Whatever business you are in, you are in the people business.
What do I mean by this? Well, as someone who has been an early stage angel investor in a number of tech-based businesses you might be surprised to see the above statement, but I wholeheartedly mean it.
Whether you have a brick and mortar store, you have a digital offering or you are a full-on tech business, in all of those instances you are still - first and foremost - a ‘people business’.
Yes, of course, we all buy into brands, companies and organisations - and it is imperative that, regardless of the scale of your organisation, you are building the perception of your brand - but, and it is a big but, even the biggest companies and organisations, are still people businesses.
Why? Because at the other end of your transaction there is usually a person.
Even if you are selling B2B and your corporation is selling to another corporation, the purchasing decision has - most likely - been made by a person, so ultimately those business-to-business purchases are people-led.
I find this is often forgotten and furthermore I actually find that people under appreciate the human element to a business interaction.
The reason why I was inspired to write this article this week is due to the fact that I recently had a conversation with a founder that I am looking to invest in and the chat we had reminded me how much we are all in the people business.
This guy has got an amazing innovation which could genuinely be the next billion dollar company, but I have bought into him as a person just as much as I have bought into the product.
As an investor, I only invest in people.
I have had some incredible business ‘opportunities’ that I will have walked away from because I didn’t like the people involved. Equally, I have backed start-ups that were in no way guaranteed success, because I rated the people and I knew what they could bring to the party.
So whether you are a product or service-based business remember you are in the people business.
The fact that I heavily weigh my decisions based on the people around a project means I have to protect my potential ‘blindspot’, so in a lot of instances I actually invest with a number of other partners who have opposing skill sets to me.
They solely invest based on the numbers; the forecasts, the data, the facts and the figures. I guess you could say that they invest in IQ not EQ, whereas I am the opposite.
Neither of these ways of investing is better or worse than the other by the way, but it is very important to understand that about yourself - truly know how you operate and, as I mentioned, to bring in people who add strengths to where you are potentially weak.
Just in case I haven’t hammered the point home enough I’ll end this article exactly how I started it… whatever business you are in, you are in the people business.