Recent survey’s have shown many company founders biggest challenge is their own over confidence.
Many advisors, board members and professionals who spend a great deal “looking in” at start-ups share this observation.
Two weeks ago I was waiting at the train station to pick a nationally known “celebrity” from my corner of the business world. She was passing through our area and had agreed to stop in for a salon style meeting.
While waiting I was informed of the death of an old friend while rock climbing. As a former world class rock climber I feel I know a little something about confidence. Not enough confidence, success will not be yours. Over confidence probable lead to my friends fate.
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In general when men starting companies they have huge ambitious driven by bold dreams of the future. Women are are far more practical; can I make enough to buy groceries this week. My comments are less about gender and more about that confidence has many different faces and it can be hard to generalize how a specific person will react.
Personally I can be ordinary confident in many circumstances, yet in others I can be embarrassed at how timid I can be. It takes a highly attuned business advisor to help you work with your specific confidence challenges as they relate to your business.
What’s a founder to do? From the time we are born we have parents, teachers, sports coaches and countless other accepted social structures that help us be our highest and best selves.
Yet when we try to do what is maybe one of the hardest most complex things we will ever try we think it is appropriate go go it alone? Culturally speaking John Wayne going it alone on Main St is the brain of effective business. Its over confidence on steroids, yet so many of us buy into it.
Advisors should have been there done that. Its cheaper to pay them than for you to suffer an expensive company killing lesson of your own making from over confidence . This why you hear about founders being tossed by investors who favor “professional” management.
Professionals listen, others can only talk about the lint in their navel. My experience is that most company founders invented a “new” product or service. They love their “widget’. They are experts at their “widget”. What they have not yet figured out is that in order for their “widget” to be successful it needs a foundation made of things like a proper balance sheet, effective marketing and a well functioning team. Things most founders learn the hard way if at all. Real confidence is comes without an ego attached.
It is my belief that human beings rarely act in their own best interest. Yet we will do amazing things for others.
Business today is so complex no one person can do it all, know about it all. Nobody is an anal attentive accountant and a wildly creative marketer in the same person. Are you aware of your blind spots?
Google and the advisors that are bringing mindfulness to their teams are getting loads of press and praise. Our work with a tech company that works with many small micro to mid size businesses was thrilled we chose in our training program to weave in all aspects of the concept of inner awareness and mindfulness. I have been a very long term meditator and actively doing mindfulness work for the past decade or more. This is source of true confidence from deep within our selves.
Which sounds more painful to you? Explaining to your spouse that the kids college fund is gone and isn’t coming back anytime soon, or, I listened to my advisor and found what I thought was a good solution. Remember it’s your company, you are always the final decision maker. As our tech friends are fond of saying garbage in, garbage out. Confidence or lack there of is just garbage without a firm foundation.
A good advisor is not cheap. And you never know exactly when or what the payoff will come, but there are countless stories of my clients where a 5 minute conversation saved their bacon and paid for all my fees for a year. One example is some clients were building am athletic club as an addition to a resort lodging property. They well researched and well prepared for this change in business direction. Yet they assumed that the fitness machines that were destine for the basement came in pieces and would go down the stairwell. They don’t. Had construction continued it would have cost them 3-4 times my annual fee to fix that innocuous error. That is one that still gives me confidence as an advisor.
An advisor is not a guarantee of success, but they definitely tilt the odds in your favor. That is something to be confident about.