While there isn’t a magic potion that will make you a successful entrepreneur, some blend of skills and personal branding tips can set you on the path to success. For starters, people buy from brands they like. Most people prefer to attach a monetary value to individuals rather than to products and services.
The era of faceless corporations and formal conglomerates is over. To make a good impression on your present and future business partners, clients and employees, you need to signal what it will be like to work with you. This is what your entrepreneurial personal brand is for. Keep in mind that you can have multiple personal brands without conflicting. We will discuss this later in this article.
Do I need personal branding?
Personal branding is an essential prerequisite for any entrepreneur looking to stand a cut above the competition. Most entrepreneurs that have navigated to the top of their industries tend to become industry thought leaders. You cannot think of Amazon without Bezos coming to mind. When you think of Tesla, Elon Musk comes to mind. These successful entrepreneurs know that they are the face of their businesses. And they do their best to ensure that they present their best selves.
As an entrepreneur having a personal brand will help you build credibility with your target audience, increase your work opportunities and distinguish you from the competition. Creating a personal brand is a significant milestone in any entrepreneur’s journey. It should be at the heart of any business. It ensures brand recall and loyalty with the target customers.
Here are some core personal branding tips for entrepreneurs:
1. Have a personal unique value proposition (UVP)
Determining your unique value proposition is one of the most crucial steps when creating a personal brand. It is a sure way to differentiate yourself from other people in your industry. The thing is, as an entrepreneur, you are getting into a pool filled with lots of competition. And they are probably as qualified and offering products and services that are as good as yours.
You need to find a way to set yourself apart from the crowd. To create a unique value proposition, you will need to assess your unique skills. Find out different perspectives that your business can use to cater to your target audience. Your UVP will explain to your target market how different you are from the competition. The key to building a robust UVP is banking on your brand assets, such as your skills and core values.
Know your competition
Studying your industry will help you know who your competitors are and, as a result, the ways you can be different. If you are in a competitive industry, you want to have and communicate the features that make you stand out.
When you know your competitors, you will know the best ways to carve a niche market. Know the characteristics of your competition to identify the areas that you should focus more on to create a unique personal brand. You can look for articles in mainstream media or in the trade press that talk about your competition. Go online on their websites and check out how they compare to you. Studying your competitors is one of the best ways to create a unique identity that your target audience can associate with and build loyalty around.
2. Define your audience – future clients, and business partners
As an entrepreneur, you need to curate your personal brand to match your target audience. It is, therefore, vital to define your target audience. Have a crystal-clear understanding of your target market. When you understand your target audience, you will know how to communicate with them in a way that resonates with them.
You will also be more likely to attract more of your kind of audience. Jot down some of the defining characteristics of your audience. Start with the general demographics like sex, age, education level, and profession. You could also go further into their hobbies, values, likes, and dislikes. You ought to also find out how that target audience resonates with your brand. You can conduct a personal brand audit to help you drill deeper into their perception. It is advisable to audit based on your preferences, targeting criteria, and market research size. All these will help you resonate with your audience’s struggle and their needs. You are then more likely to create a stronger personal brand that is tailor-made for your target audience.
3. Increase your personal brand visibility online
In today’s competitive world of business, it is necessary to have an online presence. Having an online platform is a sure-fire way for your target market to find you and interact with your unique values and skills.
Creating an online presence can be easier said than done. Well, start by creating a solid social media strategy. Look at your target audience to know which platform will suit you best. If your brand is image-based, you may consider visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. If you want to reach out to professionals, LinkedIn and Twitter are the places for you.
Consider creating a professional website. Having a website provides you with an excellent channel to communicate your personal brand. Publish content on your website that establishes your expertise. Curate your content to meet the needs of your target market.
Another way to increase your visibility is to get out more. For example, attend webinars or perhaps join in podcasts that are related to your industry. You could also go for live conferences and summits and consider creating content for magazines and blogs in your niche. These networking events are the perfect places for showcasing your expertise and making you memorable in the minds of both your peers and your target audience.
4. Be consistent with personal brand communications
Personal branding is the foundation of a successful entrepreneurial journey. And consistency is an essential pillar of personal branding. Your target audience needs to associate you with a track record of success. Be consistent on all platforms. Studies have shown that brand consistency is the key to earning customer trust and elevating your ROI.
Your demeanor should be compatible with the values you want people to identify you with across all platforms. The tone on your website and in conferences needs to be similar to that on your social media platforms. Have visual consistency where the colors and fonts on your website and all publications are the same. Follow through on all your promises and ensure that you only onboard employees that embody your core values.
Also, be consistent when you post content and your frequency in sending newsletters. People love routines. And they want to know that there are certain things that they can expect from you. Consistency will for sure increase your brand memorability.
5. Managing multiple personal brands
For some people, even having one personal brand seems nonsense. But there are others, who manage multiple personal brands. This is quite common if someone is doing multiple things at the same time, such as having a musical career besides running a business.
Some of our personal brand audit clients decided to maintain two online images, one for their artistic career, and another for business. The two do not exclude one another. Understandably, a fan attending a rock concert will not be interested in the professional qualities of the person, and a business client might not even want to know that that guy plays in a band. The two can be managed separately, however minimal cross-references can add some flair and make both personal brands more exciting.
One of the many responsibilities for any entrepreneur is being the public face of their business. Your customers want to know you and your values before deciding to do business with you. Personal branding will help you build trust and an authentic relationship with your audience. Nothing is more boring than a corporate guy attending meetings and saying “important” things all the time.
Be genuine, relevant, cool, friendly and knowledgeable – people will start to pay attention and that will be start of building a rapport with your audience.