August 14: Authenticity

On August 14, 2018, we began a new era of Start Something, Columbia! The show will now be anchored by Dr. Kasie Whitener of Clemson Road Consulting and Shennice Cleckley, The Ultimate Mompreneur. Here are the show notes:

Brought to you by the Women’s Business Center of South Carolina at Columbia College

Theme for the day:

We started a new book this month, The E Myth Revisited, and today’s topic is “Authenticity”

Agenda review:

  • Hear from the 1MC Presenter for tomorrow – Parker Moore of Tux on Trux
  • Authenticity
  • Talk about The E Myth and this topic
  • Review upcoming events for this week

Get the Podcast!

The Start Something, Columbia! podcast is ready for download and subscribing. *Note this episode does not have a podcast version as the studio was struck by lightening the day before this aired and the microphones weren’t working. Sorry!*

umbrellas art flying
Photo by Adrianna Calvo on

Segment 1:

Tomorrow at 1MC — the best free event for entrepreneurs in Columbia — we’ll welcome Parker Moore of Tux on Trux. He’s with us on the phone.

Let’s talk about the problem Tux on Trux is solving

How long have you been doing Tux on Trux?

What’s your target market, audience? And how are you reaching them?

What do you hope to get from your 1MC appearance tomorrow?

Segment 2

Topic: Authenticity

What is authenticity? It’s kind of a buzzword these days. It’s about being yourself, finding your tribe, knowing there is an audience out there for whatever it is you’re creating.

Why does authenticity appeal to entrepreneurs?

What are the advantages of authenticity for entrepreneurs?

This article on is actually by an Ellevate writer so that’s cool. She says authenticity helps at work and because bloggers love lists, there’s a list:

  • Being authentic can help you stand out.
  • Being authentic allows you to build genuine relationships.
  • Being authentic motivates you.
  • Being authentic enables you to be self aware.

Karen Goldin writing for gives us this great article on authenticity. She gives us another list — a “How to” list:

  1. Love what you do. — lots of businesses are started by founders solving a personal problem about which they are very passionate.
  2. Hire authentic people — she interchanges authenticity with passion here, saying passionate people are more valuable than experienced ones.
  3. Acknowledge your weaknesses — being open about where you need help and getting that help shows your subordinates that you’re willing to grow and rely on others.
  4. Talk to everyone — not sure this applies in a solopreneur biz, but we consider it a key part of the Women’s Business Center operations
  5. Make authentic customer connections — genuine channels of communication with your target market; how have we done this?

Is authenticity just another marketing buzzword?

What brands are doing it well?

Is it a niche strategy or can big brands be authentic, too?

I was tempted not to include this article because it begins with “Nowadays” which I tell my students isn’t a word and shouldn’t begin anything. But here it is anyway because it talks about these three keys to authenticity:

  • Transparency — being open and honest with customers
  • Trust — be real about the value you bring to customers
  • Unique Experience — a brand that stands out in one way or another, offering something different and memorable.

Neil Patel puts it this way:

“being authentic means staying true to who you are, what you do and who you serve.”

  • Be real
  • Be charitable
  • Be consistent
  • Back up what you say.

Emilie Aries interviewed Tonya Rapley for Forbes and called the article “The Authenticity Asset.” It’s a great Q&A style piece. Rapley is an African American blogger on financial freedom; her mission is to help women who look like her achieve financial freedom. She says millennials are disillusioned with the institutions the generations before them thought of as stable (like work and retirement). Her writing — her own perspective, speaking to people like her — has earned her 30,000 readers and she’s helped those readers pay off more than $200k of debt. So get it.

Rapley says,

“Unpredictable setbackslike that are inevitable in every business, but they’re also opportunities for learning and growth. That loss forced me to develop multiple streams of strong revenue for my business, and now that’s something I teach all my entrepreneurial clients who are in the midst of financially preparing to become their own boss.

William Barnet, writing for Harvard Business Review, says it’s easy to be a nonconformist when that’s what’s expected of you. Silicon Valley, for example, wants entrepreneurs. To find the real nonconformists, you have to go where entrepreneurship is unpopular.

Is it easy to be an entrepreneur in Columbia?

Should it be?

The London School of Business saysthat authenticity is needed more than ever in business after so many big-company scandals and failures plagued the last decade. But the article warns that “Be Yourself” isn’t enough. Leadership requires skills that can be taught but must be employed and they built a diagram with an X axis of “skill” and a Y axis of “authenticity” and suggested leaders ought to strive to have both in high amounts.

That article also warns that while people say they want to work someplace where they can be themselves, companies that want to create that environment should be purposeful about it. They use the acronym DREAMS: Difference (which is really diversity), Radical honesty (transparency), Extra value (engaging everyone’s strengths), Authenticity (company has principles and sticks to them), Meaning (day-to-day work is meaningful), and Simple rules (eliminate bureaucracy and silly regulations).

How Authenticity Can Make or Break Your Small Business:

  • Don’t be obsessed with making a profit
  • Let your love for your craft show
  • Surround yourself with authentic people
  • Establish core values and stick with them.

Ready to support the Women’s Business Center of SC? Click here to donate.

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