Personal Branding & SMB Owners - what a topic, right? You might be thinking about what kind of relevance does this topic have in every SMB owner's lives at the moment. I understand that every entrepreneur is under severe pressure at the moment with uncertainties about the road ahead and the mounting financial hurdles. But hear me out - these are the times when every SMB owner should look at ways to get their voice heard. And one of the best ways to get that accomplished is by building a personal brand.
What is a Personal Brand? According to Wikipedia, a personal brand is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions, and/or achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large.
If you go by this detailed definition, a personal brand is a perception or impression of a person that can be built by leveraging their expertise and via focused efforts. Every SMB owner has a unique story behind them - how they started their entrepreneurial journey, the reasons why they started, and their journey so far.
Why focus on Personal Brand now? With dwindling revenues and operational challenges, this is the right time to kick off the personal brand building. Your audience will be able to empathize with you and your brand better if you tell your story better. Now you, as an entrepreneur, might have some spare time as your operations might be restarting post the lockdowns brought upon by the pandemic. One of the best investments of your time at this point will be for efforts towards building your personal brand.
Now you might ask me the question - What are the benefits you can expect from a personal brand?
Here are some of the reasons why every SMB owner should focus on building their personal brand:
Showcase Your Authentic Self
All of us love authentic people with an authentic story, isn't it? Yes. That is one of the reasons behind the success of several individuals and brands. For example, if you look at Gary Vaynerchuk or Buffer, what is the thing that stands out? Authenticity. Even though some of you may not like the expletive Gary uses in your communication sometimes, but he is as real as a person can be (And that's why he's one of my favorite people on this planet). Similarly, Buffer is a brand that is an epitome of authenticity with their true values and culture. Look at their salary sheet available online to understand their level of transparency.
So as an entrepreneur, your personal brand can help you showcase your authentic self to the world. By telling authentic stories via your content, you can help your audience understand the real person behind the brand and the business. And your authentic story will stick with your audience much effectively than all the ads you can run.
Showcase The Purpose Of Your Business
Every small and medium business exists for serving the community and solve their challenges. Be it the beauty salon around the corner or the supermarket in the neighborhood, every business has a purpose. It is your responsibility as the SMB owner to propagate the purpose of your venture.
Your personal brand is the best way to showcase the purpose of your business. Your efforts can highlight the purpose you are striving for and this will help your audience to align to the same. While putting in efforts to build your brand, you might get clarity on your purpose as well. Your audience will be delighted to be associated with a venture with a purpose they can get behind.
Highlight The Behind The Scenes
Every business owner understands the amount of work that goes behind the scenes of their venture and brand. Every authentic and successful brand today is welcoming their audience to have a feel of their behind the scenes activities. As an SMB owner, you should also showcase behind the scenes activities to your audience.
When you focus on building your personal brand, it is much easier to accomplish this. Your content can focus on the specific behind the scenes which will be of interest to your audience. With the current situation in mind, it will be ideal to showcase the safety measures you have put in place for your audience. Other activities your audience might be interested in will be processes you follow, people who do things for them, how products are prepared for them, etc.
Build A Raving Community Of Fans
Your personal brand might need the investment of your time and efforts. Once you start the journey of building your brand, you need to align yourself with channels to focus on and produce content for your audience. Your efforts in putting the right content with the right intention for your audience will help you grab the attention of your audience.
Your consistent efforts in producing the right content and engaging with your audience will build a community of fans for your brand. If you look at entrepreneurs like Pat Flynn or Marcus Sheridan, you can see this in action. This process takes time, but it is worthwhile to invest your time and energy into building your personal brand for this benefit alone.
Boost The Reach & Recall Of Your Brand
Whenever I chat with SMB owners about their marketing efforts, the most common theme which crops up is Facebook Ads. For some of the SMB owners, that is the start and end of Marketing sadly. It need not be that way for you. Your personal brand and your efforts in building one can bring in heaps of benefits for your marketing.
Your personal brand can help you build a community that will be your brand advocates. Your genuine efforts will help in building this community and they will be more than happy to spread the word for you. Based on the channels you use to build your personal brand, your community will stand behind you whenever the need be. Your community will boost the reach of your content via sharing, joining the conversation, etc. and this will enhance the reach of your brand.
Another good reason for focusing on building a personal brand is the recall effect for your brand. Your audience will be easily able to remember your brand whenever they need the products or services you offer. This can happen when they are part of your community and follow your personal brand.
Grow Your Business By Communication
The last benefit of building your personal brand is the benefit of open communication with your audience. Once your community starts building, it will be much easier for you to reach them and solve their challenges easily. Once trust is established, it is easier to communicate with your audience.
This communication can serve several purposes for your business - gathering feedback on your products and services, announcing new offerings, solve audience queries on time, and more. Establishing communication with your audience will prove one of the biggest advantages of building your personal brand.
I understand that every SMB owner will be focusing on getting their operations up and running during this tough time. But this pandemic has taught all of us a valuable lesson - an unexpected event can disrupt any business irrespective of industries. So during tough times like these, one of the biggest strengths every SMB owner can fall back is the power of community and their audience. So your well-thought-out and developed personal brand can be a boon for you and your business irrespective of external circumstances.
If you have any questions on how to build a personal brand, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's chat.