I am pure authentic, me. Really, I am.
When it comes to small business, I am the real deal. I am 100% pure in heart, mind and practice. Except, of course, I’m not. What I am is 100% pure human business being – flaws, foibles, failings and all. If that makes me genuine and brimful of authenticity, then kaboom! All sorted.
I know it sounds weird, coming as I do from the honest and sincere school of entrepreneurial integrity, but what worries me is authenticity. I’ve got no problem whatsoever with the real McCoy, in fact, I adore authentic authenticity, there’s just nothing better, in business, and life. It’s artificial authenticity I cannae be doing with. PVC-coated, fake-tanned, polyester versions of the genuine article make all those widespread claims to authenticity somewhat inauthentic.
‘Course, it matters not that it’s driving this wee wordmsith right round the enterprise bend, its march is relentless. Yup, small biz authenticity is absolutely everywhere. If I hear that word one more time at networks and meetings, I swear I’m gonnae have a fit of the heebies. It’s the business descriptor of choice, the flavour of the month, the must-have entrepreneurial accessory. Its widespread prevalence makes claims for provenance and believability in business which surely stretches the limits of credibility to snapping point. I’ve heard it applied to everything from consultancy to mass produced soup. (My personal fave was one very persistent company wallah making grand claims at the top of his pipes on the Glasgow to Edinburgh train about the authenticity of his well-known company’s brand of Scotch broth. C’mon fella, my gran’s cullen skink p’raps, but soup in a can?)
Look, I get it, I do. What sounds like artificial ad-speak to me might be utterly authentic to you. And anyway, promoting authenticity just has to be done, especially when you’re paid by the boss to do all the promotional schtick. I take my hat off to those who peddle products and services which ain’t all that hot. It cannot be easy when you don’t share the vision or have genuine belief. So no, I’m not mocking authenticity or even good intentions towards being genuine and true, jeez, my whole business offering is based on those very principles. It’s just that authenticity is beginning to sound simply tacked on. It’s unreal, man.
And another thing. If being authentic means “just be yourself”, buyer beware. I dunno ’bout you, but I’ve got several selves, and some are certainly not suitable for public display, let alone the cut and thrust of commerce and trade. There are times when just being myself would kibosh client relations good and proper.
Having said that, I deffo want to be real. I aim to be credible, trustworthy and utterly authentic. As I’ve said since start-up, I am what I say on the tin. And that’s not cock and bull, it’s pure cock-a-leekie.