Ask any entrepreneur, and I’m sure he or she will tell you that starting, growing and managing a business is like a roller coaster ride. There can be very high highs, but it’s not uncommon to get sucker-punched on the way down. This is part of what makes business ownership exhilarating…but it can also make it a little bit painful.
This is why it’s in your best interest to flex and strengthen your entrepreneurial muscles. How do I bulk up, you might ask, so I’m strong and can prevent myself from getting hurt in the world of business ownership? Here are a few ways.
Remember: Business Is Business
First thing you should do? Stop taking things personally. I know, that is very hard to do when your business is your baby, a part of you, and it hurts like hell when a potential client or customer says no and walks right on by. But you need to figure out a way to separate your business from yourself, or every rejection that comes your way is going to eat away at your confidence and make it virtually impossible to keep moving forward.
You’re in business to DO business, not to pad your ego. Just like you go to the gym to work out, not attend a fashion show. So focus on what you’re doing, chalk up loses as a necessary part of business, and look for opportunities to do what you’re doing better.
Don’t Get Distracted
One of the quickest ways to hurt yourself in your business is by fluttering around to every shiny new thing that pops up. You don’t want to be the guy at the gym who sits there scoping out the girls for an hour instead of working on his flabby love handles. If you don’t have business goals, set some ASAP, and stick with them no matter what.
You need to focus on where you want to go and the plan you created for getting there. The rest of the nonsense happening outside your window only deserves your peripheral attention.
Release Some of the Fear
Being scared can often mean you’re on the path to something big. Who isn’t scared before they add more weight to their bench press? I always say that a moderate amount of fear is a very good thing is business (and fitness) because it makes you think before you act. It’s dangerous to be completely fearless — it leads to recklessness.
But holding onto the fear and never letting go is a bad thing, too. Fear can lead to complacency, and once you’ve fallen into that pond, your confidence goes out the window and you become fragile. There’s no place in business for fragility. You’ll be eaten alive. Use your fear to ensure due diligence and to push through the tough parts, but then let it go.
Work on Your Confidence
Speaking of confidence, you need it. You need to believe in yourself, your product or service, and your goals. You need to believe that you can accomplish all you set out to accomplish. You need to be able to promote the heck out of yourself. And if you don’t have the confidence you need, then fake it.
Think of the first time you went back to the gym after several weeks off, feeling very insecure and nervous about what was ahead. If you didn’t give yourself a mental pep talk and push yourself to do it anyway, even though you were uncomfortable, you wouldn’t have survived your first workout. Psych yourself up for your business in exactly the same way.
Line Up a Group of Supporters
You need a spotter in your business, just like you do when you’re weight training. A partner, a colleague, a mentor, a coach — you need a person (or group of people) who can play devil’s advocate, hold you accountable, and tell you when you’re making excuses. You also need someone to pat you on the back and remind you to celebrate your successes.
Are you doing it all alone? You are definitely susceptible to getting hurt. Find a mentor or join a group (why not the Small Business Bonfire community?), and get involved. You may be surprised how powerful collaboration and new perspectives can be.