Business owners are a special kind of people. They are wonderful to work with but can be perplexing to those who think they are like the majority of workers in the marketplace. Having spent countless hours working with and coaching business owners from many different industries, there are several patterns that emerge which can help you engage and service the entrepreneurs and owners that undergird our economy.
Here are some of the critical qualities to consider for working efficiently and in alignment with business owners:
- It’s personal. It’s their money, their idea and their baby. Employees will come and go. This includes the VP’s, directors and managers who enjoy the luxury of titles and responsibility. But the owner lives with the business. Furthermore, it’s their money. They are not playing with house money. This is an immense difference from those who file expense reports and look to use and manage the owner’s money.
- They care about the goal. You either produce results or you are out. Again, because it’s their money. This also means that you will likely find a curious eye with dispassionate interest if you surface the politics going on within an organization or between team members. Those are power plays that the owner does not have any interest or necessity to participate in. They are already at the top. Interpersonal issues can appear petty and irrelevant because they lack a connection to the goal of revenue and business growth.
- Clarity matters. It is true. Leadership is lonely at the top. Getting strategy, direction and thinking clearly is hard to accomplish in the midst of the daily grind. Those who can bring great ideas and sell them by getting buy-in become extremely valuable. The owner is thinking ahead and steering the ship. Your value in collaboration and trust when it comes to matters of what to do next can be extremely high if you are creative and take initiative.
- Freedom and meaning are motivators. Why take all the risk and hassle of a venture when you can collect a paycheck? Business owners want more freedom, whether that be in time, money or setting their own course. You can speak their language by framing ideas, solutions and projects in terms of how they appeal to their deep motivation for personal freedom and how it creates meaning.
Connection with people happens when you get on the same wavelength. Whether you work for business owners or want more of them as clients, try thinking deeply about what is going on in their psyche. Speak their language. Put your agenda and speech in line with what matters to them.
In so doing, you create trust which allows you audience to make that impact for these brave captains of their respective enterprises.
How can you connect with business owners better?