Believe in yourself and business success will follow

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One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is not believing in themselves. I have seen this time and time again in the field, where doubt creeps in and the entrepreneur makes decisions out of fear, not trust.

Typically, when this happens, an entrepreneur may decide to conserve capital, rather than explore ways to proactively use that capital. Or they may try to do everything themselves, instead of hiring resources who can perform tasks more efficiently. This mentality also arises with entrepreneurs who need capital to expand but choose to sit on the sidelines.

With any of these scenarios, the entrepreneur can lose ground to more aggressive competitors willing to take a calculated risk. Your business could easily wither and die on the vine.

Related: The Incredible Power of Believing in Yourself

The last scenario I want to address is the would-be entrepreneur who doesn’t even start his business. These people are near and dear to my heart. I have probably come across thousands of them during my five decades as an entrepreneur. They generally lack the self-confidence to take the first steps of gathering information, designing a business plan, and seeking capital. They procrastinate, hoping that one day the money will fall into their lap. It almost never happens.

When I have met such individuals, I have asked them some important questions that suggest to me whether they have what it takes to believe in themselves and take risks. If the person answers “yes” to these questions listed below, they should definitely bet on themselves and take the risk.

Do you have experience in the field?

Experience in the field is invaluable to an entrepreneur. I have a friend whose father was a newspaper editor. My friend did everything from selling newspapers on the street corner when he was a kid to writing articles as a teenager. When it came time to start his own business 25 years ago, he started a newsletter business. His experience in journalism was fundamental to his success.

Do you have the stomach to handle some mishaps?

You will make mistakes. All entrepreneurs do. It is unavoidable. My friend started his first subscription newsletter in the early 1990s. He failed. He did not abandon the idea. Instead, he took a full-time job with a newsletter editor to learn how to correct the mistakes he made on the first try. Ten years later, he was ready again. This time, he charged too much, $795 a year for subscriptions to his newsletter. He only sold a few subscriptions, barely enough to justify all the energy and time it would take to write all those articles. But instead of returning the money and leaving his company, he stayed with her. He lowered the price. Ultimately, he created a business that many journalists would love to own.

Related: Using the Power of Self-Confidence to Create Success

Are you willing to delegate?

It’s hard to see money walk out the door. Instead, some entrepreneurs might be tempted to manage all aspects of the business, including technology. My friend recognized what he did well and what he did not do well. He identified a team that could free his mind from technological challenges and allow him to do what he did best: be an editor. He also recognized the value of subscription services, which could get hundreds of libraries to subscribe for a small fee.

Will you go the extra mile for your customers or clients?

My friend was loyal to his initial customers, and then as his business grew, he was loyal to those customers, who brought in the most revenue. He also gave them other perks, like free reprints they could use for their marketing efforts. Do your best customers a favor, and it will pay off in terms of their loyalty and referrals to other customers.

Are you willing to bet on yourself?

My friend knew what he had and was ready to put his own financial security on the line. In the early years, he built his credit score. Then, when he needed capital, he didn’t hesitate. He took the low-interest credit card checks and invested in his business, sponsoring key conferences attended by prospective subscribers. It worked, as new subscribers came on board and he cleared the debt. To be sure, credit card debt isn’t for everyone. If you can get cheap money from a bank, do so. But if you can’t, believe in yourself and do whatever it takes to find success as an entrepreneur.

Related: The importance of thinking big and believing in yourself

These qualities will not guarantee success. But if you have them, or ultimately adopt them, then your chances are much higher. As Henry David Thoreau said: “If one moves confidently in the direction of his dreams and strives to live the life he has envisioned, he will find unexpected success in ordinary hours.”

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