Entrepreneurs: You’re in the People Business
For many aspiring entrepreneurs, they’re enticed by the idea of being their own boss, by making their own schedules, and by being in control of their financial destinies. They don’t have a clock to punch, nor do they have a boss to answer to. Since they’re going to be in charge, they can create whatever company culture they please. They have complete control.
When it comes to taking the leap from employee to entrepreneur, or even college student to entrepreneur, every entrepreneur gets a crash course in entrepreneurship. It doesn’t matter how many books a person reads or how many entrepreneurship courses he or she takes, nothing can prepare one for running a business like actually getting out there and doing it.
Regardless if the entrepreneur is starting a one-man operation; for example, a consulting company, or a small business with a handful of employees, or a business that they intend to scale quickly, they are going to have to deal with people on a daily basis; therefore, all business owners have to sharpen their “people skills” in order to succeed in business.
You Have to Learn to Become a People Person
There are different kinds of people. Some of us are outgoing and love to socialize, whereas others absolutely can’t stand dealing with people, and entrepreneurs come in both breeds and somewhere in between. If you’re a business owner and you’re an introvert, you may not be keen on breaking the ice with vendors, bonding with employees, and developing long-lasting relationships with your customers, but I’ll tell you right now that all of these are essential to the success of your business.
No matter what kind of business you’re in – you’re in the people business. It’s as simple as that. If you’re counting on B2B relationships, you can’t expect them to last if your contact at the other company doesn’t like you and your staff. If your clients or customers don’t like you and your employees, they will not stick around. And your employees…you can anticipate a high turnover if you don’t create an atmosphere where your staff can’t imagine working anywhere else.
People do business with people they like – that’s a fact of life. If you can’t stand someone’s personality, or if all they do is talk about themselves, are you going to want to do business with him or her? Probably not. In reality, we gravitate towards individuals we like and trust, and business is no exception. As a business owner, don’t forget that you’re in the people business. No matter what type of product or service you provide, the success of your company will hinge on your ability to establish lasting relationships with employees, customers, and vendors – your network.
Building Long-Lasting Relationships
Don’t be mistaken by thinking business and friends don’t mix – quite the contrary! If you want to develop long-lasting relationships, it’s important to gain trust. Whether it’s a client, a vendor, or an employee, there’s nothing wrong with “breaking the polite barriers” and getting to know that person. In fact, one of the best ways to connect with people in business is to show a genuine interest in them.
There’s no harm in finding out where they came from, how many kids they have, and what they enjoy doing on their free time. Business is all about how your product or service can improve people’s lives. If you don’t care enough about your employees and customers, how can you expect them to stick around? A business owner who doesn’t care to connect with employees, vendors and customers is much like a doctor with a poor bedside manner; sooner or later people will leave because the business owner doesn’t care enough about the person standing in front of them.
Ask any successful business owner, and they’ll readily admit that they intentionally surround themselves with people they like. After all, isn’t that how you’d like to run your own business? With people you enjoy working with?
When entrepreneurs are warm, friendly, and personable, people are attracted to them like a magnet, which translates into sales and company growth. When a business owner is unable to connect with people on a deeper level, they’ll have a much harder time making sales and building long-lasting relationships with customers and vendors. And, you know what else? Business isn’t nearly as much fun as it should be.
Elainna Ciaramella is an independent journalist, business blogger, and ghostwriter for entrepreneurs and business professionals nationwide. She has written extensively on the topics of business, entrepreneurship, law, and medicine. She is well-versed in search engine optimization, content marketing, and social media. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and Instagram.