You hear it, I hear it, we all hear it…BE YOURSELF! And it’s so true when it comes to business. When I was starting out, I was trying to be something I wasn’t. I thought I knew it all. I thought the world was at my finger-tips, and I was humbled quickly…very quickly.
Now, I’m me. People either like me or they don’t, and that’s fine. Good thing for me is I can connect with most people, so the majority of people like me, and like doing business with me.
The one thing I really want to point out is that you don’t have to be an outgoing, always ‘on’ personality. I’ve seen very successful people who at first I thought were a bit weird, but came to find they’re introverts. That’s who they are. I’ve also seen the opposite side of the coin too.
If you own a business it’s inevitable your business will kind of be like you. It will stand for your values, and your beliefs. You are your business, and your business is you. And that’s okay. It’s when you or your business starts to be something it’s not that you start to lose. There are so many options available to consumers to poke holes in your BS. If you claim to be the world’s best chef, but a quick Google search discovers you’ve only worked at Boston Pizza, well BS meters are going to start going off. Just be yourself, and someone somewhere will have a connection with who you are, and what you stand for.
If you think your boring, then tell people about it. Say, you’re really boring, but damn do you ever make a good pizza or build a great garage. The more genuine, and open you are, the more genuine, and open people will be back to you. I can’t tell you how many strong connections I’ve made by showing people who I truly am. I even let people in to tell them about my childhood, and my biological father who I never, and still don’t know. You won’t find that in a sales or business book anywhere, but it’s who I am, and it’s what allowed me to make the connections I have.
One exception to the rule
If you’re cheap, and you’ve always been cheap, please don’t cut costs to save money for your business. I hate saving money. I’d rather make more money, and reinvest it in things that will make me more money (aka Marketing aka community involvement). The biggest, and easiest way to cut costs is by getting rid of people. It’s lame, it doesn’t do you any good as you have to take on more work, thus pushing down your hourly wage, and so on. I understand there are some times when people need to go, but don’t do it to save money. That should be the last reason to let someone go. If you’re a solopreneur, and you occasionally hire contract workers on the side when times get really busy, then let them know. If you’re busy September – April, then the summer is really slow, ensure you let your workers know that. “Hey, this is only going to be contract work between this time, and this time because it really slows down in the summer.”
Be upfront, and honest with people. It will pay dividends down the road.
Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft