My spouse/business partner and I are introverts. It may be a common assumption to assume most entrepreneurs are gregarious, outgoing, extroverts, however, the reality is entrepreneurs come in all sizes, shapes, and types, just like the general population. As introverts, it takes a long time for my partner and me to “warm up” to strangers, including clients, employees, vendors, etc. I rarely attend large social functions, including networking events that many people believe are crucial for business development, because I prefer to stay home and play rock and roll music on my bass guitar. It is important to note that neither my partner nor I are shy, anxious people; rather, we just value our inner solitude more than being around a crowd of people at a party. We carefully screen potential employees on this issue, taking care to inform them we are not going to engage in casual banter in the office. Our advice to people who want to work in a small office environment is to carefully observe the people for whom you work, to ensure your personality meshes with theirs. A well intentioned, but overpoweringly extroverted employee, will not work well with my partner and me unless he/she recognizes from the outset, that we, the owners of the company, prefer to do our work with as much quiet and concentration as possible.
It is difficult for me to socialize on the “cocktail party” or even lunch/dinner circuit. But, networking through these means has been important in the development of Magnus’ business. The key for me is meeting one or more like minded person and using that person as a “wing person” through which to meet more and more people. There are people who command a room and have a big presence. Then there are those of us more attuned to observing the others. Our jury research work involves a considerable amount of observational work, so this skill is useful in the “real” work of what we do which is why I do not refer to this mindset/personality trait as a limitation. It is important to know oneself well enough to understand what is comfortable, what is not, and when necessary, try to adapt. Some people are so introverted that they completely avoid others; that is rather impossible when running a business, of any size. Finding a comfort zone may take some time for the cocktail party circuit, but it is important to make the effort. In the office, the dynamics are different and staff compatibility by recognition of these differences is necessary to ensure a productive and harmonious work place.