As small business owners, it’s easy to pour all of your energies into promoting your business. That’s where the money is after all. But it’s just as important to build your brand and reputation as a business owner.
People need to know who they are dealing with, as well as about the goods and services that they are being offered. We’ve talked more about why this is so important in an earlier blog.
But what goes into a building a strong personal brand? Here are five tips give yours a boost.
1. Tell your story
A lot of people are often reluctant to do this. Perhaps you think you don’t have a story to tell? Or perhaps you don’t think people would be interested? But actually, whether you realise it or not, it’s your story that has got you to the place you’re at today. Everything you’ve done in the past has taken you to the point of setting up your business.
Take me, for example. The fact that I have a degree in French and Russian, and spent time teaching overseas, isn’t of any direct relevance to our business. But it is part of what makes me, me!
2. Be visible
This is pretty self-explanatory! Without being visible, people cannot get to know you, and therefore you can’t build trust and reputation. Quite simply, you can’t build a strong personal brand. But luckily, in today’s very connected world, there are so many ways to do this, and it’s important to find both the way(s) that work for you and the most appropriate way(s) for your industry and customer base. (And if the idea of becoming more visible makes you feel nervous, our community could be a good place to start – we are very relaxed and supportive!)
3. Share your knowledge
You might have a great product or service, but do you tell people about the knowledge and experience that sits behind it? This is important for two reasons.
Firstly, expertise – particularly qualifications if you have them – adds gravitas to the services you’re offering. So if you’re a qualified coach, or a member of a professional body, say so! Sharing your knowledge and expertise will help you in building both trust and reputation – crucial for a strong personal brand.
Secondly, sharing your knowledge and experience with others gives you a great source of content that can actually make a difference to people. And what business owner doesn’t want that?
4. Give something back
Building on this further, being known as someone who gives back to others is a great pillar for a strong personal brand. Again, there are so many ways to do this, so do take some time to think about options that could work for you. Perhaps you volunteer regularly? Or maybe, like me, you’re a fan of undertaking different challenges for charity? If so, why not share it with your networks? You’ll probably find that they are incredibly supportive!
As an example, here’s a picture from when Chloe and I (and the rest of our brilliant team!) did the Shine marathon, in aid of Cancer Research UK!
5. Be genuine
Genuine. Authentic. Whatever way you want to describe it. It’s so important to build a personal brand that is actually real. Nobody wants to build a picture of someone that doesn’t turn out to be strictly accurate. A strong personal brand is one that celebrates strengths, but also acknowledges weaknesses. It’s ok, for example, to admit it when things go wrong. As one of our community members wrote in her letter recently, it’s ok to say so if you’re not feeling 100% about things.
So to build a strong personal brand, let people get to know you. And let them get to know the real you.
Now, take some time to reflect on your own personal brand. Are you using it to benefit the growth of your business? Does it need further development? If so, why not check out our personal brand course? And if a lack of confidence is holding you back, we can help with that too! And don’t forget to connect with Chloe and I on LinkedIn or Instagram!