What’s Your Business’ Personality?
Let’s face it – running a business is hard work. It was never meant to be easy, and if you thought it was then you probably shouldn’t be running a business. Just saying. The battle doesn’t get any easier when you have all kinds of opinions coming in on how you should run your business. I have read more articles on how to run a business than I care to recall (and probably written a few too… like this one) and I am convinced there is no clear cut answer.
However, I can tell you, that a few of those articles resonated with me more than others. And this is where the personality part comes in… You see, the articles that struck a chord were the ones that spoke about being yourself in your business and listening to your own instincts. After all, isn’t that why we wanted to start our own business in the first place?
But, the one hang up I’ve seen time and time again is always around the question of how much of your personality should you allow in your business and what type of personality should your business have?
We know there’s businesses that don’t have enough personality but can you have too much?
Yes, yes you can.
It’s difficult sometimes to determine the personality of your business and if that personality differs from your own. I don’t believe it’s possible to have a business that is bright and bubbly if you’re a grouchy, negative person however I do believe that it is possible to have a business that has a little be too much casual personality and not enough professional personality.
For many of us bloggers, our business is our personality. We speak from the heart, we share our stories and experiences and we are relatable.
For my business I love having a casual, conversational tone. I speak with my readers in the same way I would speak with my friends and this is the style that works for my business. It allows me to engage more with my readers (that’s you… see what I did there…?) and allows my readers to feel as though I am talking directly to them. Which is exactly what I want.
But this style doesn’t work for everyone. And there are so many styles. Here’s some of the distinct types, however don’t feel like you need to fall into one particular category. As with our personalities, there are so many different combinations and styles, you just need to find which works for you.
Casual and Conversational
Casual and conversational personalities suit businesses with a more relaxed type of feel. They are like talking to a bunch of your friends, they usually include sharing a few personal stories (like how much fun it is trying to put a toddler to bed, or that time I went to a blogging conference) and they use far more casual tones.
In terms of words used you’ll find a lot more first person references. I talk about myself and I talk about you. I also talk about how we can work together and how I can help you. You could imagine us sitting down having a coffee together (who am I kidding, it would be a glass of wine) and chatting about our ideas and goals for our businesses and for our lives.
When thinking of business structure and writing structure, casual and conversational businesses use less formal words, less formal sentence and paragraph structures and their text flows in the same way a conversation would. And you can even start sentences with the word ‘and’.
Formal and Professional
Formal and professional personalities are more often associated with businesses that offer professional services or more of a corporate environment. While this type of personality may also include some level of casual and conversational tone, the overall feel of this business is more formal. They’re not usually the kind of people you’d send an initial email to with a smiley face to sign off.
You may find that these businesses refer to themselves in third person when talking about the business as a whole or the individuals that it comprises of.
‘Kate has over ten years experience in business management and marketing and is skilled in creating marketing plans for her clients that drive results for their business’ has a completely different feel than; ‘I have over ten years experience in business management and marketing and would love to help you find the best marketing solution for your business.’ The delivery is a major distinguishing factor for this business personality.
Scientific and Factual
When I think of businesses with a scientific and factual style personality, I think a lot more along the lines of health and wellbeing coaches and medical style businesses. These are ones that have a legal responsibility to provide factual information and have guidelines in which they need to operate.
When encountering a business with this personality you’ll notice that they are talking completely in third person. This isn’t about experiences, it’s about studies and proven results. Their style of writing often mimics that of print studies and should always have references to their sources of information.
A small business that is entirely a scientific and factual personality is rare and this is usually one element of a business used to support other personality traits and establish oneself as an ‘expert’ in their field. This personality time can easily be integrated into either of the other personality categories.
It is perfectly acceptable to have a combination of any or all of the above personalities.
In addition to the type of personality you choose for your business, also take some time to think about the type of language you would like to use. What words do you feel are not a good suit to your business? What tone do you want to portray? There are some businesses out there who swear and cuss throughout their business and it works perfectly fine for them. There are others that would feel uncomfortable doing this.
If you’re having difficulty in narrowing down which personality type you think suits your business best then remember you can always change it. Try out a style that you like and measure the response you get, if you aren’t sure change it up and try again.
Initially my business started out very conversational and very personal, as do manny bloggers. Over time I’ve decided I wanted to incorporate a lot more of my business management experience into what I was doing and therefore added more of the ‘formal and professional’ style while still maintaining my casual tone.
As with ourselves, our business’ personality matures and changes over time. To help you determine what your business’ personality is I’ve created this worksheet for you. It has some questions and area’s to brainstorm to help you determine the best unique personality fit for your business.
I absolutely love talking business and would love to hear what your business is. Let me know in the comments below – What’s your business and what’s your business’ personality?