Traditional business wisdom has nurtured several myths, which solo business owners need to challenge in order to flourish. Rather than try to be all things to all people, soloists need to emphasise their best business asset, being a unique business.
Here are three examples of myths soloists need to bust:
Myth 1: Appeal to as many people and demographic sectors as you possibly can. The bigger your market, the more money you can make.
Only shallow, single-dimensional types can be ‘best friends’ with absolutely everyone. And we all know how deep such friendships truly are!
To act with integrity requires that you be yourself. To be yourself means you accept that not everyone will like you or agree with your views. But you do end up working with people you actually like! Isn’t life just better (and easier) that way?
Myth 2: Don’t say things with too much passion or emotion just in case you offend someone. Don’t rock the boat. Keep your voice down. They are just customers, they don’t want to know about your passions or what you care about.
Trying to please everyone means you end up pleasing no one. Not even yourself.
We believe that people are desperately seeking to connect with businesses that feel real, businesses that offer a genuine human touch. Customers, being people, want to know what you stand for and why you do what you do. And yes, sometimes it is good to stir things up a bit.
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Myth 3: It’s all about costs and returns. If something does not make money, stop doing it. If someone is not interested in buying, don’t waste your time on him or her.
People who take this attitude to their interpersonal relationships are called users. Hands up those of us who actually crave the company of a user?
Spend quality time with people you like, who share the same passions, regardless of whether it will end up in a sale or not. Business need not be a mad mercenary dash to fulfill sales targets. The journey of meeting and engaging with people is much more enriching and rewarding.
As a soloist, you have the luxury of being totally yourself. Your individuality is absolutely what will help your business stake out a unique position in the market. Your clients will always end up working with you anyway, so why bother creating another, usually blander, ‘brand personality’ for your business?
You can never, ever be EVERYONE’s best mate. Stop trying to appeal to everyone because it is simply not possible. Let the true individuality of your unique business shine through in everything you do. Bland is already being done to death.
Article authored in conjunction with Zern Liew.