From the May 2007 issue of Startups

Often when we begin to pursue our ideas, misgivings about our business concept, pricing strategy and abilities surface. Doubt is a powerful force that can easily squelch our dreams. When it enters our minds, we may lose our confidence and stop moving forward.

For years, Marni longed to turn her catering business into a full-time restaurant. Her customers raved about her food, but she was ambivalent because of past problems with catering employees. She doubted she could find the right people to help her manage her business.

Because Marni's passion was stronger than her doubt, she got inventive. She established relationships with people who loved food. By registering for a cooking class at a local college, talking to wait staff at restaurants and visiting gourmet shops, she found great employees.

Marni changed her biggest reservation into a strength. Instead of being overcome by doubt, she embraced it as a tool to help her identify where she needed to innovate.

1. Recognize that doubt drives innovation. Successful people view uncertainty as a tool to propel them forward rather than as a roadblock that holds them back. There's no magical method to remove doubt from your psyche. Rather than beating yourself up when reservations develop, use the doubter inside you as a resource to discover effective ways to solve your business dilemmas.

2. Doubt the problem, not your abilities. Unexpected circumstances affect even the most comprehensive business strategies. Don't let these issues make you doubt yourself. Rather than becoming exasperated when challenges occur, look at them as new opportunities. Keep your focus on the issue, not your skill set. This positive frame of mind enables you to identify your next course of action and work through any accompanying doubt.

3. Focus on facts, not fear. Kick-start your courage by looking at any uncertainty from every possible angle. Listen to your subconscious, and list all the reasons for your hesitation. Find avant-garde remedies by giving yourself permission to work with these doubts. Obtain new strategies by reviewing actions other people have taken to overcome similar circumstances. Use all the resources available to you: Conduct research on search engines, go on a fact-finding mission at your local library, and contact trusted colleagues.

4. Don't wait for doubt to disappear. Every challenge has an associated solution if you're willing to create it. Rather than becoming stagnant, engage your entrepreneurial spirit by digging in and keeping a positive attitude. Focus on completing the tasks ahead of you and the next possible actions you can take. Make a decision and move forward. An accomplishment, no matter how small, increases your bravery and grounds your efforts.

5. Deepen your conviction to succeed. Don't give in. Concentrate on finding solutions rather than letting doubt encroach on your spirit. Being steadfast in self-respect deepens your resolve. In turn, your willingness to meet challenges head-on will impress your customers.

You're bound to encounter doubts, but breaking through them can be exhilarating. The energy and self-confidence that's released when you overcome doubt makes growing your business a fun experience in which anything you want to achieve is possible.

Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is author of Kick Start Your Success and Kick Start Your Dream Business.