There is so much to be learnt from a child. Their curiosity, imagination, uniqueness and sense of adventure are to be admired. As we evolve into adulthood we tend to misplace these fundamental traits. We live in a fast-paced world, where we are constantly bombarded with messages about how we should be which inevitably leaves us comparing ourselves to those around us. Our sense of self can at times become distorted. We may look to others for approval and start emulating or adopting characteristics that are not aligned to who we really are. The importance of distinguishing what authentically defines us amongst the demands around us is essential for our own success and happiness.

When embarking on an entrepreneurial quest your inner child may guide you in the first phase. It is a magical time. You feed your curiosity by examining why potential gaps exist, you start to create, imagine and identify innovative solutions. Your uniqueness shines through in your approach to your business and you understand the need to be bold and adventurous as you take calculated (hopefully) risks to put your vision into action. However, somewhere down the line, the deeper you go, the niggling lure to imitate others and act in ways inconsistent to your core motives can lead you swiftly astray.

Authenticity is crucial to business. It is what sets your business apart from the masses. Affluent entrepreneurs often caution that compromising authenticity can derail the triumph of any enterprise. Authenticity provides a humanistic viewpoint. It is what connects and resonates with customers. Customers are often looking for a genuine and wholesome experience; they will bypass insincerity opting for honesty in a heartbeat.

Business authenticity often derives from the person who started it up, the business owner, maintaining a sense of self through the entrepreneurial journey takes some soul searching and commitment but the results are more than worth it.

There are five simple strategies to allow your authenticity to shine through your business and ensure it keeps its innocence and edge:

1. Know your W’s.

Truly understanding ‘who’ you and your customers are, ‘what’ you are trying to achieve and inspire, ‘when’ the optimal time is to take necessary steps, ‘where’ you intend on building your business and ‘why’ your business exists in the first place is paramount to authenticity. Of all the W’s ‘why’ is the most significant to entrepreneurs, it dictates your purpose, mission and encompasses your values.

2. Be consistent with your values.

Consistency is key. Mixed messages can frustrate customers and unhinges authenticity. Your values are integral to your business and your ‘why’. Making decisions consistent with your businesses values and identity will enhance its reputation and authenticity.

3. Trust your gut.

Authenticity means being aware and trusting your feelings and inner compass. Make decisions based on what inspires you and your business. When you feel positive and passionate about a decision this will be evident in your business.

4. Treat your customers like your tribe.

Get to know your customers. They are key to your success and should be nurtured as such. Be courteous, enthusiastic, respectful, transparent and accountable in how you interact with them, as you would with those dearest to you. Give them a glimpse of your personality and character. Behaving one-way with your tribe and another with your customers is inauthentic.

5. Recharge and Rejuvenate.

Authenticity starts with you. As much as it is important to be there for your business it is equally, if not more, important to switch off and rejuvenate your spirit. Spend time discovering the different layers of your character and enjoy blissful moments of solitude. Continuously giving without recharging can leave you with nothing more to authentically give. Let the traits of your inner child dictate and honour the real you.