Sage Advice US

4 tips to become more likable and build your business

As a small business owner, you need to deal with many people each day, from customers to suppliers to peers.

Should you worry about what people think of you? If you want to build a successful business, you probably should.

In the book, Likeonomics: The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior and Inspiring Action, Rohit Bhargava argues that by becoming a trusted advisor to consumers, vendors, and others, you’ll see more success.

People decide whom to trust, what advice to heed and what to buy based on believability. Being more likable makes it easy for others to trust you, and more likely that they’ll do business with you.

But what makes someone likable? Here are a few key traits to learn:

Speak clearly and explain things in detail

Being a good listener is important, but the most likable people are actually very talkative. When you’re talkative, you never leave the listener wondering what you are thinking. You speak clearly and explain things in detail. This can make a difference with a new freelancer who is taking over a task in your business or a new client who isn’t sure how best to work with you. Provide more information than you think you need to—within reason!

Maintain consistency in your execution

Reliability is a big factor in whether or not people will choose to work with you. When you’re scattered, late and rushed, you’re less likely to be consistent and it can raise red flags for those that you work with. People want to know who they are dealing with, and what they can expect from you in terms of your response and your follow through. Owning a small business may be a personal passion project, but don’t let your personal feelings get in the way of being consistent.

Own your successes and be respectful

You can be an effective leader without projecting an air being better than everyone else. Your role as a leader should bring you a sense of accountability to serve others, and not be used as a position of prestige. While there is something really cool about seeing your name followed by “owner,” stay humble.

Show people you’re communicating with that you’ve walked in their shoes and understand their frustrations. Being in charge doesn’t mean being arrogant—that can set you apart from the very people you want to connect with. Likable people make you feel comfortable because they are relatable.

Be generous with your time, resources, and knowledge

Don’t hold back! When it comes to collaborating with other business owners, solving problems for clients or just listening to people with great ideas, be generous. Likable leaders are generous with their time, resources and knowledge. If you want to people around you to do well—whether they are vendors or clients—you need to give. Believe that other people’s success is your success.

You can take steps to be more likable. You’ll build trust, earn respect and be able to lead your business toward success!

Discover the secret sauce for small business success

With so many ingredients that go into a successful small business, it can be hard to nail down the right recipe for you. We've hand-selected contributors from various backgrounds who specialize in different aspects of business to share their best advice.  

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