important aspects of your endeavor, from company vision and strategies to actual products and services and funding. With a plan designed for success, you can very well safeguard your efforts from failure.
“Am I credible enough?”
Other types of self-doubt come from the feeling of not being good enough. This may stem from the lack of experience, or it may be due to comparison with other entrepreneurs. What you have to remember in these instances is the fact that everyone starts at a place of inadequacy. Even people who have been in the trade with their parents for many years would have insecurities of not knowing enough when they take over the venture. This negative feeling goes even as far as the seasoned entrepreneurs. This isn’t an issue of not being good, but what you do to make the shift from not being good to being one.
The best, most effective approach is to surround yourself with the right people — people who you can learn from and with, and people who have been in the industry for years. They may have bouts of self-doubts themselves sometimes, but their experience will speak for itself. You need these kinds of people, especially when you’re going into a player-saturated industry like the food service sector. Consult entrepreneurs who offer restaurant franchise opportunities as you start in this field.
“Did I leave my job too soon?”
In many instances, people tend to doubt their timing of transition because they’re having cash flow issues at the start of their business. They look back at their corporate jobs and idealize that period when they weren’t worrying about money. They doubt if they made a good decision of jumping into business. The reality is money problems are part of the birth pains of a business. In a way, it’s also a training for you — a preparation for that later time when you’re already earning more. The golden rules for cash flow management in small businesses include these: always keep a cash reserve, spend only on essentials, and stretch some payables.
It’s valid to have some apprehensions when starting a business, but that shouldn’t stop you altogether. When you’re confronted with self-doubt, listen to it, and then move forward.