For community-oriented business owners, it may seem smart to spend time building up the company's brand. They put in the effort to create effective marketing, design a quality logo and establish awareness with consumers. This is great, but it is missing one crucial step: A personal brand.
Unfortunately, this is a common mistake for many owners and entrepreneurs. It may not seem as useful as focusing solely on the business, but there are a number of fantastic reasons why taking aim at the personal aspect is worth the time. In fact, here are a few reasons why this is the case – and some business and financial tips to get a personal brand off the ground.
A personal brand really does matter
Many small business owners don't focus on themselves when creating a successful company. While this works for the big guys – few people truly care about what the CEO of a major firm looks like – organizations that are closely tied to the community require a more personal touch.
Jayson DeMers, contributor to Forbes, wrote that there are several reasons why entrepreneurs should market themselves as much as their companies. For starters, the face behind the operation may be related to the value proposition. Or, the leaders' expertise supports the products and services, and adding a face to the marketing will increase the trust factor with consumers. There are many different reasons, and these aren't the only ones. But, they highlight the idea that a personal brand can be just as useful as a professional one.
In addition to these positives, focusing on this element will help a small business owner pursue other opportunities beyond their current venture, DeMers explained. Being an established expert within an industry can open up doors to consulting offers, or it can attract investors for a new project. Either way, the current and future financial plan of a company will be stronger with a quality personal brand backing it up.
How small business owners can brand themselves
Once a small business owner decides it is time to create a brand for themselves, they have to figure out how to go about it. For some, this may sound difficult. Plenty of people don't enjoy shining a spotlight on themselves, and this could lead to stress and confusion about how to properly go about it.
Heather Huhman, founder and president of consulting firm Come Recommended, wrote in an article for Entrepreneur magazine that it is possible to build a personal brand without giving up a lot of personal space. For example, one way to go about that is to get involved as a public speaker. This is often a scary idea, but jumping in and talking in front of an audience can be a good way to get comfortable and boost a brand. This can be done at conferences, meetings, on live podcasts or webinars. Ideally, offering to speak in public will make good use of networking contacts, or help a professional build more.
Moreover, a small business owner may want to focus on their digital presence, Huhman noted. This strategy can have a minimal impact on a financial plan, and the Internet offers a wide range of options and ideas. Entrepreneurs can create custom content that showcases their industry knowledge and publish it in online forums. This way, they'll provide value to colleagues and consumers and highlight their in-depth expertise about their fields. As an added bonus, they can also take the time to network in person with people, instead of just on social media. Doing so can help a person counter their anxiety and grow as a leader.