by guest author cassie lee
Being authentic in business has been discussed to death in the world of small businesses. Most agree that to be authentic is to Be Yourself. Be real. Be original. Be honest. You are the reason your small business exists. Your customers buy from you not only for your awesome products and services but they also buy into your story, your passion, your enthusiasm and your brand. We want to make sure that they will continue buying from us for as long as our business exists, right?
Time to take a reality check and see if you can spot these 5 warning signs that threaten your authenticity in business before it is too late.
1. When you wake up one morning with an accent that is not your own
Your online voice is carried throughout your entire business. It can be ‘heard’ via your blog, your social media updates, your e-mail, your newsletters, your promotional materials and everything that is related to what you do for your business. Is the tone of your voice consistent? Or do you sound like a German in one and an Egyptian in the other?
Get a trusted friend or someone who knows you in person to read your content. Ask them if it sounds like you in real life. Adjust where necessary.
2. When you are trying too hard to suppress your addiction for So You Think You Can Dance
Most customers support small business owners because they feel connected with the person behind the scenes. They follow you on social media not only to be updated on your latest offerings but also to chat about your favourite dessert, give opinion on whether pink shoes will go with the green dress and whom the judges should have eliminated in the last round of So You Think You Can Dance. Don’t be afraid of letting some of your personality seep into your business. It makes it all more real and customers love that.
It may seem a little vulnerable at first to let your customers peek into your personal life. As long as you are not revealing confidential or intimate details, it is ok to let your hair down and show the fun side of you.
3. When you promote yourself as the most perfect creature ever existed
Yeah right, and I was born yesterday. We know that humans are not perfect. Even when a lot of effort is put in to make sure that everything runs smoothly, sometimes shit happens. It’s ok. Be honest, admit it and make things right again. Please don’t insult the intelligence of your customers by pretending it never happened or worse, lie about it. Strive for honesty and for integrity. You will build a stronger relationship with your current audience and possibly gain new fans as well.
Are you trying too hard not to make mistakes that you forget your values and reasons for being in business? Don’t waste time aiming for perfection. Aim for being the best version of you instead.
4. When you are exhausted from trying to keep up with the Dawsons, the Duffield-Thomases or the Guntons
It is hard work being a stalker. Not only do you take copious amounts of notes about the stalkee’s (i.e the person whom you are stalking, of course) mannerisms right down to her favourite nail polish, the saddest part is when you think that by behaving like her you will immediately be propelled to stardom. Sorry babe, no one likes a copycat. It is better to be boring old you than to be Miss Artificial Alice.
Are you following someone too closely? It is one thing to be inspired by that person’s work and another to book in an appointment for plastic surgery. Do you feel that your online image is the true representation of who you are in real life? Ask for honest feedback from a close business confidante.
5. When you realize that you are not in love with your business
It is hard to be authentic when you are not head over heels in love with what you do. How can you sell bacon when you are a vegetarian? Or how can you offer bookkeeping services when the thought of numbers sends your blood pressure through the roof? If you want to be in business, start with an idea that does not go against your values and will make your heart go bah duh boom! Your passion will translate into authenticity in business. Customers can tell when the person running the show is doing it for love or for money.
Can you spend all day talking about your products or services without staring into space? If you are able to get your audience to feel the same enthusiasm about what you do, you have struck gold.
Let’s hear from you :
Are you being your real self when it comes to running your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Cassie Lee helps entrepreneurs to confront their inner critic and boldly pursue what they truly desire in life and business.Grab a copy of her free Ebook “You are What You Think” (link to http://www.cassiejene.com/free-ebook-you-are-what-you-think/) as the first step towards developing your ideal mindset for some serious goals chasing.