Peter Kozodoy, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member from New York, is an author, speaker, serial entrepreneur, and Partner/Chief Strategy Officer of GEM Advertising, a full-service communications and marketing agency. In an earlier post, he shared why likeability is his No. 1 business strategy. Here, he explores how to boost likeability to position your business for success.

In an earlier post, I revealed likeability as my No. 1 business strategy, thanks in part to the wisdom of fellow EO member and New York Times bestselling author, Dave Kerpen.

Ironically, it was another New York Times bestseller who helped solidify the concept for me. I spoke with writer and podcaster, Lewis Howes, about the importance of continual self-development. I asked, "If you could make one change to our society, what would it be?"

His answer: "Self-love."

Lewis posits that the reason behind most conflict, anger and frustration is that people don't understand themselves. He says people beat themselves up, compare and judge themselves against others, and attack other people because they don't love themselves for who they are.

That's pretty deep. His response means that loving who we are is essential for developing into the likeable people we must be in order to overcome business hurdles and truly succeed.

I agree wholeheartedly with Lewis, which is why my upcoming book addresses the importance of self-honesty in achieving both personal and professional success. Likeability, it turns out, starts with the self. If you don't like yourself, your likeability -- and by extension, your brand's likeability and ongoing success -- will always be an uphill battle.

In fact, it's critically important to realize that the concept of likeability extends to your brand.

Consider this example: As I was writing this post, I got a call from my bank. They noticed I had moved when a piece of mail bounced back, and called because I needed to update my address.

Isn't that nice? The bank called to help me change my address! Wow: great customer service, right? Well, not as it turned out.

Yes, they called to let me know that my address was outdated. However, the representative couldn't change it, even though she called me. She couldn't even transfer me to someone who could. Instead, I had to go online. To an account I hadn't logged into in ... forever. Password long forgotten, I got locked out. I called back, spent 20 annoying minutes in their phone tree, then finally got a human -- who could give me my login information to change my address online, but still couldn't change the address for me.

As you can imagine, the whole ordeal didn't increase the bank's likeability from my standpoint. At all.

The point is, businesses -- like people -- have a likeability factor. That factor fluctuates based on how the business behaves, what it does, how it does it, who works there, the logo color, and myriad other reasons.

Please know that it took me years to figure out how important likeability is to entrepreneurial success. In fact, I spent years resisting it, only to see an unending string of situations in which I saw it work for others, which prompted me to finally give in and adopt this incredible technique.

To begin leveraging likeability in your own life, first ask yourself a tough question: How can you become more likeable?

I've asked myself that question. And while I admit I'm still trying to figure out exactly who I am so that I can love myself as Lewis Howes suggests, I'm avidly practicing other paths to likeability:

• I strive to help one person per day -- to make their lives somehow better through being a good colleague, caring husband, thoughtful son or honest writer.

• I have accepted a larger purpose: helping others win. That's the intention of this post: fast-tracking readers to a deeper understanding.

• I work on becoming a better listener, reading between the lines when others speak.

• I focus on learning, growing and evolving so that I can meaningfully contribute to others, no matter what they might need.

• I listen for opportunities to connect people with their goals.

You know what I used to do? None of those things. I was looking out for No. 1 and didn't care about serving others. I would walk into networking events thinking, "Who in here can advance my goals?" Fast forward to today, when I approach every encounter wondering, "How can I help someone achieve their goal?"

That's a 180-degree difference. And I'm still a work in progress.

As you might imagine, these five endeavors have made me a lot more likeable. In fact, they've transformed me from "class-A jerk" to "helpful collaborator with extraordinary friends, a growing business and a promising writing career."

Are you inspired to start your own journey to self-love and likeability?

Your challenge is to acknowledge that both you and your business have a likeability factor, get an idea of how it rates, and then adopt practices that drive it continually higher. When you do that, you've started on the one true path toward success and self-love. And if you ever come across someone who hasn't yet embraced this most important of all business strategies, keep this anonymous quote in mind:

"Don't wait for people to be friendly, show them how."

Go forth and become more likeable!

Published on: Apr 11, 2017
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