Know Yourself in Business
This is an area that is often missed by most business owners or those in self employment. We often spend most of our time focusing on cultivating our service or pushing our product whilst our personal brand is not even a consideration. If this is you, here are some interesting thoughts ….
Ok, then. Arm, chest, hip, buttock, back or ankle? You choose the image while I get the needles ready. Oh, not that kind of branding then? Alright, how about choosing the iron while I get the fire going? Not that either. Hmm, I guess what we need to be talking about then are not the external, sometimes overt, colourful indications of attitude, belief or ownership, but the intangible, invisible beliefs, values and standards of you, your self.
So, who are you then? Do you know yourself? Do you look in the mirror, deep into the eyes and soul of your image, and like what you see? You can change it, you know. Not much you can do with the outer image of course (apart from a good scrub and a haircut) but the inner intangibles are under your control (your likes, dislikes, your prejudices and ambitions, your behaviour and your conduct, your manners, your eating habits, etc).
Are you a skilled worker, a creative person, crafting and sculpting, adapting and refining; or are you a people-person, a leader, an influencer, a supervisor; or do you see yourself as an entrepreneur, a visionary, an organiser, a driver, an enabler? It’s difficult to identify any one sole trader or business owner who is competent in all three, and only by truly knowing your self, your beliefs, your capabilities, your limitations can you build the contacts or the team that will enable you to succeed.
The manager of a team of redundancy consultants was invited to join a team-building exercise, which focussed on the elements of ‘a team’ and how to fit the skills of the current members of the team more positively into those roles. It was unfortunate that the manager did not meet the requirements of the manager role. She had been recruited on the basis of her CV and interview, and had not been tested on the needs of the role. Where do you fit into your own team? Will you need to identify others to fill the gaps in your skills? No loss of face if you do, because it can only enhance the possibilities of success.
But what about your product? You’ve spent a long time creating and refining this: a powder-coated widget, for example, that will reduce the amount of coffee we use in each cup but have no reduction in flavour; or an algorithm that indicates, instantly and accurately, the water temperature in a bath to reduce the instances of scalding of the young (a child can’t have skin-grafts until the age of 18 when they stop growing). And you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you’re onto a winner. But . . . who will buy it? Would a global coffee company buy your coffee-saving widget when their aim is to sell as much coffee as they can produce?
The dilemma faced by the algorithm creator was to embed it into a floating-toy (duck, for example) and sell it through national retail outlets as a gift that grandparents would buy to protect their grandchildren, or parents would buy if employing the services of a nanny/carer to look after their children. The road to success was long, narrow and open to competition over time. This journey would include funding, mass manufacturing, branding, advertising, packaging, distribution, promotional materials, dealer discounts, insurance, etc, etc. The other choice was to approach a national health initiative that was already concerned with the 1,500 scalding incidents each and every year (in Canada) which might be interested in the bulk purchase of the ‘toy’, issuing it to every parent or carer at the birth of a child, nationwide. This would probably be a shorter journey and only involve sponsorship, mass manufacturing, shipping and invoicing. Would you have been as insightful to have envisioned such a path?
On a smaller scale could you market yourself to, and sign-up, Sharon of “Essex Face-Lifts”, for your website creation that will help to expand her business throughout the SE of England. Could you take your business model to a bank or venture capitalist and pitch for funding to create your first prototype?
Self employment or running your own business isn’t easy. If it was we’d all be doing it. You are in a minority but small businesses constitute over 90% of all existing businesses. Hell of a minority, eh?!
Knowing your self, and your product, and the buyer you would most like to sell to will give you drive, your ambition to succeed will give you direction, and your product will give you the focus….. Well, what are you waiting for? [/wpsharely] - Philip Morris (Business Consultant)