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TCV Insights

Why Self-Image is Critical for Growing Your Business

By Jackie Luo, TCV Growth Partner-

Typically, when entrepreneurs think about growing their businesses, they think about strategy, operations, capital, and hiring the right people. Yes, these are essential. Without them, there is no business. But there is another question that entrepreneurs need to ask, “What does their image of their business look like?”

For example - Is it a multi-million-dollar businesses growing >30% annually? Or, Is it a small business that only provides a comfortable income?

Your answer to this question will influence what you do, who you hire, and how you show up every day - and will determine the results you achieve.

If you are truly honest about your answers, you will find out that the image you hold of your business is also a reflection of the image you hold of yourself. The truth is that our self-image determines the boundaries of our achievements in everything, including wealth, career success, and family life. So before you decide what you want from your business, you need to understand your self-image.

In 1960, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon, wrote a book called “Psycho Cybernetics”. In this book, he said “the opinion you have of yourself will always be reflected to the world around you and it will manifest in the results that you achieve in life.”

Do you ever wonder why some companies can grow consistently for years, but some seem to be stuck in a certain revenue range? These companies may be competing in the same industry, so the external market conditions are similar. Also, the people in these companies, from CEOs to managers, all seem to be working very hard. However, the results are very different. Why? If you look closer at the companies and the people working in the companies, and observe how they relate to each other, you will know why. It has a lot to do with the self-image.

Some Considerations:

1. What do the company’s leaders believe about the business? How does the leadership team show up in meetings? Do they believe in their vision about the business? Do they communicate confidently about their strategy and goals? Do they set high but achievable goals? Do they provide constructive feedback to the team in a supportive way?

2. What do individual teams, whether in customer support or sales, believe about the business? How do the members show up collectively? Do they share the same goals and habits? Do they believe in the team’s capabilities? Do they trust each other? When the teams meet on Zoom calls, do they turn on cameras? Do they dress professionally on camera? Do they look at each other?

3. What does the sales team believe about the business? In sales, self-image directly correlates to the win ratio. Sales performance can vary widely within the team, and it has a lot to do with the individual sales associate’s self-image. Some believe they belong to the million-dollar club, while others are content with achieving their $50K monthly quota. These different self-images manifest in how they manage their prospecting activities, prepare for sales presentations, and negotiate contracts.

Companies have self-images. Individuals have self-images. Companies tend to attract people with similar self-images, who tend to have similar beliefs and working habits. That’s also known as the “culture”. Culture is a collection of attitudes, beliefs, and habits. We all know a company’s culture is critically important. It can make or break a business. Self-image is a key ingredient to the company’s culture. When a company or a team consists of individual members who share a consistently high goal and confidence in its achievement, they not only can create the results they want, they can also achieve miracles.

Whether you are thinking about starting a business or believe its time for a pivot, don’t forget to take some time to create a self-image of yourself and your company. Make sure they are congruent. That self-image will become the guide for the strategy you choose, the people you hire, and ultimately the results you achieve.


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