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Business Owner's Corner

You've Got a New Product Idea. Scared S**tless? Now What? Part 3

By Elizabeth Pierotti, The Inventing Life

One of the many rewards of an entrepreneurial venture is that it's a new beginning, and regardless of the challenges to be faced from idea-to-launch, every task completed represents one step closer to success. At the same time, as we travel into unknown territory, and reach beyond our comfort zones, we may experience emotional swings that can fluctuate from terror to paranoia, from apprehension to elation – occasionally all in the same day.

This article was inspired by an innovator who is about to launch a business around a new product and who asked, "Where is your chapter for the scared s**tless entrepreneur?" Fascinated by her question and wanting to respond, I called a number of start-ups. Each was asked about what triggered their "scared s**tless" moments, how these were resolved, and what tips they would pass along to other entrepreneurs. Following are the top five. 

1.   Remember the mission. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, just stop and reflect on why you started your project in the first place. You believe in the idea and all the people who will benefit by your success. This is not about you; it's about the project. If this was supposed to be easy, it would already have been done. Keep going; this is your mission.

2.   Avoid the naysayers. You will meet individuals who'll say you're wasting your time, that no one will buy it, and you'll hear other critiques that can lack substance. For an entrepreneur facing huge challenges, there can be moments of doubt and insecurity, but you're not alone in this. When engaging others, seek out smart people who are objective. Do your homework and be prepared to back up your claims and you'll be on a good track.

3.   Trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, it is; and if it doesn't feel right, it isn't. If you have a good concept, everyone will want to tag along. There are sharks out there who'll promise the world and tell you what you want to hear. Pay for performance not promises. Trust should be earned and not guaranteed to those who become part of your venture. If you experience discomfort with a situation, a partner, investors, pay attention... as this is probably a warning sign that something needs to change. 

4.   Take charge. You have been blessed with this venture and have accepted the challenge to make your innovative product or service all that it can be. While you want to surround yourself with good team members for their expertise, support and perspective, you can't abdicate responsibility. Ultimately, you are responsible and accountable for your own success.  

5.   Pay attention to details. One good way to overcome fear is to concentrate each day on fighting the battles that are within your control. Actually, a little fear of being close to the edge has a way of keeping us on our toes and zeroed in on the need to make informed choices and in a timely fashion. As the saying goes, we're never more alive than when we face the precipice.

If all else fails, stop everything, turn on your favorite music and listen, or go outside and take a walk. It will clear your head, help you refocus and regain perspective. You'll feel better… I promise.

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

Read Part 4

© 2012, Elizabeth Pierotti, The Inventing Life

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