A new report of over 1,000 small business owners and decision makers by Hitachi Capital Business Finance has found that extrovert-run businesses are more likely to be growing in the current environment, and more likely to have plans to win more business in 2021.
According to the results, almost two in five (37%) extrovert bosses said their businesses were growing, compared with a quarter (27%) of introvert bosses. Introvert-run businesses were more likely to say they were carrying on as usual (52% vs 44%), while the proportion saying their businesses were contracting or struggling was the same for each personality type (19% for each).
The research also found that the proportion of extrovert bosses with active plans to win more business in 2021 was higher than introvert bosses. More than four in five of extrovert bosses (86%) said they had plans to bring in new leads or customers, compared with 79% of introvert bosses.
The areas where extrovert bosses were significantly more likely than introvert bosses to be hunting for new business included:
Social media: extrovert bosses were found to be a third more likely to be using social media such as LinkedIn to find opportunities (20% vs 15%).
Face-to-face interaction: One in six (18%) extrovert bosses said they were arranging online face-to-face meetings with potential customers and clients (vs 12% of introverts). Extroverts were also more likely be looking to join business networks or online seminars, actively ring up people out of the blue or ask their friends and families if they know of any opportunities.
Raiding their competitors’ clients: Extroverts were found to be more likely to say they would approach their competitors’ existing clients for leads and opportunities. By contrast, introverts were more likely to scout for their competitor’s former clients.
Taking a financial risk: Extroverts were more likely to take a financial punt than introverts. 24% planned to spend money on marketing to build up their brand reputation (vs 21% of introverts), while a further some planned to put out mass mailers.
By contrast, introvert bosses were significantly more likely to say they had no plans to win new business in 2021 (21% vs 14%). They were also more likely to say the strategy to win more business was simply to ‘let their work speak for itself’.
Joanna Morris, Head of Marketing and Insight at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, commented: “The pandemic has presented small businesses with a range of challenges, testing business leaders in different ways. Every twist and turn over the last year has presented bosses with a new crisis to deal with, fire to put out or opportunity to seize. This high-pressure scenario, involving high levels of risk and finding confidence to navigate through the uncertainty, is suited to some bosses more than others. However, the pandemic will pass, and when stability returns the playing-field will change again. Carefully researched, cautious decision making – often associated with introverted bosses – also has distinct advantages particularly in the long term.
“Business is a marathon, not a sprint. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation, and the people that work within it, is the first step in building long-term sustainable growth. There is increasing awareness of the different personalities that make up a company, and the attributes they can offer. Businesses that embrace this, and use this to their advantage, will reap the benefits over time.”