If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, it’s time to consider working on your personal brand. When we talk about branding, we usually think of it in a business sense — the thoughts and emotions evoked by a particular company. Apple, for example, is the ultimate in branding. When you think about Apple, you aren’t thinking about computers or phones. You are thinking of an idea: sleekness, the next level, something elegantly streamlined and just plain cool.
Personal branding is the same thing, just applied to you as an individual. In general, you will want your brand to position you as both trustworthy and a leader in your industry. And of course, because you are an individual with great personality, your personal brand will doubtlessly go beyond those two traits. But as a small business owner, being associated with trustworthiness and expertise will be particularly beneficial.
It might seem counter-intuitive to spend energy on your brand when you want to grow your business, but having a recognizable, reputable personal brand is crucial to your company’s success.
Why? It’s simple: you might be focused on your company as an entity, but the human relationships formed while doing business are what make your business a success. George Ross said it best when he explained that “To be successful, you have to be able to relate to people; they have to be satisfied with your personality to be able to do business with you and to build a relationship with mutual trust.”
So, let’s dig into some of the reasons why improving your personal brand can grow your business.
More Contacts that can lead to new customers
This is the most obvious reason: the more people know who you are, the more potential customers you have reached. When it comes time to make a purchase or invest in your services, your business will be at the top of more people’s minds. Knowing more people and having good relationships with a larger network at a personal level translates into more sales for your business.
Additionally, word of mouth can account for a large influx of sales opportunities. Walt Disney once said, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” As you extend your network of clients and contacts, you open the opportunity for those people to tell others about you and your business. Second and third degree contacts still serve as a sales opportunity.
Increased Credibility for both yourself and business.
When you build your personal brand, you gain credibility as an individual. That credibility and trustworthiness is passed through to your company as well — if you are thought of as a good person to be around and work with, people will assume that your company is good to do business with, too.
In addition, developing your personal brand positions you as an expert in your industry. No longer is your business just another in a long line of faceless companies, indistinguishable from your competitors. Your company benefits from your better reputation — it’s no longer Store A, it’s your name’s Store A.
Better Business Acumen in both marketing and branding
Finally, as you build your personal brand, you will learn invaluable lessons about marketing and branding. This is knowledge that you can turn around and apply to your company as well, and use to boost your growth at a rate you could have never imagined. Think of it as an opportunity or training ground where you can experiment with extending your network (the business equivalent of reaching a broader audience) and successfully marketing something — you.
Working on your personal brand is not just about working on a brand; it serves as a method of self-improvement too. And as you improve yourself, you gain new and sharpened skills that ultimately benefit your business.