"Be yourself when you’re marketing because the alternative is just too expensive.” I say that a lot. And these days I have good reason. The always-connected social media environment has made privacy a thing of the past. And if you think that you can hand your customers or your industry some story about who you are as a business owner and how your company is out in the world without someone finding out differently -- you are sadly mistaken.
It’s interesting to see big business and high-level executives mourning the loss of top-down, command-and-control communication. When you think about it, there is a tremendous amount of time, energy, money, and effort that goes into pretending that things are one way, when they are actually completely different. Just look at poor Tony Hayward during the BP disaster!
Being human and authentic has proven to be an insanely effective strategy for building a successful business.
No one says it better than Jeanne Bliss, author of the best-selling business book I Love You More Than My Dog. In the book she explains that the businesses that are most profitable have insanely loyal customers. And when she dug deeper she found that these beloved companies made five critical decisions that you can call “strategic,” but that are actually a reflection of the business owner’s authentic self.
Is There a Connection Between Authenticity and Happiness?
Psychologists have debated the existence of a connection between authenticity and happiness for years. And in 2008, a study came out that confirmed that the more that a person acted “authentically,” the happier they were. In other words, the more true you are to your personality, the happier you will be.
When you have such clichés as “It’s not supposed to be fun, that’s why they call it work!” as common parlance, is it any wonder that business owners are expected to be “serious” and focus on the bottom line? Of course not! And even as we look enviously at companies like Southwest Airlines, Zappos.com, and Google that seem to be having so much FUN at work, we continue to squelch our authenticity because we’d rather buy into the belief that who we are as business owners isn’t enough.
A Challenge to 28 Million Small Businesses -- Be Yourself, Be Happy, Be Successful
If you woke up this morning and had even the slightest dread about going into work and doing what you created this business of yours to do, I’m challenging YOU to decide to be authentic. Structure your business in a way that is 100 percent in line with who you are as a person, your values, your beliefs, and those little things that light you up and make you the lovable amazing person that you are.
I can’t believe that I’m calling this a challenge! It’s the most fearless fun you’re going to have. And I promise you that taking this challenge on for 2011 will not only make you happier, it will effortlessly set you apart from your competition. Taking on this challenge will attract your favorite people as customers. Taking on this challenge will make your marketing so easy, so inexpensive, so effortless, and so refreshing that you’re going to kick yourself all the way to the bank.
Tell Everyone What You’re Up to And Support Will Follow
If you read the challenge with a simultaneous sense of excitement and dread -- then congratulations, you’re 100 percent normal. This means that you are not alone in the quest for creating a business that is investing all of its energy into providing value to its customers instead of throwing money at some story that you think everyone wants to hear.
Share this challenge with your staff, with your employees, and with your customers. Resources will come out of the woodwork to greet you and help you. You will find small business communities all around you that will happily provide resources and assistance in your journey.
Can you just imagine what our economy would do if 28 million small business owners decided to simply set themselves free and use the power of their authenticity to drive their marketing and business decisions? Are you in?