Although we tend to associate branding with large corporations, it can also be a very personal endeavor that is best suited to smaller businesses. In fact, in many cases, a small business owner can give their company a very successful brand by working on their own personal brands.
Personal branding is a topic that was once limited to celebrities, but more and more we are hearing about it in the business world. Microsoft is forever linked to former CEO Bill Gates, while nobody can see Richard Branson without thinking about Virgin. Even if you are not a rock star or socialite, your small business brand will be indelibly marked by your personal image, which is why no owner can afford to neglect their brand. Here are a few ways that you can give your small business that all important personal touch.
Most people can smell a fake from miles away, so make sure your personal brand is completely and genuinely you. This doesn’t mean that you have to showcase every flaw, but merely that you should not try to be something that you aren’t. Ask friends, family, and people who know you well to honestly and openly tell you what makes you “you”. Take the most positive characteristics from this list and play them up as much as possible.
Maintain a personal online presence.
Most small business owners understand the importance of having a website, blog, and social networking accounts for their business. You can build a small business brand in much the same way. Keep a personal blog and build a social network of both friends and business contacts. Be present and accounted for on the World Wide Web.
If you want for your personal brand to enhance you small business one, you need to begin linking the two in people’s minds. This means linking them in every way possible. Make sure your personal blog, website, and social network link to your small business ones and vice versa. A word of caution: be very careful that you do not post overly personal information or things that will detract from your image. Your personal image needs the same careful management as your business image! Which brings us to the next tip…
Monitor your brand.
For the most part, the best way you can monitor your personal brand is to post positive information about yourself on a regular basis and to respond immediately and proactively to negative feedback. This is done mainly through your own personal website, blog, and social networking accounts. However, negative information about your personal brand can appear almost anywhere, so you may want to use Google Alerts or even a paid service to notify you whenever you are discussed on the internet. The key to responding to negative feedback is to be positive, rather than getting in arguments with critics.
This may seem like a lot of work, but it is a labor of love that will pay off in the long run. If you have a strong and positive personal brand, almost anything you do in the business world will benefit from being associated with you.