Last week, I was at a conference in Las Vegas speaking about the importance of vision and core values to a group of entrepreneurs. What I realized, as I was talking about my own vision and core values, is that I kept coming back to the theme of authenticity. It’s authenticity that’s been driving my vision and my core values, especially as I create and build each new business. Being authentic means being real about who you are and translating that into your product or service.
Authenticity is important for three reasons:
1) It’s a reflection of you and it’s how you execute your passion. If you’re starting or running a business, there are just too many opportunities to ‘quit.’ If you’re not doing it because you’re able to express yourself, you’re unlikely to see it through successfully. Cash is low, customers are scarce, market conditions deteriorate, etc. They’re all present every day as you build your business. So, your authenticity will let you indulge your passion, while you follow your vision, and witness your core values in action.
2) It’s the only way that you can effectively compete, especially against big and established brands. It’s easier than ever to start a business, so getting noticed is going to depend upon you. By being authentic, you stand a greater chance of succeeding. Think about why reality TV, YouTube, and even blogs have proliferated and in some cases, gone viral with chatter around the globe. The simple reason is because they’re authentic. It’s real people doing real things.
3) It will lead to happiness. At least this was what marketing strategist Ivana Taylor says in her OPEN feature where she cites research linking authenticity to happiness. I believe it too, since I’ve found this to be the case from my own life experience. Authenticity does lead to happiness!
For me, I think about what’s authentic to me. I’m genuinely obsessed with building and creating. I express this through the businesses that I’ve started so that I can help people reach higher ground, whether it’s through healthy eating or starting a business. In each of these businesses, you’ll find genuineness coming through all that we do. We’re not perfect but we do our best and are continually striving to improve.
I think about when I first launched NuKitchen, the online diet service, and in our first months of operation, our food delivery van got into an accident. Nobody was hurt but none of our customers got their food that evening. People were upset – I was upset – but they understood because we took the time to email and call them to explain the situation. They knew that we were doing our best as a boutique business. Our authenticity translated into stellar customer service, which was a critical component of our customer experience.
In your own situation, think about what’s authentic to you and how you can translate that into your own business.
Keep me posted with your stories of authenticity.