You can ask any entrepreneur reasons why they are successful. The common reason may be that they had an innovative product or service, or maybe it was terrific insight. Being in the right place at the right time may be another reason for a humble entrepreneur.

When you ask them what they had to overcome to become successful, it is a little harder to identify because some reasons are very tangible and others not so. Financing (or lack of) tops the list of tangibles, time management, systems in place for growth, finding the right people, finding the right suppliers are also tops. Understanding the market, cultural considerations (for a foreign investor), demographic and knowing the psychographics of your customer are important.

I feel the hardest thing to overcome to become a successful entrepreneur is overcoming the lack of confidence because Doubt Kills the Warrior every time. Every entrepreneur who is honest about it will admit to having doubt. None of us has missed having those days when you cannot get out of your bathrobe and sit around watching Oprah instead of working on perhaps something you are not too keen to do, whether it is sales calls or actually doing the work.

I have had clients who had done the work they were hired to do but kept putting off invoicing the client because they felt bad for billing the client so much. They doubted their worth and were afraid the client would rebuke them. Been there; done that. I remember worrying all weekend once because I was supposed to deliver an important job and give my client a bill for $50, 000. I worried all weekend that it was too much and whether I should discount it or maybe even put if off for another week. Monday, I steeled myself and delivered an exceptional job to a very satisfied client who could not stop thanking me for the quality, service, and you guessed it, the price. I had prepaid for the pain all weekend because of crippling doubt.

How does one mitigate the problems associated with lack of confidence? Understanding your business from Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis is the first step. If you know your weakness is closing jobs, hire someone, if you have exceptional strengths doing a specific job work with a partner who likes the customer side of business. One solution that is a simplistic answer to a problem with possible expensive and damaging results, perhaps. Often doubt is mitigated by experience and the trick is just getting past the startup part of your business.

-Gary Bizzo

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