Monday, August 13, 2012

Project Your Personality is Marketing Secret 15/101 from the Serial Entrepreneur

Is Your Personality Getting in the Way of Your Specific Business Success

It is the rare individual who can project to others a perception that is different than who they really are.  Those who do that are either constantly trying to cover the "lie," or are, in fact, seen as fake.  For small businesses, the company is an extension of the owner, and attempting to be something that the owner is not is folly at least, and a disaster waiting to happen at best.

Examples?  If you are wild and crazy, energetic, and outgoing, you will not be able to pull of the perception of a buttoned down, hard headed company.  If you are shy and analytical, you're not going to be able to get the public to believe that your company is a dynamic risk taker with out of the box approaches.  If you are a micro manager, you aren't going to create a company that has employees answering issues and making decisions on the fly. 

What does this mean from a marketing standpoint.  I may or may not be right in what I have come to believe, but IMHO (in my humble opinion) the most important evidence of an individual evidencing maturity is the day that they get who they are, and they are comfortable with that.  So, if you have not passed that hurdle in your life yet, your might work on getting that done.  It will help your company thrive. 

In addition, by the way, not only will your company do better if you natural personality and gifts are well suited to the type of business you own, but you will do better. 

Alternatively, have an equal partner that is the "personality" that the company needs.  That person probably should be the president.  Now, the two personalities can balance one another, keeping the company from being too loosely managed or too tight to take advantages of opportunities (to use one personality type as an example).

Assuming you know what your personality is, what does it mean to project that personality.  I will cover some of that in the coming days, but for now lets just say that everything should project it.  Store layout and design, advertising, product and services selection, pricing. 

Let me give you the funniest example in my career.  For several years I owned a company called Atlas Lock Company.  This was a wholesale distributor with most of its sales to bicycle retailers.  Most wholesale distributors buy what their customers want and inventory it for them.  I'm not built that way.  I love to create products.  Therefore, we redesigned products and packaging to differentiate our offering from our competition.  This allowed us to have better margins, but it dramatically increased the risk. 

Well, one of my more traditional competitors said of us:  "I just wait to see what works at Atlas Lock and then copy it."  I eventually sold that business and became a manufacturer where I had more control over the products I created.  And the distributor above became a great customer. 

Possibly the best example in recent history of a perfect match would be Steve Jobs and Apple. Not only are the products of Apple a clear extension of his anal and obsessive personality, but he was the ultimate pitchman and projected his personality as loving innovation in a fun way.

Action steps for day 15:
  • If you are unclear about your personality strengths and weaknesses, do what you need to do to get clarity: consult an outside counselor; read "Running a 21st Century Small Business," which has a section on figuring it out; get an opinion from a trusted friend or relative.
  • Think about whether you are projecting your personality in the business or whether you are struggling like I was in the distribution business.
Here is an example of questions I would ask myself as a retailer:

    1.    I'd do something else in a minute if I could do so profitably
    2.    I'm okay with this, but not thrilled
    3.    I like retail well enough, but the money is not worth the effort
    4.    Everything is pretty good, but I often wonder if this was the right choice for me
    5.    I like what I do most of the time and am very satisfied with the shop and the income.
    6.    I am thrilled to go to work, love the job, the people, the impact I'm making on the lives of others, and the money meets or exceeds my needs.

  • How might I change my current business to better project my personality?
  • Am I truly in the wrong business

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