If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to bleed confidence. Starting something on your own takes tenacity, faith and determination to make it work. To have a business that makes it past the first 18 months, these qualities of poor leaders are certainly going to be on your list of things to avoid:
1. Second guess themselves and their employees
True confidence comes from being able to trust your team and yourself. Make sure your hiring process is long enough to find and keep the right people, as this can make or break your company. Many employers are now offering “pre-cations” or hiring employees for an initial first project to make sure they are a good fit before hiring them full time.
Offering a fun and secure work environment with great benefits, profit sharing and new technology can let employees know you appreciate them while also helping them become more emotionally invested in the future of the company.
If you find yourself second guessing yourself or your employees, take the time to fix it before your confidence becomes too shaken.
2. Compromise their priorities
When you are building a business, great employees are key, but many entrepreneurs get so tied up in making their business work that they forget about what else in their lives are important to them. Building a business is their main concern, but relationships with friends and family can slip through the cracks if they don’t make it a priority to schedule time for them.
This also goes for hobbies and “self-care” time: meditation, exercise, reading and other things done for enjoyment (even if it’s just browsing on ESPN or some other news site for a few hours) deserve to be scheduled just as much as work projects or meetings. It has been shown that hobbies make people more happy than money, according to the Portland Psychotherapy Clinic. Confidence is boosted when stress is reduced through hobbies and time with loved ones.
3. Refuse to learn new skills
The confident and successful entrepreneur has to adapt to their business’s current needs. While you may need a programmer or designer to make website changes, it may not be in the budget, or they might stuck working on a different project. Instances like this require the confident entrepreneur to put aside any trepidation at learning something new, such as coding or graphic design. Websites such as Skillshare, Lynda, CodeAcademy, UniversalClass and Treehouse (or local community colleges) can help entrepreneurs learn new skills without a high monetary cost.
4. Focus on external validation
It can be endlessly satisfying to hear positive feedback from the media or others about your company or products, but confident entrepreneurs and companies shouldn’t take it less (or more) seriously than negative feedback.
Focusing on internal goals and ideas is what built the company in the first place, so while external feedback is a great way to improve a product, it shouldn’t have the power to completely overhaul how you work or ruin your day. Too many business owners focus on what others are thinking and it ends up impeding their creative process, which in turn causes their products to suffer.
5. Worry about competitors
There’s a difference between worrying about competitors and knowing what they are up to. It’s smart to see what products and services are available in your current market, but just like external validation, if you get caught up in trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” it doesn’t leave much room for actually outpacing your competition.
If you want to stay on top, think of all the ways the customers in your market aren’t being served, and focus on solving that need.
6. Avoid networking and public speaking
When it comes to finding out industry needs, it’s a cold, hard truth for introverts and other shy people that being able to communicate confidently and well is key to building a business.
For most entrepreneurs, having good networking and speaking skills are key, as others’ impressions of you will in turn influence how they feel about your product or company. If you aren’t good at networking or speaking, try joining Toastmasters or attending free events by your local chamber of commerce.
7. Be ignorant of trends or current events
There’s a quiet confidence that comes from staying up to date with the latest technology, national and international news and other trends that are popular in mainstream culture. Society has a huge effect on businesses, no matter the industry or niche, and knowing what’s popular now can help influence and improve products and businesses.
While it’s important to look to the future to solve upcoming needs, current trends can help predict what’s happening next. Subscribe to blogs and websites such as CNN, The New York Times, Wired and Reddit to see what is new and part of current pop culture.
Whether you are networking in a room filled with potential customers or working with your trusted employees on a new, innovative product, confident entrepreneurship means trusting in your brand, business and yourself.