Can introverts really succeed in business?

Sometimes it can feels like the way you are wired can be your glory or doom. And you can feel that the people with the most magnetic persona and charismatic flair were just born to be leaders and pioneers. They seem to be made for business with the wonderful ability to step into the limelight, verbalise their passion and take the lead in heated conversations. Extroverts just seem to glow when they walk on stage – and the more people they captivate the more energised and exuberant they become! In fact, create a poll on who people think would make the best entrepreneurs and most will probably say it’s the extroverts. After all, introverts tend to shun the limelight and don’t feel that they sparkle in a crowd. They can often go silent at the exact moment when words ought to spontaneously close the argument and they can’t always compete when louder voices begin to take charge. And in a world where self-promotion can be high on its cards, it’s not hard for introverts to ponder whether they are actually cut out for the demands of business. Seriously. Can introverts really succeed in business? Do they really have what it takes? I think they can. And let me tell you why.

The problem with introverts?

One accusation often hurled at introverts is that introverts are just not peopley enough. It’s well understood that business is all about people and the more people you can connect with the greater the impact. And it’s often thought that introverts are just not great at that. After all, introverts aren’t ashamed to say they need space and time alone.

But rather than not being peopley – I’d like to propose that in reality, introverts are peopley. Just in a different way. When they are with others, an introverts’ default is to give others all they can. They might seem silent and unresponsive, but they are constantly listening and thinking and processing information. They can’t help it. They are wired to. And it might look like they are just sitting there like a lump. But in truth, they are like a super-computer often on hyper-drive – making connections in a most phenomenal manner. It’s no wonder that introverts are left drained and in need of respite. Introverts aren’t bad with people – they just like to uncover meaning and build in depth.

With that in mind, I’d like to highlight three important business facets that introverts are actually wired to excel in – no matter what the world tends to think.

1. Introverts can make awesome marketers

It is well appreciated that leader-up enterprises invest more in marketing than another other business resource. Although many might think of marketing as manipulation for money, marketing is all about connecting. In Church circles, it’s called evangelism. And it’s vitally important. If you can’t reach to those who need you, it won’t matter how awesome your offering is.

In the past, marketers have been seen as bullying and dishonest. People who will push and harass you. And although sadly, some do seem to work that way, that’s not the true heart of marketing. Marketing is all about offering a unique and working solution to an urgent pressing problem that increases the value of a life lived. And with their tendency to listen, think and take more of a back seat – introverts can be awesome marketers. For sure, some marketing platforms might feel harder for introverts to navigate through than others. The energy required for social media can seem huge – the pressure to engage on a world-wide platform and the constant flurry of small talk and ideas that just seem to ricochet off one person and the next. It can seem arduous especially with the move towards video and lives – where you must verbalise spontaneously as you sense the world stares at you intently. But the big premise of social media is friendship connection. Despite its unlimited and unbounded nature, authenticity and vulnerability are its heroes. The stuff introverts yearn for. And since businesses can only really shine when value is created and given it – value will always out-trump quantity. Now that’s an encouraging thought for introverts isn’t it?

In this digital age, where everything is accessible 24-7 you don’t need to be constantly exuberant and talkative. You just need to be intentional and consistent – and that’s one thing introverts gravitate to. Whatever marketing method you focus on – whether social media, email, referral, networking, website, affiliates – be intentional. And if you are struggling to find your voice figuratively – one of the most powerful ways of marketing that introverts can excel at is website marketing.

A great website requires a distillation of your most important information and relies heavily on content. Time taken to create content makes all the difference and coupled with the ability to house an opt-in or a blog, it’s can be highly strategic and powerful. With the ability to think critically, introverts can be heavy-weights in the blogging arena. No longer is the 200 word count the norm and 2000 words shunned. So, go feel free to deep if that’s how you are wired – whether it’s in two profound words or a longer article! Set yourself up as an expert in your field and write to empower others in a place where you don’t need to take center stage or feel like you’re in the limelight. And with the power to observe and process internally there’ll be a wealth of thoughts and ideas ready to burst out if you give yourself the time to let it. You don’t have to be loud and verbal to be heard. Be articulate and thought provoking – and cut through the competition with the way you think instead.

2. Introverts can be wise strategists

With the preference to think and listen, introverts have the potential to create effective and seriously thought-through business plans. And with the ability to connect up disparate thoughts just because they like to take time to think and explore, they could literally save a business from making big mistakes by highlighting any pitfalls and discrepancies. Although action can seem like everything in the business world where high-performance and speed can make or break a business – doing the right action at the right time in the right manner, matter first. Effectively goals and strategies can never be created without time taken to reflect and evaluate.

3. Introverts can make great leaders

With the tendency to empower and promote others without taking centre stage, and to listen and consider deeply, introverts have the potential to make truly awesome and respected leaders. Everybody knows that the greatest leaders are those who are most willing to serve and with their back-stage disposition, introverts can give others the freedom and permission to shine. In fact, Adam Grant – organizational psychologist, Wharton professor, bestselling author and leadership expert – postulated that introverts have the potential to make greater leaders than extroverts.

After all, with the ability to lead from the side, introverts can make excellent thought leaders – driving a single thought deep and uncovering its nuances so that individuals can make lasting change. And introverts can be profound influencers, joining the dot sand creating novel ideas that fuse things together, shaping culture in unexpected ways.

Following in the footsteps of introverts

Perhaps it’s important to remember that nobody succeeds in anything alone. But if you are an introvert navigating through the world of business, take heart. Even before you have the chance to build a team or network around you, there may be many challenges and expectation that you just won’t find simple or would fit into, but there are so many possibilities and avenues where you will. There are many introverts who have changed the business world in unimaginable ways – take for example Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett. Not to mention all the introverts who shaped the world outside the business realm like Einstein and Gandhi. And in a world dominated by noise, you can be the peace in the storm. So, go run your business like an introvert – and succeed!

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