An entrepreneur needs conviction. It usually takes a lot of “no’s” before getting your first real break. Even when opportunity comes knocking, there are still lots of challenges and obstacles on the road to success. To deal with these issues and to get people to back you (or even take a look at your product), you have to believe in yourself and in your idea.
So if you have faith in yourself, why not let people know just who you are and what you stand for?
I am talking about personal branding. An approach to marketing, which recognizes that branding has a direct effect on value. And it’s not just the brand of your product that can affect the product’s value and your company’s value. It is also your personal brand that affects them.
Branding isn’t just a logo or a slogan. These elements are essential for creating a business identity. But a brand is more than that. A brand will also encompass a background story, feelings, values, promises, perceptions, and other content.
Taking the time to accurately define your product brand is important for more than just marketing. It can help you decide in which direction you want to develop your product, which markets to invest in, even which opportunities to decline. Similarly, honing the definition of your personal brand will promote your business and professional development. It will help steer you in the direction of the collaborations that are right for you, the VCs that are a good fit, even help you recruit the employees you need.
Most people only take the time to examine their personal brand when they are facing some sort of change, when they are looking for their next challenge, project or job. I say it’s a mistake.
In order to maximize the benefits of your social network, you should regularly invest in your personal brand. By doing so, you can strengthen and enhance your professional standing, get better exposure to more suitable opportunities, and manage your professional development.
If you do not actively manage your personal brand, the market will do it for you. As an entrepreneur, you play a big part in creating your own opportunities. Regularly maintaining your brand enables you to do just that.
So what does it take to build your personal brand?
It starts with a simple resolution, a conscious decision that you will be the one to manage your personal brand. You won’t let the market do it for you.
The next stages are simply planning, execution and feedback.
Just like any other product, you need to form a strategy and work it into an action plan with clear goals and objectives. Here are some questions that can help you form your personal brand:
- Audience: Which audience do you want to reach? Who’s already in the peanut gallery?
- Promise: What’s the concept behind your personal brand? What is the professional promise you make to your audience? What feelings do you seek to inspire in your audience?
- Values: What are the values that differentiate you from your peers? Find the values that enhance your credibility and showcase the unique qualities that set you apart.
When getting your feedback, make sure to check how the promise and values you defined come into play in your day-to-day actions and interactions, from informational meetings, to negotiations, to the blogs you post.