Financial professionals get a bad rap. Known as introverted “bean counters,” we’re often expected to be quiet and unassuming, traits often considered deadly among entrepreneurs. When imagining self-made business moguls, like Donald Trump, most see them as loud, schmoozing, cajoling snake-oil salesmen, a stereotype that isn’t very fair to extroverts either. But can both introverts and extroverts be successful entrepreneurs?
Diane Helbig, Small Business Trends writer, argues that not only can introverts be successful, “Introverts Do It Better.” Helbig believes that introverts are better listeners, develop “deep, lasting relationships” with contacts, and are more deliberate in their decision-making processes.
A number of recent articles on the value of being introverted seem to echo Helbig’s claims. Bryan Janeczko, blogger for Score, recently posted a piece entitled “Introvert or Extrovert: Who’s a Better Entrepreneur?” In it he references Nancy Ancowitz, writer, business communication coach and self-proclaimed introvert, who noted several characteristics that aid introverts in becoming successful entrepreneurs, including deep thinking, thoughtful about the things they say and do, a greater inclination to engage in deep conversation, and a tendency to be calmer and more reflective.
But how do introverts learn to channel these business-building characters they may have never previously valued? Howard Greenstein, writer for Inc.com, says that introverts may need direction in applying their more reserved personality traits to the launching and management of their businesses. He suggests introverts do the following:
- Use their abilities as thoughtful researchers to become familiar with their market.
- Prepare what they say in advance so that speaking opportunities enable them to share thoughtful reflections of their business’s value.
- Ask for advice from other business owners.
- When developing those solid relationships with contacts, establish themselves as an expert.
Noted experts agree that introverts are not doomed to business failure. In fact, some of those characteristics that you may have thought plagued you as the quiet, shy kid may be just what’s needed to help your business stand out. Reflect on your strengths and determine how they can be used to build a solid financial practice.
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Greenstein, Howard. “Introverts as Entrepreneurs.” 10 March 2012 Inc.com
Helbig, Diane. “Introverts Do It Better.” 12 March 2012 smallbiztrends.com
Janeczko, Bryan. “Introvert or Extrovert: Who’s a Better Entrepreneur?” 28 March 2012 blog.score.org