07/16/2012 05:33 pm ET Updated Sep 15, 2012

Small Business Advice: How to Eliminate Self-Doubt in Business

"The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can't are both right."

Henry Ford, an American industrialist and the founder of the Ford Motor Company, was accurate in this assessment. In fact, the way you think, how you use your mind to consider or reason about something, will impact every single thing in your life -- including business.

One of the largest hurdles that most entrepreneurs have to overcome starts within the mind.

Eliminating unproductive thinking and "self-doubt hurdles" in business starts with personal development. Simple activities can improve your awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, and build up your human capital. And an essential area of personal development is focused on how we "think."

What's Eating Away Your Profit and Potential?

"The average number of thoughts that humans are believed to experience each day is 70,000." Our mind can be likened to an orchestra director -- conducting thousands of thoughts ... striving for unity, setting the tempo and shaping the sound of our lives.

I'm not clairvoyant, but I'd wager that not all of your thoughts make a masterpiece and most are not to your benefit. But, what makes matters more interesting, is given that our thoughts are directly related to our self-talk (what we say to ourselves) we have quite a daily task ahead of us to filter out the essential and non-essential and run a business of perfect harmony.

Consequently if you're thought patterns are negative your "self-talk" will follow suit and it will ultimately establish self-doubt -- a lack of faith or confidence in who you are and what you can do. Self-doubt is a liability -- one so expensive that it can literally eat away at your profits and potential.

How to Eliminate Self-Doubt in Business

If you doubt yourself as an entrepreneur you've already lost before the game has begun. If you're not musically inclined, think of your favorite athletes. Most will attest to the importance of "what they think" before they step onto a court or a field.

It may even be wise to think like an athlete. "Think about this: Every time an athlete fumbles, his or her mind is focusing on winning. When an athlete gets in a zone and thinks about the present, all goes swimmingly," according to Todd Herman, founder of The Peak Athlete."

Ultimately, the battle starts in the mind. And as a successful entrepreneur you're actively involved in a high-risk environment -- a potential breeding ground of doubtful thoughts. In this environment, it's not uncommon to experience a random bout of self-doubt. But if you're not careful, continual self-doubt over time can negatively impact your leadership, performance and company.

So, instead of doubting yourself, work on creating business harmony by doing four simple things:

1. Act now and execute often.

Instead of playing mental ping-pong when it comes to making a decision, simply develop the best case scenario and the worst case scenario. Mitigate small business risk and take small daily steps towards your goals.

2. Change your inputs.

Your brain is an information processing system (like a computer) that receives data and outputs data. If you don't like what you've been outputting lately - try changing the input. Start reading more business books, or listening to audiobooks, to gain insight on areas that you struggle with in business.

3. Change your associations.

If someone in your life is contributing to your negative self-talk, change your "scenery." Connect with local entrepreneurs in your city by attending meetups, frequenting coffee shops "entrepreneurial havens," and joining local business organizations.

In this time, you can start seeking out friendships and mentorship connections as well. In the idea and seed phases of business development you'll already have quite a bit to overcome, you don't need "anything or anyone" working against you.

4. Change your self-talk.

Look forward. Redefine your perspective. "Sports psychologists have long recognized the importance of positive self-talk in helping athletes achieve their potential. Everyone who plays or has played a competitive sport or who competes at major levels will face adversity and obstacles to success."

For example, positive self-talk is extremely important for athletes. "Self-talk impacts performance by directly affecting attitude, which then directly affects behavior," according to performance consultant Aaron Weintraub.

"Behavior is what the athlete can control," says Weintraub. "Therefore, behavior defines a
champion. The gap between good and great is wide; to make that leap, an athlete must do
what is difficult. He must learn to have effective patterns of self-talk."

Will these tips guarantee your success in business? No. But they can put you leagues ahead of most entrepreneurs as you grow a sustainable and profitable company. Conquering self-doubt is essential to growth and startup "happiness." And it starts with you.