Running a small business of your own puts you at the centre of every single decision, value and direction that company goes in. You put your heart and soul into making the venture a success, so it’s little surprise that entrepreneurs often find the companies they’ve created are a microcosm of their own personalities.
Building up operations from scratch gives you a huge amount of responsibility, and suddenly, each decision you make is under scrutiny. As how we behave is intrinsically linked to who we are, you may find there’s suddenly a magnifying glass on your character traits.
Achieving self-knowledge is therefore one of the most valuable pursuits for a business leader – understand yourself and your motivations, and you can have more consciousness of the effects your decisions make.
Tests such as the Myers-Briggs Indicator can give you a framework for understanding what drives you and also how you relate to others. It all boils down to two basic personality types – which one you are can shape the direction of your company, from what kind of vision and values you instill in the culture to the best way to approach getting that small business line of credit.
The Natural Leader
This personality type could often be described as dominant, focused and hard-working, the type who loves to set goals and achieve objectives. Many people of this self-motivated type find they relish the pace and scale of setting up their own business – they don’t need any external factors to spur them on to do their best. You may think this sounds perfect, but there are some qualities of this ‘Alpha’ personality that can set them back in business. Often an inability to take on the viewpoints of others or properly relate to them can cause problems – both with business associates who will inevitably become involved, or when it comes to getting the best out of employees further down the line. There’s a line between being upfront and honest with feedback and being tactless – and this type may not excel at the politics of business. As a natural leader, you will get things done and inspire others with your example, but take the time to develop your people skills to achieve your full potential in business.
The People Person
If you are a relator, you’re often described as a classic ‘people person’. Your ability to empathise and relate to others is strong, and often makes you an extremely effective sales person, which is a distinct advantage in the early days of running a business, when you need to convince everyone from customers to creditors and suppliers to believe in your vision. A natural tendency towards optimism will also buoy you up in times of self-doubt and struggle, and you are always ready for the next challenge and learning experience. However, take the time to check that you’re on ‘receive’ as well as pushing a message out there and polish up those listening skills! Also, make sure that you don’t get too caught up in human dramas – set concrete targets and tangible ways to measure your progress to keep things on track.