The thought of running your own business is exciting and the rewards can be amazing. One thing many onlookers do not see on the surface is the hard work, dedication, blood, sweat, limbs, tears and an ocean of passion that goes into everything behind the scenes.

Owning your own business is often portrayed as glamorous and smooth sailing, but in reality this is rarely ever the case!  The girls from The Business Experiment decided it was about time someone tackled the disconnect from reality and talk about, not only the REAL of being in business, but also the advantages of being real in business.

Here are our top 5 reasons why it’s crucial to be REAL in business.

Individuality is your competitive advantage. There are tonnes of businesses out there that are likely doing something similar to what you are, but there is only one you. Trying to be someone you are not, someone people tell you “you should be” or replicate someone else’s success is frankly exhausting. Being true to yourself, understanding your strengths, areas for development and differentiators are essential. Being the real you is vital to your business success. It enables you to carve out your niche, identify who your ideal clients are and make your mark. You are more likely to find likeminded people, clients and peers by being your authentic self. It’s also important to be real about what your shortcomings are so you can develop them, outsource them or find a way around them. Finding your true self can sometimes be difficult on your own and is generally an evolving journey. It’s important to think about what kind of assistance you might need along the way to help you get there (for example, coaching, mentoring and training).

Make real connections with people. In an increasingly disconnected world, people want to connect with real people. Social media is a great platform to connect the world but the true beauty here lies in the real. People are tired of the insta-fake. Real is the new black. Think about how you can make more authentic connections with your market – they want to feel like they can relate to you. They want to understand the person behind the brand. They want to understand that you truly care about giving them the results they need. Even if you are selling products, as opposed to services, people care about where their products come from. They care about how using or wearing your product makes them feel – it’s the experience you give them and how that ultimately benefits their life and business. People also care about how businesses treat their staff, volunteers, suppliers, other customers, competitors and the environment. Be authentic about what your business offers and stands for. Some people say business isn’t personal. We disagree. When you are in your own business – you are the brand. Be real.

Find your own real way. We decided to be real in business because there is so much misinformation out there about what it really takes to be successful in business. People are bombarded with “proven steps to success”, “follow my formula”, “eat an apple a day”, “get 1 million instagram followers” type tips and tonnes of gurus promising the world and a lot of lost, disillusioned people trying to figure out why they are failing. WE ARE ALL FAILING. The best of us are and always have – it’s the best way to success. It’s how you learn what works for you (and what doesn’t work). We’re not saying these tips and formulas are blanket not helpful – people do have success with them, of course. What we are asking you to do is stop and think about what it is that YOU need to grow your business. Personally we have found that the best and hardest thing about starting your own business for the first time is that you have to find – or make – your own way. One size fits all approaches are not the right approach for everyone. The quicker you become comfortable with being uncomfortable and trusting yourself to make the right decisions on what is going to work for your business, the less time you spend focused on what everyone else is doing and the more you can focus on what you’re doing.

Talk the real talk. Let’s ditch the pre-rehearsed elevator pitches and get real when we’re talking to people. Being in business is not about trying to “convince” people or “trick” people into thinking what you’re all about is great. You are already great – to the right people! Not everyone is going to dig your vibe and that’s cool. Trying to be someone for everyone is frankly exhausting! Let’s try talking about who we really are, what we really stand for, what we really offer and how it really benefits people. We challenge everyone to stop walking up to other people at networking meetings and immediately asking them what they do. We want to hear about who you are, your journey and then tell us what you do. If you say you are going to do something, do it. Be proactive with taking business cards and getting in touch with people/sending them that resource you spoke about/connecting them with others. This also applies for if you are in need of some support. Business has some amazing highs and some crashing lows. Find someone you trust who you can talk real with about how things are going. It’s important that this person is someone who can understand and empathise with the entrepreneurial journey, can offer support and help when you ask them and has your best interests at heart. The best part is you don’t have to go through this alone.

Find Real Positivity. Leading on from our first tip about understanding your true self is the ability to keep a strong positive mindset. It’s one of the most important elements to being in business. Throughout this journey you will be building resilience as you encounter success, failure, rejection, criticism, praise and lots of people telling you what you “should” be doing. If you have people telling you that you can’t or you’re constantly tell yourself that you can’t, you’re going to start believing you can’t and limit your potential. Be very conscious of who you surround yourself with, what you read, listen to and the messages you absorb on a daily basis. Pick those that most resonate with what you need throughout your journey, which will change as your business evolves. Focusing on the positive, rather than the negative is a crucial element for development. That said, it’s important to be real about what the positives and negatives are, sticking your head in the sand is never a good idea. Focus on finding solutions to problems, rather than the problems themselves!