Your business is not completely separate from the core of who you are as a person. We can talk about things like compartmentalization all we want. But there are some things that cannot be compartmentalized. If you are the kind of person who cheats at games and commits petty theft just because you can, there is no way your business will be a bargain of virtuous transactions. This is true regardless of the scale of the business. Apple took on the character of Steve Jobs. Microsoft took on the character of Bill Gates. Tesla takes on the character of Elon Musk. Amazon took on the character of Jeff Bezos. And it is inevitable that your business will take on your character. Consider this small example.
If you care about being eco-friendly in your personal life, that is going to overlap in your business endeavors. Companies that are doing the right things without being forced by the government to do so are run by people of conscience who believe in being environmentally responsible. If you own an electric vehicle (EV), you are more likely to want to move your business fleet to electric. It is not a question of if you will do it. Rather, it is just a question of working out the details, like Tesla charge time needed or how much capital you need to purchase your EVs. Personal environmental responsibility leads to business environmental responsibility. Here are three more examples to consider.
Your Ability to Accept Help
We all need a little help from time to time. One of the pieces of advice for entrepreneurs starting today is to realize that you are going to need some funding. If you are the kind of person who tries to do everything yourself because of an anachronistic sense of pride, independence, and self-determination, you are going to miss out on a lot of opportunities that life has to offer. That is because the best that life has to offer is only attainable with the cooperation and help from other people.
If you bring that same sense of independence into your startup, you are going to fail. You need to be open to the reality that you are not all that. You are just a person like any other person. Next, going it alone is generally a bad idea. You have to learn how to recognize your need for help. And you also have to know how to accept help when it is available. Learn these lessons in your personal life and your business will be the beneficiary of those lessons.
Patience with Other People
Are you the kind of person who doesn’t suffer fools well? That could be a problem because we are all fools sometimes. You have to give other humans the space to be the majestically messy human beings that they are. Out of that, comes genius.
Good leaders practice patience. Employees are humans with human issues that plague them throughout the workday. Their dog has to go to the vet. Their daughter has a softball game for which they will be late because of work. As they try to push all this aside, there will be some typos in the expense report and meeting notes. You cannot drive the people who work for you by whatever insane metric you drive yourself. But if you give humans a chance to be their best selves, they can do wonders for your business. Patients in your personal life will pay dividends in your professional life.
Few people manage business finances well if they do not manage their personal finances well. If you lack the knowledge or discipline for managing your personal finances, those traits don’t just magically appear when you get to the office. If you can fix some of the personal finance issues like lowering your debt and raising your credit score, it will make it easier for you to get funding for your business. Investors are not just investing in a business. They are investing in you. Show them that you can handle it.
If you care about your environmental impact, can accept help, are patient with the people in your life, and can handle your personal finances well, you have a very good chance of conferring these traits to your business. No matter what ultimately happens, you will be the kind of business owner that everyone can root for.