Entrepreneurs pride themselves on developing business ideas that will not only disrupt their industries, but also fuel new ones. They know their ideas will drive revenue, create jobs and finance every other great idea they dream up.
What they don’t know is that their confidence can also prevent their million-dollar ideas from making a single buck.
No matter how great you feel about an idea, it’s important to set yourself up for success and sidestep the land mines that can prevent that idea from ever taking off. Ironically, one of the biggest barriers to success is success itself. I’ve seen initial success breed pride and relentless egotism.
To avoid sabotaging your million-dollar idea, consider these five ways your ego may be getting in the way:
1. Be secure in the value you bring as a leader
When I became an entrepreneur, I felt I needed to bring the most direct value to the company. It made sense to me that my teammates needed to see how valuable I was – and how worthwhile it was to follow my lead.
Unfortunately, this was an insecurity that prevented me from growing. Leading isn’t about showcasing your value – it’s about putting the right pieces in place and driving the best or most output from the team you’re working with. At this point of my life, what excites me more than anything is when somebody around me accomplishes something that I might not have been able to do or does something better than I can. Getting the right people on your team is, in itself, incredibly valuable. Celebrate it, and don’t let insecurity prevent real business growth.
2. Remain open to learning
As a marketing speaker I consistently stress staying ahead of trends, and I can never know enough. I wasn’t always like this, though. As a younger leader, I felt I needed to be the person who knew the answer to everything.
After a variety of mistakes – due to my false confidence in my knowledge – I strived to never stop learning, asking questions or being open to others’ experiences that contradict my own. Many of the things that can significantly affect your business are the ones that aren’t obvious or are just emerging. Consistently reading, networking with other industry experts and cultivating other sources are extremely valuable ways to stay ahead of the curve for your business.
3. Bring in the right resources
My first business was a student housing company. Rather than hire plumbers, electricians or HVAC people, I was determined to save money and do everything myself. It took a few minor floods to realize it wasn’t a great way to run my business.
As a leader, you have to learn to value your time. There’s only so much room on the calendar to get everything you need done. The time that I spent fixing toilets – doing something I wasn’t good at that actually caused issues – could have been spent looking for deals or finding new renters. It’s important to realize the cost savings of doing something yourself and weighing that against the cost of not getting to do something even more worthwhile for your business.
4. Give people the benefit of the doubt
Ego can sometimes blind you from really seeing people’s intentions, so it’s important to give people the benefit of the doubt. If you don’t, you may find yourself constantly distracted and hurting the relationships that are vital to your business’s growth.
Do your best to stay positive and keep things moving forward. I can promise you this: In growing that successful business, you’ll make a lot of mistakes, and so will the people around you. That’s OK – there’s no forward movement without trying things, some of which will fail, but you have to give people breaks in order to keep growing.
5. Remember that feedback is a gift you can never get enough of
I never liked receiving feedback when I was younger. Like many people, my natural reaction was to feel that I had done something wrong and was being attacked. I eventually realized that people only bother to give feedback to the people they want to see improve. Simply put, the No. 1 way you can become the best version of yourself and grow the best version of your company is through feedback.
Welcome it. People aren’t perfect, but you get a whole lot closer to perfection when you’re open to others’ feedback about what you could do better. When you interact with people who are transparent and authentic, make a habit to ask what you could do better. Rather than wait for people to offer you feedback, ask for it from the people whose opinions matter most to you – that’s how you’ll get the best insights.
Your ego is a powerful thing. In fact, it’s probably what gave you the confidence to pursue entrepreneurship in the first place. But not keeping that ego in check can doom your million-dollar business ideas to failure. Set yourself up for wins by putting your pride on the back burner, and you’ll consistently find yourself greeting the success your ego wanted all along.