Striking out on your own is a terrifying prospect. Despite your brave face, your hands were shaking when you first left your parent’s house to head to college. After you graduated, the joy of holding your degree scroll was overpowered by the quivering thought that you were now being flung into the “real world”.

And now, a few years into your career, you’ve decided to take the biggest leap into independence that you can – you’re establishing your own startup business.

You’ve never run your own company before and, despite your bank manager shaking your hand and allowing you a business loan, one thought won’t leave your mind – what if you’re a fake?

Confidence in your business acumen can be difficult to come by, especially if you haven’t had it instilled in you from a young age. But here’s a little fact that’ll lighten your spirits – even the most successful entrepreneurs are stumbling in the dark.

Richard Branson has his finger in hundreds of pies, so to speak, but he doesn’t understand all the ins and outs of the healthcare or digital world. Similarly, Alan Sugar is no computer whizz kid, but his company thrived selling Amstrad computers a few decades ago.

All this should put you in good spirits. These people didn’t make their mark through their exemplary intelligence, but through prudence and determination.

With this in mind, we’ve come up with a few confidence-building tips that’ll help you get your startup off to a flying start.

Get the right education

“We don’t need no education,” bellowed Pink Floyd, the members of which were all educated to a university level. And in many business circles, this philistine’s sentiment is quite popular.

But they couldn’t be more wrong. Having a solid foundation of knowledge at your fingertips is vital to the operation of business, and can turn that haphazard instinct you’ve got into the professional judgement of a tycoon billionaire.

The rise of the distance learning Masters degree means you can gain experience while you work, increasing your knowledge while you run your burgeoning empire. So take a look at the degree that distance learning providers can give you.

Industry knowledge is basic to your success as a entrepreneur. You can’t go into business with no idea about how your industry works or what makes the biggest competitors successful. Basic knowledge can help you make informed decisions.

Make the right connections

LinkedIn has become a melting pot of successful professionals, and every one of these people has their own unique story to tell. Connect with people you admire on LinkedIn and get in touch with them. They’ll be more than happy to share their knowledge with a greenhorn.

Your contacts can have a huge influence on your success. Make and keep the right people. They can recommend or guide you to make the right decision about growth. And most importantly they could connect you to prospective customers.

Don’t run before you can walk

Growth is a work in progress. It takes times and small steps. The temptation to expand rapidly can be incredibly tempting, but it’s also incredibly ill-advised if you’re on a straitened budget. Evaluate your options thoroughly, preferably with a financial advisor, before you make any risky decisions.

Get a better foundation before you invest resources into your business. Don’t aim to make big wins. Small gains over time will inform how to move into different markets and what products to focus on.