Why Building a Personal Brand Could Be the Smartest Decision You Ever Make
If you’re like most small business owners, you work hard to build your business’ brand. But do you put the same kind of time and dedication into developing and promoting your personal brand? A strong personal brand can help you stand out from the crowd, boost your company’s sales, attract attention to your business and even make it easier to get financing from investors. Here are six reasons why building a strong personal brand could be the best business decision you ever make.
- A strong personal brand builds trust. Consumers are more likely to trust smaller or family owned businesses than big corporations, the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer reports. Why? Customers today value authenticity—they like to know that there are real people behind the companies they do business with. The ability to create a personal brand that’s genuine is one of the advantages a small startup has over a larger company. Don’t hide your personality; use it to your advantage in creating an authentic personal brand.
- A strong personal brand helps you make the sale. There are two situations in which a strong personal brand is especially valuable for a small business owner. First, if you sell a product or service that is highly commoditized, a strong personal brand can help differentiate your business from the rest. (Why do you think so many auto dealers and appliance store owners create memorable personal brands, like Cal Worthington?) Second, if you sell a highly personal product or service (for example, you own a day spa or a child-care business), your personal brand will be a deciding factor in whether customers choose you over the competition.
- A strong personal brand helps you stand out online. Whether you’re selling B2B or B2C, the reality is most of your prospective customers go online first when looking for what you sell. According to BIA/Kelsey, 97% of consumers go online when looking for local businesses. Your online reputation, displayed through social media and online reviews, can influence how high your company ranks in search engines, which directly affects whether prospects learn about your business.
- A strong personal brand can help you build your business brand. As an entrepreneur, you are inherently entwined with your business’s brand. Consider how Steve Jobs’ trademark black turtleneck, jeans and sneakers, as well as his no-nonsense demeanor, reflected the sleek, simple design of Apple products. Jobs himself was a huge part of his brand’s mystique.
- A strong personal brand can help you attract financing. When investing in a business, investors consider not just the concept, but also the management team behind it. Creating a strong personal brand can help you attract the attention of investors, gain their confidence and inspire their trust.
- A strong personal brand can help you start new ventures. Do you have big plans for growth beyond your current business? Building a personal brand will smooth the path to expansion, spinoffs or multiple businesses. Just consider Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson and Martha Stewart—all entrepreneurs whose indelible personal brands have helped lend their multiple businesses credibility from the get-go.
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