It’s surprisingly common to feel nervous, anxious or out of your depth when running your own business. Becoming a successful entrepreneur involves a huge amount of self-belief and personal motivation, but with a bit of effort, you can get there. Here’s our guide on how to be a better franchise professional by facing your fears.
We’ve gathered the best pieces of advice for those who want to learn how to overcome business obstacles. Keep reading to discover our 12 tips for being a successful franchisor or franchisee.
Imposter syndrome - the facts
When it comes to business fears, imposter syndrome is a big topic. While many franchisees and franchisors are afraid of professional failure - a normal part of life as an entrepreneur - the feeling of being somewhere you don’t belong can lead to setbacks. But what exactly is imposter syndrome?
The term was coined back in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes. It’s used when describing those who feel they don’t deserve to be in the position they occupy and are surrounded by people who are more talented and knowledgeable than them. According to various studies, imposter syndrome is more prevalent among women than men, as they produce less testosterone, which encourages confidence.
NatWest recently carried out research into imposter syndrome. The results revealed 60 percent of women who have considered launching a business ended up scrapping their plans as they lacked confidence.
As you start to talk about it, you realise everyone is going through the same thing. Everyone. It doesn’t matter how successful they are, what they’re doing. Everyone tends to feel the same things.
– Baroness McGregor-Smith, Conservative Peer
What’s more, imposter syndrome has caused 28 percent of employed women to avoid speaking up in meetings, and 21 percent to decide against suggesting new ideas. Shockingly, 26 percent have failed to explore different career opportunities as a result of the negative feeling.
According to author Clare Josa, 56 percent of entrepreneurs generally tend to suffer from imposter syndrome on a regular basis.
Although feelings of inadequacy can lead to productivity and high performance, they can also have an incredibly damaging effect not only on business decisions but mental health too. If you find yourself doubting or criticising yourself, attributing your success to external factors or setting impossibly high goals, it’s time to take action.
>> Read more:
Why is fear so common in the business world?
There are several factors causing fear to spike among business owners:
- Business failure can be financially crippling, as well as humiliating
- Entrepreneurs naturally want to see their business perform as well as possible, so they set their expectations impossibly high
- Evolutionary traits cause humans to feel hesitant about stepping into the unknown
- Going outside of our comfort zones and starting a business is daunting in itself
- Business owners don’t often talk about their fears, so many feel they’re an outsider in a world of confident entrepreneurs
The problem with imposter syndrome is that it’s taboo. Sufferers don’t want to tell anyone they experience it. On the outside, they often appear confident, and may be high achievers, but they experience this secret guilt and shame. - Clare Josa, author
How to be a better franchise professional and overcome business obstacles
Here are the best 12 tips on how to face your fears while running a business:
1. Rationalise your thoughts
Treat your inner critic as if it were a person arguing against you, and use logical reasoning to disprove their claims. Where is the evidence to back up your feelings of inadequacy? Soon, you’ll realise most of your concerns are unfounded.
2. Learn to accept praise
One of the biggest steps in the journey to self-belief is to learn to accept a compliment. Many people give much more credence to negative comments than positive ones, but knowing your worth and agreeing with those who praise your work or attitude is important.
You know your business better than any of the people in the room and you’ve got a real strength in that… I don’t have all the answers and I never will, frankly.
– Pippa Murray, founder of Pip & Nut
3. Remember that imposter syndrome usually affects high-achievers
If you feel you’re not good enough for a certain environment or responsibility, your brain may be tricking you. Many of the people who experience imposter syndrome are naturally high-achievers with a great work ethic, so you’re probably already ahead of some of your peers.
4. Remember previous achievements
When you feel bogged down by negative thoughts, take a moment to remember where you’ve come from. Chances are, you’ve already made big leaps. Just accessing funding and setting up a business is a huge achievement, let alone growing your profits over time.
5. Focus on the value you can add to a team
If you feel powerless or out of control, consider the little acts you can do to support others. For example, if you see someone who appears nervous or isolated, you can improve the situation by asking them a question to bring them into the conversation. Proving to yourself that you have something valuable to offer will give you confidence.
6. Accept imperfection
This step is a tricky one for perfectionists, but there’s value in recognising when a job is done well and when you’re wasting your time with endless improvements. Treat every day as just one moment in a much longer journey; you’re good enough at this point in time, and you can improve in the future. You don’t need to be perfect from day one.
7. Practise your weaknesses
You can tackle your issues head-on by identifying your weaknesses and practising them. If you feel unsure about bookkeeping, interview techniques or networking, for example, find ways to improve your skills. There are plenty of resources and professional development opportunities out there for dedicated entrepreneurs.
When I first became a chief executive, nobody told me I had to do public speaking, and that really traumatised me because I’d never spoken in public. I just realised, ultimately, that I had to crack that, so I just did lots of practice. 100 presentations later, I could walk it. - Baroness McGregor-Smith, Conservative Peer
8. Accept your weaknesses
If you feel you’ll never be able to manage certain tasks or just want to defer the learning process until you have more time on your hands, consider outsourcing them. Often, you’ll be able to take advantage of a software package, use an external agency or hire an assistant to get the job done - and there’s no shame in it.
Discussing your feelings with others can go a long way to resolving them. But you don’t necessarily have to open up to friends and family. Attending business networking events will help you realise almost everyone feels the same way, and should give you the chance to share concerns and gain advice.
10. Collaborate with others
Many business owners are independent workers, intent on knuckling down and getting things done themselves. However, it can be incredibly helpful to join forces with others whenever possible. By working alongside someone else, you’ll gain a better understanding of how other professionals perform and come to identify their own limitations, which should help you recognise your personal capabilities.
11. Assume an alter ego
Although having a business alter ego might seem strange, it can boost your confidence. Often, we’re much kinder to others than we are to ourselves. Pick a successful figure or personal role model and, when faced with a conundrum, think about what they would do in your place. You’d be unlikely to denigrate them afterwards if they were doing their best.
12. Embrace your individuality
It’s tempting to try to conform to fit in with those around you, but there’s no set personality for a business owner and no script for business discussions. As long as you’re capable, compassionate and driven, employees are likely to accept you, so embrace your quirks and be true to yourself.
I left school at 15 - no GCSEs, no qualifications. When I started my career, I remember walking into this very foreign, daunting environment and thinking I don’t sound the same, I don’t look the same, I didn’t study in these guys’ places. But you either let that cripple you… or you think actually I’ve got to take ownership here, work hard and prove myself. But it’s not always easy silencing that voice of doubt in your own mind.
– Stacey Dooley, presenter, journalist and author
>> Read more:
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- 5 Reasons Why A Strong Franchisor-Franchisee Relationship Is So Important
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- Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid Making As A Franchisor
- What It Really Means To Be a Franchisor
- Ten Ways to Be the Best Franchisor a Franchisee Could Wish For
- Why it’s Important for Franchisors to Visit Franchisees.
More franchisor and franchisee tips
You can find more advice on running your own business and tips on how to be a better franchise professional in our extensive range of informative articles. Alternatively, find resources on particular topics using the search box.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©