Personal Branding for Small Business Owners
Most small businesses are one-man or woman, operations. Typically these businesses reflect the personality, attitudes and personal values of the owner. In fact, it is difficult to separate the business from the owner in the majority of cases. That is why for these small business owners, their personal dealings, can and will, affect their business reputation. How people view them as a person is not much different from how people regard their business. In this way personal branding can be used to your business advantage.
Personal branding, simply put, is self-promotion. It is all about you – your talents, skills, knowledge, traits, beliefs and values. All of these form your personal brand. Personal branding is identifying who you are as a person, defining a clear personal identity, and creating a personal message. Then you bring all these elements together as a business strategy with the intention of shaping a positive perception of both you and your business.
To create a strong brand, you need to have a good grasp of your strengths and weaknesses, your skills and expertise. What can you and cannot do? What are you truly passionate about? In what areas do you consider yourself an authority? You should have clear and solid answers to all these questions. Most of all, consider your customers’ needs and your value to them. Make sure that what you are offering is not just different but, more importantly, relevant. If your target customers cannot relate to you, your personal branding is lost.
The success of your personal branding relies largely on your ability to communicate your personal message clearly, both verbally and through your actions. You need to let your customers know what you are capable of doing and how you value what they value, how they can rely on you to provide a solution to their problem.
When everything about you communicates a constant message your customers or clients pick this message up and associate it with you so that whenever they see you, hear your name, or encounter your product they immediately know what you are all about and this is the foundation of trust – a key ingredient to customer attraction, acquisition and loyalty.
Personal branding is not a one-time marketing campaign. It should be an on-going commitment by you to convey a consistent message and support your business success. It should be evident in all your interactions with others, your communications both verbal and written. Personal branding should help build a credible reputation that customers will recognize, respect and associate with that quality of your business.