A man leans out of the front of a food stand to hand a bowl of food to a customer while speaking to another customer. The food stand worker wears a denim apron and a straw hat; he is older with a white beard. Behind him in the food stand are a glass-fronted refrigerator and shelves holding various cans; a disco ball and a string of small round lightbulbs hang from the ceiling. Outside of the food stand, a hand reaches from off-screen to take the offered bowl of food. A man in an orange shirt faces away from the camera and talks to the food stand owner. He is holding a bowl of food with one hand and holding his smartphone up to a digital point-of-sale device with the other hand.
Your business's first and biggest fan should be you. In the face of obstacles and setbacks, believing in yourself and your success is a powerful tool. — Getty Images/Maskot

As a business owner, you must bet on yourself every day. Doing so builds self-confidence and inspires you to rise above your challenges and competitors to reach the finish line — or, in your business’s case, your benchmarks and goals. Here are 10 ways to bet on yourself and your business.

Trust your instincts

Your gut can be a great indicator of both trouble and opportunity. If you feel a gut instinct about a particular path you’re considering, trust that feeling and factor it into your overall decision. While you don’t want to make a rash choice based purely on intuition, you can use it to guide you through your entrepreneurial journey. If something feels off, it probably is.

[Read more: ​​Is Your Gut Instinct Always Right? How to Check Yourself]

Follow your passions

You can’t go wrong by doing something you love. If you’re passionate about a specific business idea, you will naturally be self-motivated and determined to succeed. Follow what excites you, as this is usually your “calling.”

Address your self-doubt

Everyone experiences self-doubt to some degree, and a healthy dose of doubt can ensure you’re making the right decisions and aren’t going into a business blind. However, too much of it can dissuade you from taking risks and aiming high. Address your self-doubt by focusing on your strengths, achievements, and passions rather than dwelling on your shortcomings or weaknesses (which we all have).

Define what ‘success’ means to you

When you visualize success, what does it look like to you? Perhaps it’s financial freedom, a flexible schedule, or maybe even fame. Use this vision to define your goals and create a realistic plan to achieve them. Success might look different to you than it does to someone else, and that’s okay. Focus on your journey and objectives, not what others expect of you.

You can’t go wrong by doing something you love.

Become your own No. 1 fan

In business, you must be your own cheerleader. No one else will be sitting up with you during late nights as you launch your business. You will be the one working long hours and sacrificing free time to pursue your dreams. You must believe in yourself first and be able to silence any voices of doubt — including your own.

Value your time and protect your energy

Your time is precious — especially as a business owner. If opportunities aren’t in alignment with your business or journey, practice saying no. Protect your energy by focusing only on people and situations that serve you and your company.

Additionally, taking downtime is just as important as hustling. Schedule breaks into your day, and allow yourself time to recharge without being on the clock 24/7.

[Read more: 5 Daily Habits Smart Entrepreneurs Will Adopt in 2023]

Prepare for hiccups

Along your entrepreneurial journey, you will encounter roadblocks and setbacks. The more prepared you are, the better you will handle challenges. For instance, if you experience a slow month of sales, you might have to dip into a savings account you’ve set aside for that reason. Being prepared can save you from going into debt or hurting your business credit score.

However, don’t get lost in “what ifs.” Prepare for potential hiccups, but continue moving forward with a positive outlook.

Cultivate a brand you’re proud of owning

Your brand will serve as your business’s reputation or “personality.” Explore how you’d like your customers to perceive you, then cultivate a brand to encompass it. For instance, if you own a clothing store that prides itself on its inclusivity, ensure your brand offers clothing that caters to people of various sizes. Or, if you’re a vegan restaurant, ensure you offer only vegan products and uphold the values of that community.

Embrace failure as part of your journey

Failure — in some capacity — is inevitable in business. What matters is how you view and recover from your mistakes or shortcomings. Don’t dwell on the failure; rather, use it to learn and grow in a direction that is more in alignment with where you want to be.

[Read more: 7 Simple Ways to Get Past Your Fear of Failure]

Be your most important commitment

As a business owner, you are your most valuable asset. Commit to your own needs above all else. Otherwise, you will be pouring from an empty cup. Choose yourself every single day, and you will be able to invest your best into your business, its customers, and its employees.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Applications are open for the CO—100! Now is your chance to join an exclusive group of outstanding small businesses. Share your story with us — apply today.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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