Once you have a business up and running, the only logical thing to do next is to grow. For a few lucky ones, this may come easily. But for the majority of entrepreneurs, growing is a truly painstaking process.

As such, many believe the secret to startup success is being shatterproof. But these days it is quite the opposite – those entrepreneurs who are willing to let their guard down publicly are the ones who are winning the race.

Surprising as it is, vulnerability is your startup’s main strength. You know why?

  1. It draws business connections toward you

Strong relationships are built on trust, and people trust those who are authentic and aren’t afraid to reveal their vulnerable side. When you’re honest and open, it is easier to win over business connections and people who can help your business flourish.

Clients and investors know it is natural to feel a little self-doubt or to make mistakes now and then. So when you own up to your weaknesses and fix your faults, the people you are trying to hide them from will appreciate your honesty. Acknowledging your limitations and being honest in your dealings help build clients’ trust as it shows you are not just trying to impress them.

  1. It humanises your brand

It is easier for people to sympathise with a brand if they can connect with it on a personal level. So by telling your brand story around your struggles and how you managed to overcome them – without omitting the parts where you failed, you’ll earn a lot of credit for taking the challenge head on and calling a spade a spade.

If you notice, some of the most successful business leaders today (e.g. Bill Gates, Sophia Amoruso and J.K. Rowling, to name a few) aren’t perfect and have been through some lows before they achieved success. In fact, flawed characters are often more inspiring and engaging because everyone knows for a fact that humans are never perfect.

When you speak freely about your failures as you do about your successes, you are essentially letting people know you didn’t get to where you are unscathed. Being vulnerable makes you more relatable because a lot of other people go through the same struggles.

  1. It promotes growth

Business leaders have a rap for being self-assured and detached. While these traits help them keep their focus on the big picture and maintain an objective mindset, it builds a hierarchy that stifles opinions and eventually breeds discontent in employees.

Nowadays, startups succeed because their founders are genuinely open to their employees’ opinions and are honest about the company’s status. They connect with their employees on a personal level and builds trust among their teams. As a result, their employees are more involved and dedicated to growing the company. Archana Parchirajan, founder of Indian tech startup Hubbl which was later acquired for $14 million, demonstrates how this can be achieved.

Vulnerability is when you care about the personal struggles your employees are going through, such as a child not well or a loss in their family. It can also be asking someone for help, reaching out to a troubled staff member, or taking responsibility for a task that went wrong.

Conclusion

Vulnerability does not always mean being weak or submissive. On the contrary, it implies that you are brave enough to acknowledge that you’re imperfect like everyone else. It takes a lot of courage to show weakness, especially when people look up to you, but it ultimately makes you more likable and authentic.