Belief is probably one of the most powerful human emotions. Cards on the table, I think it’s absolutely critical to the success of any business. We know that every entrepreneur or business leader across the world needs high levels of resilience, persistence, and drive, but at the heart of all of those characteristics is a belief that what they are doing is worthwhile.
But, while every business owner starts out with a huge amount of belief, as time goes on, maybe you didn’t have the instant success you expected, maybe you see competitors doing really well, either way it’s not working for you, you’re worn down and that belief has gone.
But if you don’t have belief in your business, who else will?
Beware the Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome affects a huge amount of business owners. Typically, it’s characterised either by a loss of belief in one’s ability or a belief that we don’t deserve the success they’ve had, or a belief that their success isn’t sustainable.
An antidote to impostor syndrome is to get absolute clarity on the role you play for a business and what a successful outcome looks like for you and then using your emotions, your energy and your time to deliver that outcome. If you didn’t have high levels of belief at the start, you’ll get them because as you start to deliver it takes the focus off you and on to your desired outcome.
Next, take a look at your products and services. Are they good, are they great? How can you make them better? Focus on serving and if you believe you have something worth buying, you develop a confidence in your product and that is a position you can sell from.
Don’t catch ‘comparisonitis’
While everyone is comparing themselves to someone else, it breeds something we call ‘comparisonitis’. When you see how well someone else operates you might feel that, in comparison, you will never be as good as them. Social Media does a lot to portray a very positive side of any business and fuels this potentially crippling mindset. Maybe someone is boasting an amazing week; they’ve won five new clients this week and you haven’t. Or they are posting some great profits or a day out with staff. Remember, everyone has ups and downs and maybe about 75% of the stuff posted is a true reflection of reality.
Use more positive language
A lot of the language used in coaching conversations around imposter syndrome; around limiting beliefs, what’s holding people back and why they feel their business just isn’t good enough is typically very negative. It puts a lot of focus and energy into what’s wrong in order that business owners see that the reality is actually far more positive.
But if you are more positive from the start, you will have far more productive conversations. The next time you meet a prospective client, surely you going to have a better chance of securing a contract if you genuinely believe that your products and services are world-class or at least very good, versus not really being sure, but you really need the money and so you really need this deal.
If you have genuinely spent the time thinking about your products and services and believe that they’re really good, but certainly they are good enough for what your clients and prospective clients are looking for, then that puts you in a really powerful place. If you’re trying to sell effectively, you have to have that utmost confidence that what you’re doing is serving a purpose. Either you are fixing a problem or you are creating some value, but either way your customers have got to see that passion in you. It’s a big advantage a small business owner has over Tesco’s or other large businesses in the same space.
One of the best things any business owner can do is make themselves better. It is a process they can own and as they get better, they serve clients better, who tell more people, and as your reputation grows, it brings in more money. It’s a win, win. You don’t always have to be the best, but you have to be good enough. But as soon as you’ve got that confidence that what you are doing is really going to help your clients, it will really help.
Belief builds intent
Another big positive of believing in your products and services is the energy and industry you will bring to your business and your conversations, driven by the intent behind what you’re doing. That breeds confidence so when you explain your business, it gives you an air of authenticity. It means that in any conversation, you’re coming from a position of strength. Yes, you’re listening to what somebody is looking for, but you know that you have spent time getting better and better at what you offer and people notice that, which removes purchase barriers and which, in the end, may make the extra difference between the deal coming to you or going somewhere else.
Competitors can bring you customers not steal them
Another key part of maintaining your belief is understanding who your competitors are and more importantly what they may be doing for your market place. For example, rather than worry about all the new digital accountancy firms setting up that look like Cypher, feel a bit like Cypher, I found instead that it strengthened my belief that we were doing something right. While we used to try and show up better, bigger and bolder than all the other visions of a modern, digital accountancy firm, over time, I’ve realised that I actually want more businesses like that in the market place. With each new accountancy firm that sets up like Cypher, has the same ethos as Cypher, we move another step away from the old, traditional model of accountancy that we are all fighting against!
Whenever another modern accountancy firm takes on a new member of staff, we see this as a cause for celebration because it means there’s more demand for what we do. And that puts my belief right up. But to make that happen, you have to be secure in yourself, have belief in your core principles and have belief that your core product is good enough so you can interact with your competition in a more positive way.
Believe in your Forecast
I spend a huge amount of my time looking forwards with business owners. I ask them what this year looks like and what they want to achieve. Someone might say, ‘I want to do half a million…’ but I feel like shaking them and saying that I can see you don’t believe that. Or another way is to find a number that really excites a business owner. They say that is what they want but you can see that they don’t believe it and in the end they’ll get 50% or 60% of what they wanted.
And then, every now and again you see that something clicks. A business owner sets out his or her goals and commits. They have never been so focused or so determined to achieve something.
When you look at any successful business owner, an important part of their journey is the inbuilt belief that they will achieve the goals they set out to achieve.
If I consider the top 20% performing businesses that we work with, it’s not always the quality of their product that has brought their success rather it’s the belief of the business owner in the quality of their product.