Small Business Success Secret: Defeating Doubt

business successs secretsIf you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through. ~Rosalyn Carter

Self doubt will plague you (if you let it) every step of the way as you strive for business success.    Every path to success is filled with obstacles, the key is overcoming those obstacles.

One of the biggest “success killers” you’ll encounter when launching a new business (or a new product line) is self doubt. Yet overcoming this seemingly small hurdle is essential if you’re to achieve small business success!

Small Business Success Secret: Defeating Self Doubt

Monika Mundell writes brilliantly about the role of self doubt in her post Your Business Success Quotient and uses a simple “mathematical” formula to illustrate a powerful truth:

The greatest business idea in the world can be reduced to dust if self doubt is allowed to run rampant.

Let’s say you have a been inspired by a GREAT business idea. On a scale of 1-100, this one is truly a 100. However, if you don’t trust yourself… you may begin to procrastinate or worse yet, begin focus on your past “failures”.

Surround yourself with enough negative Nellies and naysayers, and that great idea for your business can quickly be ground into dust.   The fact that your idea can be ground into dust is in no way any reflection on the original idea. Even mountains can be ground into sand with enough time, pressure and precipitation.

One way to significantly increase the pressure on your “great idea”  is to begin “shopping” your idea to family and friends.

Let me be clear, if your family and friends are your greatest cheerleaders and/or potential customers for your new product – then seeking their input is a GREAT idea. Unfortunately, your family and friends may well become your worst enemies in the process.

I love watching shows where  successful entrepreneurs are interviewed about their humble beginnings.

Many times, when these successful entrepreneurial guests are asked about the support they got from family and friends when they were just starting out, the response is usually some version of, “Well, to be honest with you… they thought I was crazy at the time.”

It’s fun to hear them tell the tale years later, after that they’ve “made it.” It’s easy to forget that as they struggled to launch their dream these very successful entrepreneurs probably felt just like Noah did as he built a huge Ark on dry land under sunny skies.

If your family and friends aren’t part of your target market or aren’t serial entrepreneurs, then don’t put too much weight in their criticism. Instead of getting honest feedback, you may just get someone who is shooting holes in your great idea.

John Kanary once said:

If doubt is challenging you and you do not act, doubts will grow. Challenge the doubts with action and you will grow. Doubt and action are incompatible.

How do you challenge your doubts?  What’s your key to overcoming  self doubt and moving forward?


  1. Wow Kathy, you are ingenious! I love the way you build upon my post. Especially the line when others shoot holes into our dreams. This is so true and despite knowing this in our subconsciousness we still ask friends and family for feedback.

    Unfortunately mine (with a few minor exceptions) are definitely the wrong people to ask and since knowing this I’m not even bothering anymore. Too quickly can dreams and ideas be stolen by ignorance.

    Monika Mundell’s last blog post..Your Business Success Quotient

  2. Monika,

    Right back at you babe! You are the genius! That “formula” was a real revelation for me!

    I may have to change the sig on my email to your last line of the comment above…

    Too quickly can dreams and ideas be stolen by ignorance.

  3. Those are some encouraging words. Thank for laying it out “scientifically.” I grew up with family who came through the factory/mill worker mindset and even my grandmother always told me I should be a postman or other “government worker” because I would always have a job. At one time my town was for all practical purposes a one industry (textiles) town and to be an entrepreneur was a pipe dream in that culture. I appreciate the hard work and money my family saved. My parents themselves were not mill workers but they still had that mindset and my mother has always said a job is not meant to be fun, it’s meant to be work. Of course I have to be a rebel. A crazy one. I’m loving life more and more every day and I thank fellow entrepreneur’s like you who share in the encourgement.

    Patrick’s last blog post..SpinningSilk Multimedia street view via Google Map

  4. Patrick,

    I hadn’t thought of pursuing the entrepreneurial path as a form of “rebellion” but I think you’ve hit the nail on the head! IT IS!!! Especially when everyone you know is “playing it safe” with a “real” job!

    No wonder family and friends think we’re “crazy”!!!

  5. Great post, Kathy, and so true! Self-doubt is a form of fear. I think of that line from Desiderata: “Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.” The twelve-step acronym is HALT. Don’t let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Stop before that happens. Not so easy when we get all caught up with the excitement of the web and look up to see it’s already 4:00 am!

    Ellen Moore’s last blog post..A Change of View


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