In the world of entrepreneurs who do you think would be naturally more successful, the introvert or extrovert?
Did you say extrovert? Most people would say extroverts have the advantage when it comes to business success, however, is that actually correct or just a label we have given to these personality types?
A bird’s eye view of Extroverts: Natural charisma, gets along with everyone, leads discussions, natural sales ability, owns the stage and loves the limelight.
A bird’s eye view of Introverts: Shy, not good with people, not good being the head of operations, followers not leaders, loners.
These are just stereotypes, too simple to actually capture an individual’s true ability. Certainly Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg show that these stereotypes are not true of introverts, however, we might believe them to be true about ourselves, to the point where introverts out there may have amazing business ideas but feel, well, that’s not me, I’m not “out there.”
Making Excuses in Business
All that is to me is just an excuse not to do something new. It’s a story, or a label that’s keeping you stuck in your job or in your current financial situation or the life you have and might not be happy with.
In the same way, an extrovert might go all out on a business thinking their label of being a natural talker will mean they can launch a business without doing any work.
The truth is, no matter who you are, you bring worthwhile, successful, and unique gifts to the business table and you can both learn from each other.
I love teaching clients how to be successful in their own business because every individual has something to offer. The potential is outstanding because anyone can develop a business idea and have an impact on the world.
An extrovert business owner offers one thing, while an introvert business owner offers something else and both have the potential to be successful.
I’m going to dig down deeper into why an introvert can be just as successful as an extrovert in business and prove that the labels we place on ourselves and on other people can be the only thing holding us back. And also use that natural introvert business success ability to teach extroverts how to stay grounded.
Introverts have the ability to focus on one project for a long period of time. That focus and dedication not only gives them a clear vision for where they are going and what they need to get there, it also is the perfect vision needed to hold a company together. In my Entrepreneur Now training, I explain the different roles and essential levels every business needs to break through. The top tier of a successful business is that long term vision. An introvert is naturally then a great person to govern a business from the very top, to hold that vision without distractions.
Extroverts tend to be distracted by the next idea or conversation and lose momentum. What that means is they are always coming up with amazing new ideas that, if left unchecked will either have their energy and resources spread thinly over five, ten even twenty different business ideas, or constantly jumping from one thing to the next without completing one task. If you are an extrovert experiencing this challenge, start one thing, finish one thing and practice focus.
Introverts feel safe, even happy about empowering other people around them.
What better leader than one who can see and encourage potential in others, allowing them to rise and grow and reach their upmost ability. This is the mindset that is essential for business growth. A great idea well run can expand rapidly. The most successful business person is the one that can rapidly expand and grow with that success.
An extroverted person may feel threatened by someone else’s power. They may feel that it is essential to stay on top, or centre of attention, and will even remove people around them that start to excel. Your business will never outperform the psychology or skill set of the leader! If you are an extrovert facing these challenges, learn from the introvert business model and allow others to grow around you and learn from them and keep stepping up. You may not always be “on top” but you will always be moving in an upward direction.
Introverts process information internally. They will spend more time turning systems, processes and resources over in their minds to come up with working solutions. This alone time is a time of clarity and logic and calm. It’s all about detail, options and structure which is essential for building, launching and maintaining a new business.
If you are an introvert who gets stuck in negatives, you may find you sabotage your ideas or shut down because it looks like there are no options. Learn to ask positive questions ‘How can I…?’ or ‘Where can I…?’ or ‘Who can I…?’ to get that logical mind working in upward spirals.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Here is the best time to take a page from the extrovert’s business model. Get a small group together to brainstorm, it might only be you and three other people, but hashing the issues outside of your head is the thing to do if you get stuck.
While in these meetings it’s also a good idea to say what you are thinking. What you want and what your expectations are will stay hidden from other people unless you voice them. You need to express this in order to get where you want to go – I know, perhaps mind reading will be invented someday, but for now, we need to verbally communicate our thoughts and feelings to be understood.
Extroverts verbalise a lot more, sometimes this stops others (for example introverts) from having a say or voicing their ideas, it also may mean that the extrovert is saying so much there is no time for logic to come into it or for the idea to be recognised for it’s potential. At this level, all that talking is simply concepts that don’t receive enough of a framework to move into reality.
If you are an extrovert experiencing this problem, stop and listen. The idea that everyone loves an extrovert isn’t necessarily true. You have two eyes, two ears and only one mouth. Talk half as much as you see and hear, as per the natural design, and your observations will bring a lot of clarity and understanding, not only internally, but also externally as you begin to understand where your peers and staff are coming from.
Extroverts get enormous amounts of energy from being surrounded by people. Parties, business functions, product launches and networking events, this is when the extrovert is at their most creative, most flexible, and most enigmatic self. This is when those millions of constant ideas get bounced off, tested and encouraged by others. It’s a learning and growing frenzy!
While an extrovert may excel at selling their brand or business at this level, they may not be able to bring that confidence to a one on one meeting to close the deal. Anchoring in the good feeling of the business relationship during the fun encounter will help both you and them recall the first experience and enthusiasm that created this meeting in the first place.
Introverts do often feel drained and exhausted after socialising with lots of people. One-on-one and small group meetings are the introvert business speciality. This is a good model for giving that personal, reassuring touch to a sale.
Parties, business functions and networking events can be quite taxing for the introvert. If you find that you are an introvert with this challenge, pace yourself. Take breaks where you can be alone and reenergize. Space your socialising out so you have time to relax and leave shoptalk at the door. Know that your strength is in the one on one meet, and set up follow-up meetings with people you feel are in your niche or can use your business so you can spend that socialising time observing and listening to the experiences and stories of others. There is no reason to be the life of the party. Just be yourself, talk about what interests you, and make following up your sales strategy and speciality.
Every encounter with someone new is an opportunity to inspire and grow their potential. The biggest mistake introverted people can make is to label themselves as anti-social.
Everyone is connected and capable of making those connections. It’s those deep connections that are the true reason a business is successful. If you tell yourself you are not good around people, it will absolutely come true, so take the time to go over the values you have from the start of this article to reframe your thinking and switch some labels over.
Don’t confuse extroverted with confidence, these are not the same thing! People who seem very extroverted might not necessarily be bursting with confidence, quite the opposite, they might, in fact, find that talking to people and being centre of attention calms their nerves.
In the same way, an introvert doesn’t need to be lacking in confidence. You can be a very confident introvert, just look at Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg. They take that introverted personality trait and use it to their advantage. They love numbers, strategy, programs and logic, are amazing leaders without being loud, phenomenally successful while being modest, and above all, passionate about their business and so confident when they talk about these passions.
Often an introverted person will think of their disruptive business idea or product as separate to themselves. This is essential for business success. Removing yourself from the identity of the business is the only way to successfully feed in learning and growth, and to receive money and the flexibility to work your own hours. If you own your business as your personal identity any emotional setbacks to your ego will take a toll on your business as well.
Extroverts can sometimes feel that people are buying their charisma, their flare and buy into the owner’s vision because they are likeable. This puts a lot of pressure on the individual to maintain that likeability and high energy at all times. If you are an extrovert experiencing this stress take a step back from your business and remove it from yourself and let what you do be perfect, which allows you to not be perfect, be human.
If you are an introvert: Take action.
Thinking about it gives you energy but no momentum. It’s like you have your manual car set to neutral, all rev and no go. Set your sites on first gear and launch those wonderful plans in your head. You are the only thing really holding you back so be bold, be courageous and go forth.
If you are an extrovert: Pay attention.
What others are doing and how they are doing it is interesting and will show you how to take rapid steps to anchoring your thoughts to solid ground. One thing at a time is also a key lesson here for you.
To really get the best of both worlds I suggest creating a close limited business network of 4-5 successful entrepreneurs that has both introverted and extroverted business people at the table so that you can get new ideas generated rapidly, really let them fly without bursting any bubbles, then take the best of those ideas and break them down into details and see which ones will be worth bringing to life.
What makes products and services really successful is individual flare and passion. Every business owner brings their personality to the product. It opens up new ways of functioning, challenges the big markets in unexpected ways, and really pushes the boundaries of what is possible. If introvert business ideas are shut down before they even get started, that means a whole niche of people could potentially miss out on getting their market needs met.
So use whatever it is you’ve got to say just knowing that someone out there is waiting for exactly what you have to offer, just by being yourself, leveraging your strengths, and counterbalancing your weaknesses.
Remember, a bird’s eye view only shows rooftops, the treasures are hidden within.