The Introvert Entrepreneur : How to be a Successful One

For most people, the term introvert is synonymous with shy or quiet, but a shy nature is not indicative of introversion. An introvert does need quiet time to themselves, just as an extrovert needs at least occasional group events. However, it may surprise you to learn that some of the best public speakers are introverts. What makes them so great is their ability to focus, their attention to detail, and their ability to speak on a subject that interests them at length. Introverts aren’t fond of small-talk that doesn’t accomplish a purpose, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like to talk.

Introverts make great CEO’s for those same reasons. Their social interactions, if properly managed, will always work toward achieving a specific goal. They make great leaders because of their need to understand, and then respond to, employees. Just as charismatic extroverts have strengths, so do keenly intelligent introverts. Today’s introverted entrepreneur will succeed in every endeavor when they learn to use their personality traits to their advantage.

Be an Attentive Leader

Image via Flickr by Maryland GovPics

Extroverted leaders tend to rise through the ranks by taking initiative, always craving the spotlight and reaching ever higher for recognition. An introverted leader has a unique, natural talent that offers them the opportunity to rise higher; their observation skills help them seem the best in their fellow workers. There is no better way to improve yourself and your business than to lift your employees up. Not only does this ensure you have top-notch workers, but they’ll be more loyal for it.

When managing a small group of workers, an introvert will naturally learn as much as they can about each individual so that they can properly delegate tasks in a way that ensures the best results. This is an opportunity introverts can use to form stronger working relationships as they are ascertaining a person’s level of skill. When an employee is particularly impressive, the introverted supervisor is not likely to forget.

Find a Compatible Extroverted Partner

To continue with the point above, introverted CEOs can further those business relationships with one-on-one business lunches. If said CEO happens to find a great employee with great people skills, a trait many extroverts possess, they would do well to team up with that person for future networking opportunities.

When the company requires outsourced work, it pays to have a charismatic partner go with you to meetings with contractors and such. Many introverts are upfront and won’t waste their time trying to get a better deal. An extroverted partner who is willing to haggle on behalf of your business is an invaluable asset.

Extroverts often have a large network of acquaintances, and can find a better match or price for the job. The introverted businessperson will likely have a smaller circle of associates with which they are much more familiar. While the confidence you gain when working with someone you know is invaluable, you won’t always know someone who can do the work you need.

Manage Events to Keep Social Interactions Small

Many introverts dread yearly company dinners, social events wherein everyone from every department mingles. When properly arranged, introverts can actually enjoy the time spent with their co-workers or employees. This is important for the introverted CEO because just as it’s crucial to know your employees, they need to know you.

When making arrangements for a caterer or open bar, set up small areas that are spread apart from one another. If a table is only big enough to serve desserts, only two or three people can serve themselves at a time. This makes conversation easier for the introvert because you avoid over-stimulation. Make sure to have plenty of signage around to clearly mark where each station is. Many introverts will go without before asking where to find food, bar or restrooms. You can have personalized vinyl banners made with your company logo to add to the décor of the event as well.

Set tables with plenty of space to move between, and with no more than three or four chairs at each. Dining with only three others at your table also helps prevent social burn-out. And if you’re an introvert, you’ll know exactly what that term means for you. For those who don’t know, it means an early exit and an awkward explanation. Avoid that by keeping social interactions small.

Enjoy the Company of Your Employees

Extroverts do well meeting workers for drinks on a Friday afternoon, but introverts tend to balk at the prospect of a small space filled with a lot of people. In most cases, that’s exactly what drinks after work on a Friday night means. With a little planning ahead of time, that kind of social interaction doesn’t have to be unpleasant for introverts. If you’d like to take part in social outings, initiate events on your own terms.

Just as you would with company events, keep the extracurricular activities small-scale. Invite one or two of your employees out to dinner or for drinks, and rotate those invitations to include them all at some point or other. Segment your workers into groups according to personal interests, especially those with whom you have something in common. You’ll be much happier discussing a familiar topic with a small group.

Pencil in Some “Me Time” Daily

The biggest difference between introverts and extroverts is how they “recharge” at the end of the day. Everyone needs some quiet from time to time, but introverts need it daily. Whether you’re sequestered in a home office, curled up with a good book on the sofa, or taking a nap, make that downtime a priority.

When you allow yourself this time to recharge, not only are you better ready to face tomorrow because you’re rested, but you also have that bit of peace to look forward to throughout the day. Even if you’re having a particularly bad day at work, take solace in a half-hour of silence. Those few minutes can go a long way.

Being an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful entrepreneur. In fact, you have several qualities that can make you one of the best. Allow yourself to fully embrace your introversion, and use your strengths to your advantage.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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