You need to focus on authenticity for competitive advantage

I'm a huge advocate of authenticity in business. It’s a real advantage that I feel many businesses (specifically SME’s and startups) are missing out on when they misguidedly look to emulate faceless corporate businesses.

Whilst my ‘journey’ is far from complete, I can safely say I always intend for my business (Team 144) to reflect my passion and ethos. Even within my young business, I am adamant about working, speaking and carrying myself as me.

I don’t expect to be everyone’s cup of tea. For the vast majority of the time, I’m fine with that. I can only authentically be me and whilst we all have faults (yep – even me), we also all have strengths. 

I’m very grateful to be working with some great businesses with their own distinct ‘personalities’, it helps keep my work engaging and exciting. With them, authenticity has become a new filter for how we discuss activities or campaigns. “Does this feel or sound like us? Does it reflect our principles?” If not, it’s not happening.

So when you think of the business you run or work for and how you act during work, are you having to compromise? Does the business have personality? Are you leveraging your uniqueness?

I spoke recently at a business networking event (Link4Business / Link4Growth) on Social media and authenticity. (Side note: L4G have a great, positive ethos – I encourage everyone to check out what they are doing for local communities.)

Social media is a great introduction to utilising authenticity and personality within business, especially for smaller companies. 

 

Here are a couple of the points I wanted to share:

-         Communicate instead of broadcasting or constantly promoting (it’s needy)

-          Don’t over automate or excessively use tools (we want to feel like we are connecting with other humans NOT a programmed algorithm)

-          Have a positive mindset and don’t take the fear ridden scarcity path! There is, and should be, plenty of business out there. Pay it forward, take a chance, help others as opposed to constantly looking to snatch and take.

 

I often liken ‘social media’, and all facets of our web presence, to an iceberg.

As business owners, we typically only see the tip of the iceberg when others connect or communicate with us but we rarely see the majority (under the water) where people come across our website, our social profiles, our blog posts and choose not to interact further. (Yes, I know we can mine data on the ‘under the water’ elements but you get the drift for the analogy). 

To me, it’s vitally important that you are comfortable, happy and even proud of your engagement and presence online. If not, something isn’t right and you’re missing a trick. Surely you check out companies and people online regularly too? And you make snap judgements on their personality, business style and whether you’d want to ever meet them or engage their business? Of course you do. You’re human!

So, before you post the 23rd consecutive tweet on ‘why you’re amazing and why people MUST take advantage of your latest offer’ – take a breath and step back. To the rest of us reading your profile or timeline, it screams one thing: ME, ME, ME and then more ME! The same applies to negativity and criticism.

Instead of your latest piece of self-promotion, where is the content relevant to your target market? Where is the help and advice? Where is the recognition of someone else doing great things? 

If you’ve ever worked for, or with, a company or person and didn’t like an attitude or ethos, here is your chance to do it better (or smarter, or kinder) - the opportunity to move forward positively.

Life is short, and the desire that people have to work with good people (who they feel inspired by or connected with) is stronger than ever.

You do need to be good at what you do but if you choose to be great at something whilst wearing a bow tie or sporting a ZZ top beard or proudly admitting you’re a massive Twilight or Coldplay fan, that is completely fine. It may not be my wheelhouse but so what!? 

Be you, work hard, own YOUR voice and follow a simple rule, ‘Just don’t be a ****!’

It makes the world a far cooler place.

Now…. if you enjoyed this, please do me a favour… like it, share it, comment on it, print it out and give as a present to your colleagues – sorry, I went too far again. You get the gist though…

See you next time…


About me:

I'm Pete Grosse, I run Team 144, which is a small business and startup consultancy.
We are passionate about harnessing creativity to generate positive (and authentic) business growth. We help businesses improve their reach, retention and revenue.

If you want to find more prospects, retain happy clients and grow your business authentically, I can probably help. Contact me via my website (team144.co.uk), via twitter (@petegrosse) or on LinkedIn (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/petergrosse).