“I don’t think that your business is going to work”
“Your chances of success are very slim”
“I had an Uncle that tried to do that and failed”
Anytime you start your own business or take any risks for that matter, you’ll inevitably meet people who will doubt you. These people often mean well, but their negative comments can be a devastating blow to your self-esteem and your entrepreneurial spirit if you are not careful.
What makes things even worse is in some cases, the people who cast the most doubt on your business ideas are your friends and people who you care about. Some may not outwardly express their skepticism but secretly believe that your business won’t stand a chance.
When my wife and I started our online wedding linens business, we had many people who doubted that our idea would ever succeed. Even today, I can only count a few people who supported our business from the very beginning. Now that our business is generating a decent profit, I can finally document how we dealt with the doubters and the skeptics.
The Gun Slingers
Your idea is never going to work so don’t even bother wasting your time.
I call these people the gunslingers because they are always the first ones to shoot down your ideas. Gun slingers are complete pessimists and can suck away all of your excitement with a single derogatory comment. You’ll often find gun slingers sitting by the water cooler bitching and complaining about some aspect of their life whether it be their work or family. Even if you have a brilliant idea, they’ll inevitably find something negative to say to bring you down.
Every small business needs enthusiasm in order to thrive. So when you encounter a gun slinger, don’t even bother telling them about your idea. In fact, avoid talking to gun slingers altogether. Find someone positive to talk to and confide in them instead.
When it comes to starting your own business, the best people to talk to are other entrepreneurs and highly motivated individuals. Especially in the early stages of your business, speaking with positive and supportive people can further fuel your excitement towards your business.
Gun slingers don’t have the guts to try anything on their own so they always to try to bring other people down to cover up their laziness and lack of confidence. Keep a mental tally of who the gunslingers are so that you can later drop a few tidbits about how successful your business has become. I know it’s childish and petty but it can be very satisfying.
Did you know that 90% of start up businesses fail? Do you have any idea how competitive the wedding business is? Do you have any idea how many wedding vendors there are already? Do you know how small of a percentage you have of being successful?
The factoids are the ones that constantly remind you of how slim your chances are of being successful. They’ll quote industry wide statistics and failure ratios which can make your business idea seem silly and ridiculous.
When dealing with the factoids, you have to keep in mind that those facts and figures have absolutely nothing to do with you. Do those statistics specifically reference your name? NO!
All of those people who have failed in the past are just a bunch of numbers, a statistic. They do not represent you and what you bring to the table. You need to constantly remind yourself that you possess unique characteristics that can’t be quantified by anyone.
When my wife and I first started our business, we were one of hundreds of wedding vendors in just our local area. If we went by statistics alone, we would never have had the courage to even begin because statistically, our chances of success would have been one in a thousand.
The factoids can only quote statistics about the average person. But you are definitely not just average!
So how is your ‘little’ wedding linens business doing? What was it that you sell again?
Once you have launched your business, you’ll inevitably meet people who I term as the mockers. They’ll ask you questions about your business expecting to hear negative things about your sales. These people may not be doing it on purpose, but they secretly want to see you fail.
When we first launched our business, we had a few people who would routinely ask how our sales were doing. In the beginning, I didn’t really mind and I would tell them that we hadn’t made much money yet and that it would take some time for our business to take off.
After several months had passed though, these questions started becoming annoying since sales were slow. Pretty soon, some of these questions started coming across as mocking.
Acquaintance: So how’s your little linens business coming along?
Me: Our “little” wedding business is ok. Things are slow but progressing.
Acquaintance: Made enough to quit your job yet? What thingys do you sell again? It must be tough.
Me: We sell wedding linens and no we aren’t making much money yet jackass.
Acquaintance: I’m sorry?
Me: I said, “we aren’t making much money yet. Is that what you asked?”
Acquaintance: Oh, that’s too bad.
The mockers can get annoying after awhile, but it’s all the more satisfying when business does start to pick up. Try and take their comments as a challenge to fuel your enthusiasm.
Hold Your Head High
The most important thing when dealing with the doubters is to take everything they say with a grain of salt. There are too many variables for anyone to accurately predict the success or failure probability of your small business.
Now that my wife and I have gone through it already, we can wholeheartedly say that being successful depends more on your ingenuity, hard work and implementation methodology than the idea itself. So forget what the others are saying. Be creative and you can make anything happen.
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