6 steps to finding what every entrepreneur needs most!
Every successful entrepreneur needs a mix of different elements to achieve the success they seek. It’s important to have a good idea, an effective marketing strategy, good distribution, financial know-how, competitive pricing and the list goes on. If you have the funds to employ good consultants, financial advisors and manufacturing specialists you can outsource most of these things. However there is one thing that no aspiring entrepreneur can outsource and it is more important than anything and everything else — courage!
Courage is what distinguishes those who think about starting up their own business from those who actually do. The obstacle that stops most people from stepping into action to build the business they’d love to create is typically not an external one, such as a lack of money, business know-how, marketing savvy, business contacts or an MBA. The biggest obstacle is always an internal one — fear!
The path of entrepreneurship is lined with risks and obstacles. There is a lot more risk involved in setting up your own shop. Risk of failing, risk of going broke, risk of looking foolish to friends or colleagues, risk of letting people down who depend on you and the list goes on.
So how can you get past all of your fears and find the guts to jump boldly out of your comfort zone into the thin blue air of running your own business? And if you have already taken that leap, how can you move forward to take your business to the next level and beyond. Here are a few steps you can take to help you do just that.
1. Paint Your Vision In Bright Colors
It is important to really connect with what inspires you about being an entrepreneur. What is the idea you’ve been brewing on forever and a day that you would absolutely love to turn into a reality? Sit down and write, in as much detail as possible, what your ideal business would look like. How big would it be? What would you be producing? Who would be buying it? How would others benefit – your customers, your employees, and your suppliers? How would you feel each day knowing that you had created this business from a single idea? There is no right or wrong about what you write as long as it really ignites your imagination and touches your spirit. When you are really able to connect with what inspires you, it makes it very difficult to let it go. Look at what you are capable of, what you can create for yourself and others.
2. Build Belief in Yourself
The biggest hurdle every human faces in fulfilling their own potential and achieving the goals that inspire them are the limiting beliefs they have about themselves. So it is important to spend some time building up your belief in your ability to make your dream a reality. You are capable of far more than you think you are. I know this is true. But do you? What are the beliefs about yourself that are keeping you stuck? Write them down and then one by one go through each one and write down all the evidence that supports the opposite. For instance, if you think you aren’t really that good with money and finances, write down all the times you have been able to manage your finances well. If you believe you would not be good at marketing, think about other times in your life when, faced with necessity, you have either learned the skills you’ve needed or outsourced your needs to someone else. The fact is that you will be as resourceful as you need to be.
Likewise, this applies when it comes to being bold and gutsy in how you run your business. You may feel like you’re a complete wimp or a habitual procrastinator, but think again. There are plenty of times when you’ve been courageous in your life, pulled up your socks and jumped into the fray. Just because you haven’t been as courageous as the heroes you see on TV doesn’t mean you don’t have the same courage. You just haven’t been in a situation that has required you to call on it. You do not possess any more or less courage than the next man (or woman!). Indeed you have all the courage inside you that you need to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into a fabulous reality. It’s just that your courage hasn’t had as much oxygen as it would like and has been buried under layers of “yeah buts” and “what ifs”?
3. Connect With Your Fear
Fear can paralyze. Indeed that’s exactly what it does to those who let it rule the roost in their businesses and their lives. Courage is not an absence of fear. Courage means going forward with your plans and dreams despite the knot in your stomach. Your fears are born from an instinctive drive to protect you from pain and discomfort. They are trying to serve you. However our instinctive fears are still working on the Stone Age model. You no longer need to worry about being eaten by a lion should you move in the opposite direction your fear wants you to take (which is generally to stay firmly rooted in your cave/comfort zone).
So acknowledge your fears but realize if you let them stay at the helm in your life, you are never going to be able to create the business you want or be the entrepreneur you aspire to be. Yes, your fears are real. They may show up as that lump in your throat or the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, but they are merely an emotion that does not serve you. Don’t let your fears determine what you will do or who you will become. The fact is, if you have an idea that inspires you, then you have the ability to turn that vision from thought into reality. If you couldn’t do it, you would not have been given the dream in the first place.
4. Create Your Plan
Those who are truly successful in life are able to shift their sights from the big canvas to the actions they need to make their vision a reality. Do you need to have a plan for every step of the way? Nope. Do you need to have the knowledge required to implement every part of your vision right now? Nope, again. The fact is, when you get further down the path from where you are now and need to know which step to take next, it will become apparent to you. Likewise when you need a new level of expertise to take your business to the next level, you will get the expertise you need then.
The only thing that matters right now is to write down the first few steps you need to take with deadlines to keep you focused. It might simply be to do more research into the industry, to contact some manufacturers, to find out how to register a business, to do a course in running a small business or maybe even just to engage a Business Coach to help you figure out what your first few steps should be.
5. Step Into Action
Okay so now you’ve got a plan for your first few steps. There is nothing else for you to do than to take them. Yes, big deep breath and off you go. Pick up the phone book, get onto the web, call your accountant, whatever. The most important thing is that you get some momentum happening in the forward direction. If you’re feeling a little (or a lot) nervous about doing any of it, don’t worry, that’s normal. As I said earlier, courage is not an absence of fear, self-doubt or quivering knees but action in the face of it. You don’t need the courage to climb the whole staircase right now. You only need the courage to take the next few steps that will take your entrepreneurial vision in the direction you want it to go.
6. Get Support
When you are surrounded by people who believe in you, who cheer you on to succeed, (whether friends, family, colleagues or professionals you engage to support you) you create an environment where it is so much easier for you to succeed. The fact is, no one person’s internal motivation system stays working in top gear all the time. When you are having a doubt-filled day, things aren’t going quite as smoothly as you’d like and you feel like moving home to mother, you need others who will hold you accountable to your goals and being the gutsy entrepreneur you aspire to be. So share your vision with others and ask them to help you in making it a reality. Build in a system of accountability if that is what you need. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the importance of having a great environment around you to help you stay on track.
Wherever you are right now with your vision for yourself, your business and your life in general, just know that you have all the courage and ability inside you to create what it is that inspires you. You alone are uniquely positioned to create something truly fabulous. After all, if you don’t do it, who will? And if not now, then when? But the most important question of all is this: “What would you do if you had no fear of failing?” Now breathe in a big deep courageous breath and move forward boldly in the direction your answer beckons you.