Is Extroversion A Must-have Trait For Business Owners?
Do extroverts make better business owners?
As Shopify partners, we meet a lot of different entrepreneurs. They are people with exceptional communication skills. People with creative ideas. People who put ideas to action with few hiccups. People who are formal, private, and somewhat guarded in their approach to business. People who love to talk. People who love to listen. People who know what they want in business and those who have only a few murky ideas. People who make big things happen quickly and with little effort. People who struggle to grow their ideas.
We’ve also identified this very important fact about business ownership:
No entrepreneur is an entrepreneur because they have to be.
People start businesses because they want to, for various reasons. For some, it’s about escaping the doldrums of the Monday to Friday, nine to five corporate world that regards micromanaging as a motivating force welcomed by all those striving to climb the ladder.
For others, business ownership is about finding a solution to a problem with which they’ve been personally confronted. (For example, one of our past clients started a Shopify store selling e-bikes because they were tired of having to negotiate traffic every day just to get to work. By innovating their own custom-made e-bike business, they found a solution to their transport issue and eliminated the need to get to the office every day).
Some people start ecommerce shops because they want to improve a product that’s already hot on the market. They start with a popular-selling item, collate all variations of it available in the market and subject them to extreme scrutiny, develop a list of common features, and find the holes––essentially, what’s missing or what could be improved. That’s their starting point.
Further, some people start a Shopify ecommerce business because they want to offer a service: Life coaching, tutoring, investment advice, plumbing services, the list goes on.
The point is that every business owner makes a choice to be an entrepreneur, and the reason doesn’t matter as much as the actions that follow.
What Traits Define A Successful Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship requires charisma, leadership, and an outgoing nature, right? Well, not necessarily. Certainly, successful business ownership is associated with such traits but it is not defined by them.
That effective business owners are a certain type of person is a myth.
Forbes, a well-known global media company focused on business, identifies four common aspects of successful entrepreneurs: they start strong, they constantly seek new customers, they invest in their business, and they work hard. In another separate article, they identify 13 essential skills and traits of successful business owners, including a willingness to sacrifice, having a realistic understanding of onself (knowing where your “heroic potential” thrives), and resilience, which they describe as the ability to bounce back from hard knocks (see 1 & 2).
Notice this important distinction:
It’s not about who you are but what you do that defines your success or failure.
That means virtually anyone can become an entrepreneur if they approach the task with the right mindset and willingness to develop critical skills and behaviours. If you’re motivated to learn, work hard, and play with risk, then rewards await. (Indeed, some would say those are the rewards in and of themselves.)
There is a common misconception though that only extroverts can be successful business owners––those with charisma, an outgoing social nature, and leadership potential. Those people who know what they want and aren’t afraid to go after it. This isn’t far from the truth, it’s just plain wrong! Before we debunk that widespread myth, let’s clarify the difference between introvert and extrovert.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, an introvert is a shy, reticent person. An extrovert, on the other hand, is an outgoing, overtly expressive person. Realistically though, no one is either all introvert or extrovert. We all have characteristics of both, which means it’s possible to build upon the traits that are under-developed.
For example, in social situations, introverts can practice speaking up and breaking through that discomfort. Extroverts can practice the fine art of silence and listening to others. We can also capitalise on those dominant characteristics that help us identify as either introvert or extrovert. In effect, we can use our inherent talents and strengths as catalysts for achieving our self-defined goals.
Beth Buelow, acknowledges this in her book, The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms. She argues that by honing their natural strengths, those who lean a little more to the introverted side of the spectrum can achieve more without having to become some they’re not. She makes a cardinal point: “It’s not about becoming a fake extrovert… it’s really about acknowledging the valuable traits that introverts bring.”
For example, introverts are typically contemplative and thorough in their approach. They tend to think before they speak and plan before they act. In our experience as Shopify website designers for ecommerce in Dublin, these are prudent skills for developing effective solutions to problems that plague every type of business.
Knowing who you are and what you’re good at is key. However, it’s often not until we plunge into the world of business ownership that we even realise what our dominant traits are and where we lie along that spectrum of introversion-extroversion. Indeed, we may also be extroverted in some contexts but not in others. If starting an ecommerce business is a new venture for you, then all the signs of introversion may come knocking, such as the need for extra time making decisions or quiet solitude to concentrate (even if you normally consider yourself an extrovert).
Running a business will always confront us with our weaknesses. It will also clarify our strengths.
Remember this: nature doesn’t define our success or failure. Context intersects with who we are and the actions we take. A tendency toward introversion may be helpful for predicting our behaviours in certain contexts, but it doesn’t have to dictate them. You can work past your introversion by working with it. Look at Elon Musk, who was once an introverted and unassuming engineer and is now one of the world’s most well-known business magnates.
Whatever stage of business ownership you’re at, you’re always learning, struggling to meet challenges, and enjoying both small and big wins. If technical or strategic issues arise at any point, we’re here to help. We’re ecommerce website specialists and Shopify experts, and we offer a free 20-minute Shopify strategy call to help you boost your business. Call us today.
- What Do Successful Entrepreneurs Have In Common?
- 13 Essential Skills And Traits Of Successful Business Owners
April 12, 2021