How to Build a Personal Brand as an Entrepreneur
A personal brand is simply the sum of what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and why you’re doing it as an individual. It is a phenomenon that cannot easily be faked because it is supposed to be built on a deep-rooted foundation. There is a need to be ambiguous with my claims because personal brands have been taken to be something else over the years, especially with the advent of the social media.
You can be on the wrong path of personal branding and still look like you are on the right path. But if you happen to get it right, your personal brand will make you stand out from the crowd; highlighting your level of expertise and increasing your societal value. With a great personal brand as an entrepreneur, you can be rest assured that you will have energy and a buzz that people can’t help being drawn to. But first things first, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your personal brand is all about you because it is not. It also has nothing to do with your work experience or personal achievements. Your personal brand should be about others, specifically about what you can do for others.
With that being said, if you want to build a magnetizing personal brand as an entrepreneur, you will have to start by asking yourself questions like; what is the problem that I can proffer solutions to? What are the areas that I can be of great value to the society? What makes me stand out?
These are just few of the questions. If answered properly and with considerable thought and planning, you can begin to build your personal brand as an entrepreneur. Let us go straight into the five ways you can build your personal brand as an entrepreneur.
1. Find Opportunities
Passion is not sufficient. You may be passionate about rock climbing or playing the ukulele, but having a passion doesn’t translate to recognition and success automatically. You can only do this by studying the needs of the people in your circle, identify what problems they are currently facing and think of ways to help them and make money from it. Take a close look at who you are. Identify what you can bring to the table. Evaluate not only your acquired skills and experiences, but also the values that guide and inform you.
Also, make sure you’re studying your competition. Can you serve a need in an area where there is too much competition? Don’t be discouraged if there is competition everywhere you look. Can you satisfy a need in a way that is remarkable and distinctive? You’ll know you’ve found an opportunity as an entrepreneur when you’ve found a significant need you can serve in a way that distinguishes you from the competition.
2. Focus on Your Uniqueness
One of the major criteria for being a successful entrepreneur is doing something that brings about solutions to a problem; something that only few people know how to do. If you are an entrepreneur, chances are you already know the unique qualities, ideas and values. When you do, don’t be shy about letting the world know the uniqueness.
Even if there may be a lot of people who do what you do and are going to compete in the same space with you, there is always one unique characteristic that differentiates you from others. Let’s say if everyone is offering the same service that you are offering, you can simply be the best in the field _there are a whole lot of ways that you can be the best. By focusing on your uniqueness, I do not mean you should be comfortable with where you are.
Focusing on your uniqueness is about knowing your strengths and working hard to make it better than it is. So find out how your strengths can be fully utilized. Are you the most skilled, creative and efficient? Do you have impeccable customer care skills? If you can’t be the best in what you are good at, it will be hard to stay unique.
As important as being unique is, it becomes detrimental to your personal brand if you have to be controversial just to stand out among a crowd. It doesn’t mean that you should keep your opinions to yourself when you do not agree with the societal norms though, just stay away from issues that may affect how your customers or clients see you.
3. Know Your Values
The cornerstone of personal branding is authenticity. What is that value that will have your immediate audience connect to you with ease? To be authentic is to have values stated and to be true to them. Your values can be business values, policy values, ethical values and even environmental values. The advent of the Social Development Goals (SDGs) has made it easy for people to easily pick up a value that resounds globally.
Apart from knowing these values, the way you get it across to your audience matters a lot. Are you a serious kind of person or you just like being casual? Are you talking to the expert or the layman? What are your cultural points of reference? All these questions will get you acquainted with knowing where you stand in terms of values and also letting the society know about them. Also, take note of things that people appreciate most about you. The fact is, the phrases that people often use to describe you are an important part of brand development.
4. Know your audience
Your audience or customers, depending on how you see them, are why you exist as an entrepreneur. Find out about them as much as you can. This includes standard demographic information such as what jobs they are doing, how much they earn and where they are living. Likewise, if not more importantly, you must know their beliefs and values, hopes and dreams, and the challenges they face. Speak with your audience. Take them out for a coffee or put a call through to them from Skype. Study them by reading on relevant social media, forums, and review sites what they’re saying. What matters more to them, to make a difference or to make money? Which public figures are they admiring?
How much do you know about what you can offer your audience? Are you going to have to educate them to understand your value? Identify who your core audience is. Chances are most of your audience will be on social media platforms. So ensure that your social media game is spot on.
5. Craft your message
Budding filmmakers in Hollywood learn to prepare an “elevator pitch” for selling their film ideas to busy executives in the studio. The key is to sum up their idea in a short, memorable phrase that could be pitched even if it was an elevator they had to pitch it in. To build a personal brand as an entrepreneur, you have to know what you are doing and what makes you different and exciting. Then you have to tell people about it. But then we live in a fast world where everyone is busy with no time to watch even a one minute video. So what do you do? Craft your message in the best way possible.
Create a short message that summarizes what you are about in a way that connects to your audience. Keep it memorable and simple. Think of it as your elevator pitch. Ensure that your message reflects the people you serve, the values you embody, and the results you have or you wish accomplish.
You do not have to limit your message to the elevator pitch only. Take it to social media; LinkedIn is a perfect place for building a personal brand if you have a well-crafted message for an audience.