All of us have internal negative voices or gremlins that make us doubt ourselves. Aspiring entrepreneurs can be most affected by these as they are attempting to try something risky and challenging. If your business idea doesn’t fly, you can’t blame your boss or the evil corporation you work for – it is your fault.
In order to get the support you need to deal with these gremlins, I offer some learning from the wildly popular t.v. show American Idol. I sheepishly admit to being fascinated with the current roster of aspiring artists. There is something thrilling about seeing young folks put themselves on the line for all the world to critique. But a helpful lesson from the show is that in order to be successful, you must have both supportive and brutally honest feedback.
-Identify a person in your life who has the ability to clearly see your unique gifts. You may be plagued by doubt, but this person can remind you that you are really special.
-Have this person protect you from your own worst fears. When you start to feel anxiety and self-doubt, look to this person to comfort you and support you.
-Go to this person when you want to brainstorm new ideas and deal with the creative side of your business. What are the fun possibilities? Where could you have big wins?
-We all know that Simon can be a big bully and sometimes revels in just being mean. But he also plays the important role of stepping up and delivering brutally honest feedback to some contestants who need to hear it. The music business is cut-throat competitive, so people need to hear a voice of reality.
-Identify mentors that you respect that will give you raw, unedited feedback about your business ideas. Don’t settle for answers such as "this is a terrible idea and will never work." Look for people who will say "this won’t work, and here is why … you need to do more of X and less of Y."
-Look for critical people who have a track record of being successful themselves. There will be all kinds of people eager to tell you why your idea won’t work just to feel self-important. The person you want is someone who is speaking from experience, not spite.
Take all feedback, positive and negative, with a grain of salt. Ultimately, you will need to test your idea in the marketplace and you will find the pure, unadulterated truth. If your product or service meets a need and is marketed well, you will know it from the dings on your cash register.