In today’s connected world, business owners cannot afford to not build their own personal brand as well as the brand of their companies. Linking the two together forms a solid foundation and enhances your clients’ perception of you as a person, as well as you as a business owner.
Most people only start worrying about their own personal branding when they find themselves in the job market. However, your personal branding is something that you should be developing, evolving and refining all the time. See yourself almost as the head office of your business – what does mean and what does that stand for? Great leaders have always been known to walk beside their colleagues but still lead from the front and so if you want to see yourself as a great leader of your own company, you have to bridge the connection between you and your business.
Have a personal branding strategy and be forthright in adhering to it. Thinking of yourself in a different way and conducting yourself in a different manner may be difficult at first, but it only takes 7 days to replace an old habit with a new one. So changing our behaviour is really not difficult, it just takes time and commitment.
In so doing, here (in no particular set order) are some suggestions as to how you get this right :
Identify your own value proposition, bearing in mind that this is about yourself and your personal brand, but that you are your business and therefore the two have to have a meeting of minds and compliment each other. You cannot create a brand of say a well-organised professional person and your office is a complete disorganised mess, you miss appointments with your clients and fail to communicate with them when expected. So,
- What differentiates you from your peers?
- What are you strengths?
- What are your weaknesses – recognising these enables you to work on correcting these behaviours and playing them into your strengths
- What are your passions?
- What are your goals?
Very important to find out how others perceive you – your own opinion of yourself may be way off! Do some research with your clients and ask them to be honest in their feedback. Any feedback is better than none and knowing what you should be tackling and working on in order to best accommodate your clients’ expectations is a great start to a successful you.
Set goals for yourself that are reasonable and achievable. Remember the SMART method:
- Time – based
Identify your target audience – so much is always said about our target audiences but knowing exactly who your target audience is and on a personal branding level, it is your clients with whom you deal, rather the type of business that they are in. Knowing your target audience will not only help you hone your message, it will ensure that you deliver to the right place.
Set your priorities
- Redefine where you are within your company. Do you put yourself behind your company and employees and if so, change it so that you put yourself first – remember good leaders…
Attention to detail is key. Everything that you do relates back to how people perceive you and ultimately your business.
- The way you dress
- The way in which you communicate
- The way in which you interact with your employees and your clients
- Do you show up on time, always?
- Do you find yourself making excuses?
- What kind of body language do you portray?
- What does your work space look like?
- Are you able to control your emotions?
- How professional are you?
Become a social networker.
- Set up your profile on LinkedIn – it’s a great way to connect with other professional people who could very well be your target audience
- Be cognisant of who you have as friends on Facebook. While Facebook is perceived more as a social connection outside of your professional self, you do not want to be posting compromising photos of your social life and still expect to be taken seriously in the professional world.
- Set up your Twitter account – more professionals are using Twitter than any other social media platform. Keep your messages concise and relevant to and consistent with your brand messaging.
- Be sure to keep co-workers, colleagues, clients, and friends updated about what you are doing.
- Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and what the people in your network say about you will ultimately have an effect on your brand.
Review your brand regularly to help yourself keep on track.
Work on your personal touch – connecting with people on a personal level is far better than through emails and social networking sites. It shows that you care enough to take the time to make the phone call and it doesn’t have to be about business. Forming good strong relationships with your clients enhances your personal brand, which strengthens your business brand. All go hand in hand and should never be forgotten.
Consistency is key – remain consistent in everything that you do. The old adage of under promise and over deliver still applies in business today and remember that you, your personal brand, are your business, your business brand!