After my experience with the women at BlogHer08 conference I thought a long time about business, and what makes getting into business and being serious about business, and owning your business so hard for anyone. Whether woman or man, young or old, I have talked to many, many, people who want to own their own business but are afraid, deeply afraid.
What are they afraid of? It turns out they are afraid of not knowing “stuff.” Many people who want to start their own business somehow think that they need to know more than they know.
Here is the funny thing about this. Talk to anyone passionate about a business idea. Start by asking them questions about their passion, how they got interested in it, what drives them to pursue it, and how they stack up against other people in their space. My experience is most people are eloquent, excited, and very knowledgeable when you ask them questions like this. BUT… start to ask them questions like:
- What is your business model?
- How will you price your product/service?
- Who are your competitors?
- Have you forecasted your sales?
You will see panic in most people’s eyes. They will look at you like a deer in the headlights. At best you will get the response “oh I know nothing about business. I just know about ______ (their passion).” What they don’t realize is that they actually know the answer to all those questions. They are just terrified of the business terms. Let’s rephrase the questions:
- How are you going to make money?
- Have you thought about what you will charge people?
- Who else is doing this?
- How much money do you think you can make?
The more I experience working with entrepreneurs, the more I see that the biggest weakness most people have is lack of confidence. And more interesting to me, I find that many women entrepreneurs (not all) want to tell you up front, very quickly, how uninformed, and technically challenged they are. They feel the need to apologize right off the bat, for not being “real” business people. Yet when you actually start to dig into their business or business idea you find that all these apologies are unnecessary and in fact misleading.
So where am I going with this rambling post? I guess to encourage all you entrepreneurs – and especially all you women entrepreneurs to be confident. You KNOW your stuff. You just need to think about it in a way that makes you comfortable and confident. Anything that you do not know can be learned – and learned easily. Just because you did not study business does not mean that you can’t run one, and be successful. Think about one of the most successful modern day entrepreneurs: Bill Gates. He is a college drop out. He didn’t study business. So take the bull by the horns, set your sights on success, and don’t apologize to anyone!