Remi, my slight between the ears canine mutt, is fantastic at fostering pleasure. I have a friend like that too. They use similar techniques. I’ve been thinking about how this relates to small business success.
Remi is SO appreciative – and expressive – about the littlest things. She’s also quick to use her charm and entertainment chops when she thinks she’s found a mark. Anyone who gives her a rub, a treat or even notice, is her new best buddy. She’s always looking for a guide to lead and provide approval. Just about everyone enjoys being around Remi. She’s polite, extremely attentive and good for the soul.
What she’s not is independent, nor brave, nor comfortable without another around to please. Remi is needy. Fulfillment comes for her from delighting those she encounters – and being told or shown she did so.
Remi wriggles and wags her way through life. She barks when she’s afraid. Never bites.
Waggers and wigglers can be great at sales
Body language and words that exude appreciation is priceless – both in canines and people. Remi can’t stop expressing her joy as she wiggles and wags in pure delight from acknowledgement. Those she touches (or more dramatically, those who touch her) can’t help but feel warm about how much she treasures them.
I’ve known small business owners (including clients) who have a similar nature. They’re wonderful people to be around. I always leave a meeting feeling more important, appreciated and heard. It’s a wonderful high that lasts the rest of the day and beyond. These individuals are fantastic sellers. Face-to-face, they can convert the most skeptical prospect into a client.
Sadly, few succeed as business owners because they either fail to effectively delegate organizational, strategic, marketing, administrative and financial business demands (areas where they tend to be extremely weak) or chase (their tails) pursing every new shiny object. Most small business owners can’t afford to squander limited time and financial resources.
If you’re a joy driver, know you can be very successful as a small business owner. Recognize your strengths (generally sales, client communications, customer service, networking – very important skills tough to find in a hire) and learn to delegate the rest to smart, trustworthy and competent people who can keep you and your company on course despite your flighty tendencies. Hire or cajole someone you know and trust to manage your team (you can’t – seriously).
Nurture your nature for small business success
Effective small business owners don’t need to be gregarious. Look at some of the most successful entrepreneurial ventures over the past couple of decades and you’ll find a team with one partner serving as a front man and the other implementing strategy. If you’re not a people person, get someone else on your team who is. There’s no shame in letting a better communicator take the lead – or credit – for solutions you produce.
Gatsby (RIP), my intended companion mutt, proved destructive and difficult until I gave him a job (actually, he assumed one with no guidance from me) that tapped his talents. Pet wasn’t his calling – being the best assistant horse trainer ever was.
He was cheap labor (sort of – ate more than a horse plus vet bills were high for this fearless, trouble magnet) and a whole lot more intuitive and helpful than the people I employed when I didn’t have him on my team.
People either loved or hated Gatsby. He was black and white both literally and figuratively. If he found a request interesting, he was all in. Obedient wasn’t a state that suited him. I was, however, continually amazed at how easily and happily he came up with ideas to help young horses get comfortable about training requests.
Gatsby was about results, and the satisfaction of a job well done. He didn’t care much about what people (or dogs) thought of him. He dismissed typical pet tricks as silly. Gatsby loved life on his terms.
The most successful small business owners I know are quick to know their weaknesses and hire people better skilled to shore them up. They’re not afraid to drive forward with vigor with what they know, regardless of what others might think or say. They’re humble yet confident.
If your nature is visionary but not necessarily social (some are fortunate to have both skills), don’t despair. Being able to see what’s needed and provide it is huge when it comes to entrepreneurial success – provided you focus on your strengths and get people in place to cover your weaknesses.
Enjoy strengths, entrust weaknesses
Gatsby was challenging where Remi was easy, but so much more valuable as a leader than I could have imagined.
This pair convinced me conditioning can’t trump genetics. Gatsby and I spent hundreds of hours immersed in obedience school and associated training. He was the class clown, always serving as an instructor illustration for “don’ts”. Remi had no schooling, yet wows everyone with her compliance.
I think this holds true with people too – certainly when it comes to small business success.
So much is being put out there about training yourself to be a different person. If you’re wolfing down fried food after your third heart attack, there’s merit in such a strategy. If entrepreneurial grandness is your goal, reconsider.
It’s unlikely you’ll transform your nature, nor small business success – and still be happy – with schooling or discipline routines designed to change you. Better to know who you are, embrace and pursue your talents, then figure out a smart plan to get others to help save your business from your shortcomings. You’ll find work a lot more fun this way – both in the hours you spend doing what you do well and the extra money that comes from having the right people contributing in ways that tap their best talents.