this article first appeared on Entrepreneur.com
I have a special notebook in Evernote labeled “sidebars.” This is where I store all of my grand ideas that are sure to dazzle the market and drive my business to breathtaking success. Day after day, I place more ideas into the notebook anxiously awaiting the time I’ll revisit it to find them aged to perfection and ready for action. Ultimately most of the ideas sit stagnant, gather dust and are simply piled upon with additional ideas.
How many ideas and products do you have tucked away in your notebook? How many online courses have you started to create, yet never launched? Entrepreneurship can provide a tremendous opportunity for you to realize new levels of success. Unfortunately, it can also envelop you in a cloud of frustration when it comes time to capitalize on your inspiration.
The reality is that you are not alone. Speak to any entrepreneur you know, at any point along their journey, and you’ll hear a familiar story. They have this amazing new offering they are working on, and it’s going to be the next big thing that drives tremendous business growth. Speak to that same entrepreneur a year later, and the story may be one of unfulfilled promise or a case of eternal preparation.
Here are four limiting beliefs that are holding you back from creating real and sustainable business growth from your next product or service.
One of the biggest problems entrepreneurs face is the self-inflicted expectation of greatness. You believe your product has to be a screaming success as soon as it hits the street. In order for it to fly off the shelf, you need to have the perfect product. The product ideas I have stuffed away in my Evernote folder fall into this category. I believe they are not ready, and if I deliver them, my audience will be disappointed.
These are natural feelings, yet feelings that should not hold you back. Do not waste valuable time waiting for your product to be perfect. While the market demands quality products, perfection should remain a goal and not a hard requirement. If you wait to achieve what you deem is perfect, you will have squandered the opportunity for business growth of any kind.
Entrepreneurs, like most people, have a tendency to compare their success to others. Unfortunately, success is too often loudly over-reported, while any hint of failure is quietly brushed aside. You are bombarded with stories of raving success and prosperous launches by your competitors. It is natural to start to feel as if you could never live up to the same level of achievement.
The problem is, you are too often comparing yourself with established competition that has been building their business for years. For example, if you are starting a company serving the shoe market, you can’t look at your business on the same level as Nike or Adidas. While it is important to look up to industry leaders, it is not always a viable strategy to gauge your success based on theirs.
Instead of focusing on the level of success you see others achieving — and then wallowing in your inability to reach similar heights — focus on your audience and serve their needs. Business growth will follow when you focus on providing value to those in your community looking for a solution.
The courses I have sitting on my computer contain numerous videos, checklists, guides and diagrams. Hours have gone into creating quality content, yet I believe I still don’t have enough. Entrepreneurs can quickly fall into the trap of feature-creep. This is when you believe your product or offering needs to provide every bit of information or functionality the moment it goes live. You justify this reasoning by comparing it to other products on the market or by assuming it has to live up to the price tag.
Be bold enough to publish early and adapt as you move forward. The key strategy is to get your product out there and refine over time.
Price remains one of the biggest mental hurdles holding back business growth. Too often entrepreneurs are afraid to price their product high in fear the market will reject it as overpriced. You need to change your perspective and regard your product offering from the eyes of a new consumer. Act as if you are looking for a similar product and you are doing research. Look at competing offerings in your market space, compare functionality and analyze pricing. Performing this sort of analysis will allow you set pricing based on market research and factual evidence rather than blind emotion.
Pushing new products to market can be an intimidating endeavor even for experienced business owners. However, if you are able to overcome these four limiting beliefs, you have a much better chance of realizing early success while positioning yourself and your business for long-term growth.