Be authentic in business to stand out from the rest.
Business authenticity is something that can be admired. Vulnerability. Imperfection. It allows us all to be who we are and not what others think. The result? You will have a more fulfilling and pleasant work experience.
If we had not all been able to Zoom one another out of our closets with children and pets, I wonder if this would have been the post I wrote. Yet, it’s not hard to see that Covid-19 has profoundly impacted our work lives. Now we can see that being human isn’t as bad as it gets for business.
I am working to become more “myself” within my business, and I wanted to share some tips I’ve learned.
1.Do not try to separate pleasure and business.
Any client who knows me sees me as a get-‘er-done kind of gal. I’m organized and analytical. You can also find me after work reading books about spirituality and learning how to read tarot cards. To share something with you, I sweat just typing that.
It may help you to understand me better than I do. Perhaps you were interested in some of my same interests, in which case we have some things to discuss.
We have built many barriers between the things we represent in our businesses and the things we show to our family and friends. While I am unsure how or where this came about, I can see the benefit of blurring these lines (within reason). Sometimes you might find that you share some things with clients who you didn’t know before. You might be surprised at how your passion for pickleball can convince a new client to join you.
2. Give up on perfection
You can raise your hand if your business has never been a success.
Are you one of them?
Our mistakes are part of being human. Clients won’t expect you to be perfect. They expect you to do the best possible job and that you fix any errors.
Perfectionists are putting undue pressure on themselves and setting unrealistic expectations for others. Let it go. You can be okay with being good enough. Everyone else is.
3. Your story will help you be more authentic in your business.
You may have heard that storytelling is what brings people to your business. But maybe you are editing the stories you share or bringing out their personalities. Making yourself look good. These aren’t true stories. They are carefully planned lies.
People want you to be authentic. They want to know you were honest and that you made it through the difficult times. They want to see themself in you. It means being vulnerable.
Think about the stories that resonate for you when you are interacting with brands. Do you prefer the polished ones or the ones with imperfections? Which of these stories do you see yourself in? These are the stories that you should tell in your own company.
But you don’t only have to tell your story! Your customers have accounts, as do your employees. You can weave these stories into the story of your brand.
Being vulnerable takes practice.
You may have had a closed-off career that has made it challenging to shift to a more open mindset. You might start by talking with clients for five minutes about your newborn’s sleepless nights or your recent win with the bowling league. Each client relationship should be built until you have a group of people interested in more than your product or service.
This is what we did, and it turned out that my client loved Nancy Drew’s books just as much as I. I sent her the books after I discovered some old books in a box. It was a simple effort that I didn’t expect to get anything in return. It was something that I did because it was natural and normal. Try to treat your clients as if they were a friend. See what happens.
It is possible to make a business authentic, even though there isn’t a direct ROI. These relationships are nurtured, and people won’t look elsewhere for services. They tell others how cool you’re, and they make people want to do business.
The best part? You don’t have to spent a dime to be authentic in your business. It is, in some ways, the best marketing strategy.