During the long days of this winter break, with kids home and a lack of typical social events, I started cleaning out the clutter and unresolved issues in my own head so that I could start this new business year anew. One of the parts of my business that has felt un-dealt with has been the rise of a competitor that jumped into my particular line of work so effortlessly by stealing my company’s name and very other aspect of what I created to make my company stand apart from all of the other data companies. The thing is, I bet this probably goes on more often than I realized, but it’s just not something I am used to seeing since I don’t surround myself with people that operate at this lowered level of attainment. So these new days of 2021 will start fresh with the addition of a very skilled trademark infringement litigator. This leads me into what a friend conveyed in one of his blog posts about being genuine, in life and in business.
"In business, and certainly in life in general, being genuine is a critical aspect of being a force of attraction to other people. The fact is, not everyone is going to become your customer, so it’s best to be true to yourself and your own positive instincts. The importance of “being yourself” is that if you aren’t true to your own personality, you’re at risk of being perceived as false and untrustworthy. Of course, no one wants to do business with someone – or an organization – that exhibit those traits.
And, just to be clear, being genuine doesn’t mean to let restraint run wild. We’re human, and so we all have some negative aspects of our personalities. Rein them in when doing business. Being in charge doesn’t mean you get to be Darth Vader. What it does mean is that you need to behave at the highest possible standard. You’re the example for everyone. So if you want to run an organization that throws tantrums, is moody and unpredictable, and treats people badly, then doing that yourself is the way to go.
The importance of being genuine is that true success – of all kinds, not just monetary — happens when you’re in the process of actualizing who you are. Not copying others. It’s great to admire leaders in our industries. But try to be like Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett, or any other business icon, and you’ll come off as false. The next great business leader is going to be significantly different than those who come before. It’s going to be their own unique ability to be genuine that will contribute to their stellar success.
Most businesses are run by people just like you and me. We are smart in our individual ways, and perhaps not as smart in others. We work hard, sometimes too hard for our own good, and we probably neglect some aspects of our businesses. We might not plan enough, and find ourselves operating by intuition rather than cold hard facts. And while these are generalities, it’s this trap of sameness that makes it so hard to stand apart. For many businesses, it’s the subtleties that allow us to stand out. A product or service that’s priced fairly. A hostess that greets you with a smile. A service provider that delivers at the time they said they would. A car service that arrives ten minutes early instead of ten minutes late. A conference call that starts exactly when scheduled.
That’s the personality of your business shining through. And in this overstuffed universe of products and services, that’s just the difference that’s needed to go from obscurity and mediocrity to success."