You Are The Business

If you are the owner of a small business you know that you ARE the business.

I’m not talking about wearing many hats, but the fact that your mere presence instills confidence in your customers.

This is not only true for small businesses, but also for larger organizations such as Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, or Zappos – where culture is king.

We consider those that led these companies to the top of their game to be synonymous with them. Why? Because they gave or give us confidence.

Confidence Sustains a Business

The wild fluctuations on Wall Street are the result of a lack of consumer confidence. What erodes confidence?

It’s not necessarily bad news. The reason markets wildly fluctuate is often due to incomplete information.

In the fragile global economy we are now experiencing, it only takes a sliver of negative information to send stocks plummeting.

Transparency often reveals additional information that sustains the market during questionable times. The same is true for your business.

Don’t Confuse Authenticity with Transparency

This past week I’ve participated in a number of conversations on the social networks pertaining to authenticity.  It’s one of those leadership qualities that is much like charisma – hard to define, but you know and admire it when you see it.

The most common definition of authenticity is transparently being the same person in all circumstances – both personal and professional.

Authenticity is a valuable quality that helps others to know, like, and trust you – except when there are doubts about the future, and there always seem to be a few of those.

Don’t confuse authenticity with transparency.  

Transparency is usually temporary.  Whereas, authenticity tends to be an enduring and sustainable quality.

Everyone wants to have confidence in the future. The only way to deliver on that is to be looking well into the future. When you do that, you can effectively communicate confidence to your customers.

Leaders Anticipate and Act

True business leaders anticipate the market. They look down the road and have the courage to act on their instincts, which of course are grounded in the wisdom of experience.

That gives everyone confidence.

When you ARE the business, you have to exude confidence. That’s not going to happen if you are just keeping pace with everyone else.

You have to make strong moves.

You also have to be vulnerable.

Sometimes being authentic means being willing to be wrong to be right.

Being wrong to be right is to acknowledge that markets don’t always know what they want because they do not know what you are capable of giving them.

To paraphrase Thoreau,

“When you advance confidently and endeavor to achieve what only you have imagined, you will meet with unexpected success.”

When you can do that, you ARE the business.

Are you?

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Until tomorrow,  Jeff