OstrichAs small business owners we need to believe in ourselves. Not only that, we need to believe in our products and services enough to make others believe in them too. Without a doubt we need to be completely committed to growing our businesses, but we also need to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge reality.

This can be really, really hard – especially for the solo business owner.

We need to make sure that we don’t believe our own BS.

We need to make sure that we are not playing ostrich with our head in the sand and ignoring tough realities like cash flow issues, economic realities, competition, having a great service that is targeting the wrong type of client, partnering with the wrong company, etc.

I am a huge proponent of surrounding yourself with people who will support you, however, you also need to reach out to people who will tell you the truth. When you know and acknowledge a challenging situation, you can manage against it. Things move too fast these days. Ignorance may be bliss but only for the very short term.

And it is incredibly helpful to solicit advice from professionals outside your immediate circle. Why? Confirmation bias. As humans, we tend to surround ourselves with people who think like we do. Our egos like to be propped up, having our opinions and beliefs confirmed. It’s a scary world out there!

Even as (or maybe especially as) a small business owner, you would do well to have advisors who come from different industries or types of businesses. You also should reach out to other small business owners who do not follow the same experts you do. Even though what you hear could be painful, it’s much less painful than having to shut down your business because you were blind to a threat.

Confirmation bias can give you the warm fuzzies and get you out of bed in the morning, but make sure you also get some outside opinions. The big companies do it – and you should too.