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What Is a "Real" Business Owner Part 2

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What Is a “Real” Business Owner Part 2

This is part 2 of a two-part post about what makes a “real” small business owner and how trying to live up to messages given to us by others may not actually support our best performances and leave us feeling overBass guitar and businesswhelmed and indequate. This post focuses on the strategies to support getting comfortable with your way of leading and managing your SME.

In the first part of this post, I talked about how learning to play the bass guitar has parallels to developing one’s identity as a small business owner. I trained as a musician for most of my life so I knew that learning to play an instrument would include hard work, repetition, and the  inevitability of sounding really awful some days. And like the messages we receive about what makes a “real” business owner, there are loads of messages about what a “real” bass player sounds like. Most forums focus on the virtuosity of bass players like GeddyLee (Rush), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) or Victor Wooten (bass playing genius). While they are definitely inspiring, it’s also good to take a look at another style, more like Adam Clayton’s (U2) style where he complements the other voices in his band with bass lines that add texture or harmony to the whole song. Now, I’m not saying that the others don’t do this. They certainly do! What I am saying is that it is easy to get caught up in messages that tell you that you must play your instrument in one particular way without consideration as to whether this even fits your style and your intent.

Defining one’s style as a business owner is essential. It is about developing the part of your identity that you call “business owner.” When you try to fit into a mould of another’s making, it can leave you feeling scattered. You’re not really one thing or another. It can even create a cognitive dissonance that feels quite painful! Like a novice bass player studying scales and basic harmonic and rhythmic patterns, get clear about what is basic for you and your organisation.

Consider these questions as a way to practice the scales and harmonic or rhythmic patterns of your business:

  • What is the basic purpose of your business? Re-commit to the reason you founded your business. Often our businesses evolve as they maure and we modify the original reason. Re-dedicate yourself to the revamped purpose.
  • How about your business model? Service providers are wondering if  they must augment their offerings with products while product-based organisations are wondering if they must add consulting or coaching services. What is your experience? Analyse your metrics to see if your business model needs any tinkering or if it is humming along nicely.
  • What role do you really have as business owner? It may be time to step out of being the number one technical expert and develop the skills to be CEO-like. And yet, you may be stronger as the technical expert and it’s time to hire or promote someone who is more talented at operations or leadership.
  • What do you need to do to keep the revenues at least stable and at most growing? Review your actual money makers. There are times when we need to let go of a service or a product that doesn’t contribute to our bottom lines. Also assess if it is time to let go of  new ideas and return to your basic offering.
  • How do you want to handle your mistakes? Most of the mistakes you make do not destroy your business. It’s easy to imagine that catastrophes lurk in the background but they aren’t as frequent as we imagine. After you’ve acknowledged your emotions, ask yourself what you can learn from the situation. As a colleague often reminds me, “make new mistakes.”

Becoming the “real” business owner you want to be is about tuning out any messages that trigger a scattered feeling. Listen to who inspires you as you build the business you want. There is no right or wrong. Yes, there are lots of messages about what is “real.” But, who is to say what is the “real thing? That’s why there are different styles of playing bass. Maybe you’re a business owner who is adept at  a down and dirty sound that just grabs your customers in the gut and they form a tribe. You might be more 50’s style rock and roll and your customers appreciate the conservative nature of your firm. The bottom line? Define your style as a business owner and “make your own kind of music.”

What do you “sound” like as a small business owner?

What questions challenge your identity the most?

VOTE for this post HERE and also Leave a Comment to win great prizes!

This post is part of the HP SugarTone contest: “Making your business amazing”, sponsored by Hewlett Packard

Growing a business locally or internationally takes a different mindset; the CEO Mindset. Elli St.George-Godfrey, a behavioral economics coach, international expansion consultant and founder of Ability Success Growth, uses her 3 Keys Coaching process to help business owners and executives in the US, Ireland and Northern Ireland to unlock the CEO within. Under her guidance, personal styles are fine-tuned allowing the senior leader to “authentically inhabit” the role of CEO and collaborate with their team more effectively. With this focus on both the people and the organization in which they work, Elli’s market-proven coaching helps leaders and their teams develop styles and capabilities which enables them to collaborate and effectively join together to optimize the business outcomes.

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  • The only thing that threatens my business owner style is – ME! It is also the essence of my business, or at least will be as it becomes refined over time.

    I think most importantly Elli, is to not take every client or contract that comes our way, but decide who we want to work with, and what type of work we want to do, and keep that in mind as our vision.

    I adore your analogy of the bass player – you sound like a great musician, and bringing music into business is playful and fun – a quality sometimes business lack because they are too busy trying to look professional.

    Authenticity wins the day, individuality shines through, and good honest hard work and perseverance will make sure we get there.

  • Hi Elli, this is has been another great series. “There are times when we need to let go of a service or a product that doesn’t contribute to our bottom lines” while this is so true it often proves difficult, I think of one business I know that carries a product line of 30-40 products, while only 3 are genuine revenue streams.

  • Anonymous


    It’s hard to let go of something you’ve created, marketed, and sold (somewhat). This has come up for my business and I’m currently winding down my offering.The catch here is that there is an intermittent reward for having the product or service still present in our offerings. Intermittent rewards are powerful reinforcements!

    Occasionally it’s worth re-packaging something in a different way (make an ebook into an mp3/podcast, bundle complementary products together, or convert a service into a product) or offer it as a a freemium. The most important thing here is to be honest with yourself and be willing to pull the product out of existence.

  • Anonymous


    Yup!!! As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” Your tip about not taking every client or contract is so important. Doing work that we dread sucks our motivation dry! It may seem risky but staying true to one’s vision actually prevents feeling scattered. You have one basic message, one persona to keep track of.

    Thanks for the compliment about my musicianship. I don’t know about great but I’m decent. The best part is it’s fun!

  • Wonderful post Elli and I love your analogy of the bass player…. well done

  • Anonymous


    Thanks for the compliment! When we take time to see what else in our lives is similar to what’s happening in our businesses, we can gain clarity and understanding!

  • Dawn

    Elli – great points! It is so crucial to make sure that you are in the right business for the right reasons! Right on!

  • Anonymous


    Thanks for your comment! Your point about being in the right business for the right reasons is so true! Chasing money can feel like one is on a hamster wheel. Lots of running and not going anywhere!

  • JM

    Excellent questions and great metaphor. My business’s purpose has expanded somewhat over the years, and, with luck, my role will continue to evolve as that continues. Mastery, in leadership as in music, isn’t about perfection but in continuing to practice, to handle skillfully all of the ordinary stuff AND to innovate appropriately when you discover that your ’50’s band has evolved into a jazz ensemble. I hope to keep practicing for a long time to come, so I can watch the business develop and continue to support it.

  • Am sure this is just the start of exciting thingsu00a0for theu00a0futureu00a0of Bloggertone

  • Anonymous

    I’m also sad to see Fred and Facundo go. I wish you both the very best with Channelship. Thank you for your great work at Bloggertone. nnI also welcome Anita and look forward to what’s next here at Bloggertone.

  • Marie — definitely!u00a0 Niall and I have been burning up Skype and email to understand each member’s expectations better, and strategize on new features and new opportunities to serve you all.

  • Elli, I too will miss Fred and Facundo.u00a0 But they have assured us we’ll still see them on social media from time and time.u00a0 Thanks for the welcome!

  • Thanks, Fred!u00a0 You three guys have done a great job building the Bloggertone community, and I only hope I’ll live up to your expectations.u00a0

  • Facundo

    Thanks Sian 🙂

  • Facundo

    Thanks Elli, we’ll continue enjoying your posts though 🙂

  • Congrats Anita! Fred and Facundo made a great pick and I’m excited to see Bloggertone grow.

  • Facundo

    Indeed, a great experience and we are excited about the new course. Thanks Niall & Anita

  • Well done to all involved. Think this will align very well with the other sites 🙂

  • Des

    Congrats Anita! Great to see Bloggertone grow.

  • Well, onwards and upwards for all involved it seems. I really don’t know what I would have done without the support and hard work by Fred, Facundo and Niall over the past 2 years. I have nothing but great memories and feel an era is coming to a close.nnHowever, that in itself opens new doors, and through this door “A big hearty” welcome to Anita. You do fantastic work, and it can only be good for the Bloggertone community to have you on board. Niall is a gem as you know, and I am sure the new partnership is well matched.nnI am proud to be a Bloggertoner since it’s very first inception, and look forward to working with you Anita, and continue to work with Niall.nnCongratulations to all!

  • Anonymous

    A big welcome to Anita and a fond farewell to Fred and Facundo

  • Ah! thanks for such kind words, Elaine.u00a0nnI know you will remain an important member of the community going forward 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Fred and Facundo for all the work and effort you’ve put into Bloggertone. u00a0I can attest to this in particular with the work that was put in to edit and publish my Bloggertone TV video recently.nnnWelcome Anita. u00a0I really look forward to getting to know you better.

  • Congratulations to Anita! Niall: I enjoyed our Skype chat we had some time ago and I look forward to follow the development of Bloggertone!

  • Fantastic news!u00a0 Congratulations to Anita!u00a0 I’m sure Bloggertone is in for a shiny future.And lots of good wishes to Fred and Facundo, I know they’ll do well too.nnIt’s great to see how things are movingu00a0forward for you all.u00a0

  • Anonymous

    Thanks a lot Cindy

  • Hi Cindy, you played a big role in introducing Anita and Bloggertone so thank you 🙂

  • Hi Martin, yes, that was a good chat! Thanks for your support, we appreciate it 🙂

  • Welcome Anita, delightedu00a0at the news.u00a0Niall is teriffic to work with and the natives hereu00a0are friendly! All the best to Fred and Facundo.nOnwards and upwards everyone.

  • Fantastic news!nnCongrats to all involved and look forward to watching Bloggertone go from strength to strength.nnu00a0

  • Welcome to Bloggertone Anita – it’s a real pleasure to have you on board and I for one will be extremely excited to hear of all the new and novel plans you and Niall agree on.nnLads (Facundo and Fred) – Ahhh, it’s a real shame to see you go, but you guys are never REALLY gone. I wish you all the best in your growing venture.

  • Facundo

    Thanks so much Tina!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks very much Tina! You’re right, we will still be around 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Cheers Helen!

  • Wow! It’s really nice to seeu00a0Anitau00a0onu00a0BloggerToneu00a0,u00a0congratulationu00a0to you all!

  • Thanks, Hesham, your support isu00a0appreciated!

  • Woohoo!!! nnWhat a fantastic series of news!nnFred, Facundo, nwishing you the best; focus is key and you can now both fully focus on Channelship. And, thanks to social media, we are never too far away from each other.nnAnita, ncongratulations, that’s a wonderful news. nnI cannot wait to hearing more! More news, more strategies and more opportunities that both you and Niall will bring to life.

  • Thank you for your continued support, Frederique, we appreciate it 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Frederique!

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  • Guest

    Thanks, Frederique! We appreciate the support 🙂

  • Derbhile

    Thanks for all your help, Fred and Facundo. Best of luck with Channelship and hope to meet you again in the near future.

  • Facundo

    Thanks Derbhile, we are around 🙂

  • Bragging is anyone’s most hated attitude. Yes, agree to you that instead of bragging in front of other people use it as your marketing tool. These can eventually attract more customers which means more sales to your company. One great strategy indeed!

  • Hi Pawel, a comprehensive list. I certainly don’t like bragging, it reminds me of my mums friends years ago and how wonderful their children all were!!

    I like your clear approach and advice to people. A good list that any small business owner or executive can follow.

    Take care,

  • I don’t need to brag! 😉 I let other individuals do that for me in an appropriate way. I believe in the techniques of referral marketing. I recently got the title, “social media evangelist” from a famous writer and speaker. We have getting to know each other during the years, so when he asked what I wanted to be called in his latest book, I said: “You decide.”

  • Thanks Denise! I appreciate that. 

    But hey, I wonder who it was that gave me few great copywriting tips couple years back 
    at the Drog Chamber group? ;)I hope things are well? 

  • Thanks for encouraging me about the article. I’ll mention few more topic soon about Identity theft. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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