Personal branding is as important to start-ups as the company brand. Who you are as an entrepreneur and how you present yourself have a massive effect on how your company is perceived. Consumers want more than a cold and unfeeling company – they want a face to the company. They want to feel as though they’re dealing with a person, someone they can trust.
There are plenty of reasons to build your personal brand, from helping your start-up to making sure the competition doesn’t indirectly brand you. Here are a number of ways you can do that.
Become an Authority
A good way to improve your personal branding as an entrepreneur is to become an authority in your industry. Go to seminars as a speaker and share your expertise with as many people as possible. Doing so will give off the idea that you’re an innovator, a thought leader who people should listen to and respect. If you do it right, you may find consumers waiting for your product instead of hopping onto the competition, even if they hit the market first.
Developing your personal brand is largely about trust. The moment consumers have a reason to question your motives or decisions, they’re going to leave. Save yourself the trouble and don’t try to be someone you’re not. If you’re dorky, embrace it. Don’t try to be cooler or more interesting than you are in an attempt to draw audiences to your product. Be you. The moment a competitor calls you out on putting on airs, you’re in trouble.
The worst part about pretending to be someone else is that there’s rarely anything to gain from it. You founded a start-up. You came up with something consumers want to buy. You’re plenty interesting.
Be One with Your Company
While your personal brand can be used beyond your life as an entrepreneur, it is primarily a tool that can help your start-up get off the ground. Embrace that idea and try to identify with your company. Think of traits you’ll have in your personal brand and figure out if the company brand also has them. Make the two align.
There are a number of benefits to this, the largest being the impression it’ll leave on consumers. If you’re known as an honest and hardworking person, and your company’s brand involves honesty and hard work, consumers will get the idea that whatever you work on will embody your values. This will not only benefit your current start-up, but any start-ups you may launch in the future.
Get on Social Media
Your start-up isn’t the only one that should have social media accounts — you should have one as well. Social media networks will allow you to interact with your start-up’s audience and develop your reputation.
Pick one platform to stick to, at least to start. Twitter’s character limit means it’s best for short messages and quick thoughts instead of an in-depth discussion. If you want discussion not just between you and the consumers but among the consumers themselves, Facebook may be a better platform. Choose the social media network that fits your personality and needs.
Remember to stay on your absolute best behavior. There’s no intonation, no way to make sure that people understand when you’re being sarcastic or making a joke. Pay attention to your wording, or you may end up damaging your brand instead of building it.
Learn to Communicate Well
Between two people who have great and equally valuable ideas, people are going to flock to the one who can communicate their thoughts better. Consumers aren’t psychic – they won’t know what you have to offer unless you can lead them down your thought process. The best way to do that is to learn how to communicate better.
Keep an eye on what you write and say. Mind your grammar; a misplaced or forgotten coma can result in awkward or confusing wording, which can cost you sales. The better you present your ideas, the better looking you and your start-up will be.
How a start-up’s entrepreneur is perceived is as important as how the company is perceived. A great company can be brought low by a leader seen by the public as questionable or incompetent, whether or not you actually are questionable or incompetent. You could be the smartest entrepreneur in the world, but if people don’t know or believe that, they could easily be swayed to go to the competition. Work on your personal brand. Consider any time spent on it an investment into your start-up’s future.