For business owners today, qualifications, experience, and high-quality products or services don’t mean a thing if they don’t have any confidence. If you’re not confident in yourself and your business, how will you ever feel like you can raise your prices? How will you ever negotiate successfully? How will you make sure your customers, suppliers, and peers all respect you as a business owner?
A confident business owner is a valued, trusted, and respected leader, and even introverts can be confident in business situations – you don’t have to be ‘larger than life’ to be self-assured, grounded, and effective!
Whether you’re just starting your own business, and need to have confidence to watch your business grow, or you’re struggling to progress your career or your business because a lack of confidence is holding you back, here are some valuable confidence-building tips.
Know your goals
The most confident people, both in life and in business, are those who know they’re in control of where they and their business is heading – and without goals, how can you know where you’re going? Of course you must set specific goals, or as you achieve them you won’t get the satisfaction needed to build that all-important confidence.
If you’re just setting one huge goal – for example, making millions in annual turnover every year – you run the risk of losing confidence rather than gaining it. After all, how do you achieve such an incredible goal? Where do you start?
Instead, look at what you’re aiming to achieve in smaller chunks (they’re not as scary!), and set goals accordingly. What are your immediate goals? What about in one year? Five years? Ten years? Then you can tailor everything you do to align with those goals, and your confidence will grow as you see how the smaller things are building to those bigger goals.
Self-education – the right way
Learning new skills and broadening your commercial knowledge is definitely an important factor in terms of confidence, so anything you can do to educate yourself on what’s current in your industry or overall business skills is going to be extremely valuable.
It can be easy to get carried away though, and not every course, seminar, or book is going to be relevant or useful. In fact, some things can just muddy the waters or teach you downright incorrect information. That’s why it’s essential not to go crazy and sign up for everything, instead look at what’s important to you, what’s going to be relevant and valuable to your business, and whether the organisation or person sharing or teaching is credible.
Understand your strengths…
…and play to them. Nobody is going to be superman/woman (not all the time, anyway!), and we all naturally have strengths in some aspects of our life, and other things we find more of a challenge. It’s only natural that we’re going to be more confident when we’re doing the things we’re especially good at – whether that’s speaking in public, being able to explain technicalities and jargon in a way people understand, putting people at ease, relationship building, the list goes on.
However, you might not realise exactly what your strengths are, and without knowing that you’re not going to be able to play to them. Once you’ve identified your strengths you can spend time developing them even more, giving you a real confidence boost. On the flip side, understanding your strengths helps you to examine the things that you’re not quite as strong at – meaning you can work to develop those as well.
Understand that preparation is key
If you go into any business situation without preparing, any situation at all in fact, of course your confidence levels are going to be low. That’s why it’s so important that you know exactly what you’re doing, what you want to get out of the situation, everything you’re going to need to say, and you have all the information you need before you go ahead.
For situations like business negotiations, where there could be a number of possible outcomes, make sure you go through each one of them beforehand, and decide how you want to deal with them. Just as physical preparation is crucially important to being confident in what you’re doing, plenty of studies have shown that being mentally prepared is just as important.
Fake it ‘til You Make it
You’ve probably heard the expression ‘fake it ‘til you make it’, and the funny thing is, it actually works if you’re trying to increase your confidence in yourself! Of course, just acting like you’re confident won’t suddenly make it happen, but gradually it will build up, until you’re actually feeling it. In fact, studies have shown that if you ‘grin and bear it’, you’ll actually start to feel better.
If you’re not feeling confident, it’s going to be hard at first to attempt to portray otherwise, but it will definitely get easier as you grow in confidence, I promise. Non-verbal communication like body language, posture, and facial expressions all go a long way to changing how people perceive your confidence levels. Not sure how? Start with these:
- SMILE – Even if you’re feeling nervous, a broad, natural smile conveys bucket-loads of confidence. Practise in the mirror first to make sure it does look natural!
- Good posture – Shoulders back, head up, and standing up straight all project self-assurance.
- Keep your hands visible – No hiding hands in pockets or behind your back, keep them out and open, with your palms up (think open body language!).
- Maintain eye contact – If you can’t look the other person in the eye they’re going to see you as (at best) unconfident, or worst case scenario untrusting and shifty.
It’s important to think of confidence as a skill, and of course skills can be learned and built on. If you’d like to find out how The Impact Academy can help you boost your business confidence levels even further, get in touch.