In 2011 I ran a blog series titled “Back to Business” where I interviewed 20 small businesses in 20 days. One of the questions that I asked was “How do you define success?” the answers were varied and interesting. Today I’d like to share some of my favorite responses from those interviews. Read more!
There was an article in Huffington Post titled “Should Women Be More Arrogant?” that was a follow up to a Wall Street Journal article. The article was written after Steve Job’s passing as Apple began its quest for a new CEO. The gist of the original post was that the characteristics that make for a successful CEO are “unbridled confidence” and some degree of arrogance and narcissism. All of these traits when exemplified by women are often viewed negatively. So the question was posed beyond the boardroom and into the living rooms and shops of small business owners. In order to be successful entrepreneurs do women business owners need to be arrogant and a bit narcissistic?
Narcissism by definition means extreme self-love, and simply if you don’t have extreme love for yourself how can you expect others to?
Some would argue that arrogance is not only unnecessary but undesirable that simply being confident in your abilities and your business is enough to be successful. However, I do believe unbridled confidence and a touch of arrogance and narcissism is a piece of the success puzzle that allows you to take your business to THAT level. Not just existing, not just making it, not just lukewarm success but to take your idea turn it into a business and to nurture it to the level of the women business owners whose stories grace the pages of leading business magazines and top 25 lists. To get THERE success is an expectation not an option.
Let’s for a moment discard the negative connotation associated with the word “arrogant” and approach the term from a different perspective. Confidence is knowing you can do the job, it is believing in yourself and your abilities. Being confident in your business is knowing that you can stand tall against your competitors, that you can provide a quality service or product, that you can provide value to your customers. But arrogance is knowing you can take over the world! Arrogance is believing in yourself beyond your abilities. It is believing that there are no competitors on your level, that you provide a superior product or service, that you change your customers worlds.
Steve Job’s and what he has done with Apple is an example of that. Although there are other similar products Apple products are in a class of their own, they are priced at a premium and customers willingly pay the high price tag, and from the original The Apple I to today Apple’s products have revolutionized technology. Steve Job’s took over the (technology) world!
That level of unbridled confidence is infectious, people are drawn to it. People want to be a part of something big. Here are my five tips to embracing a little arrogance in your business:
- Toot Your Own Horn: Don’t be afraid to share your successes and accomplishments. Your past achievements can be the leverage that you need to move your business to the next level.
- Be Essential: Be the product or service that your customers can’t live without. Over the years customers have stood in line and sometimes camped out for iPhone, Air Jordans, Tickle Me Elmo, and Michael Jackson concert tickets. These brands, although not necessities, have become essentials. Position your brand as the ‘thing’ they can’t live without.
- Establish Your Prices & Stick to Them: If you know that you offer a premium product or service don’t be afraid to attach a premium price tag to it. A part of pricing is the buyers perception of the product or service they are purchasing.
- BE YOU!: So often as women business owners we adapt ourselves to fit into the mold that we believe the business and consumer communities expects of us. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who are confident enough in who they are to adapt their world to who they are. S. Truett Cathy chose to not open his Chik-fil-A restaurants on Sunday’s based on his Christian beliefs. People said he was crazy and that the restaurant would never succeed not being open on Sunday. Forty-five years later there are 1 ,606 restaurants in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
- Push the Envelope & Raise the Bar: When you truly believe that you can take over the world the possibilities are limitless. There is no “can’t”, no hesitation, no uncertainty, no glass ceiling. There is only the next step in the quest for greatness.
I am but one entrepreneur growing an empire that is still in its infancy but I AM taking over the world, one small business owner at a time, creating a new norm, influencing our countries economic environment, touching the lives of mothers, wives, daughters, men. I am building a legacy.
If you don’t already, every morning when you get up take a long look in the mirror. Look yourself in the eye, believe in yourself beyond your abilities. Believe that you have no competition, that you provide a superior product or service, that you change your customers worlds. Be arrogant, and love every minute of it! Life is too short to be mediocre!