Aspiring entrepreneurs understand the importance of creating a personal brand for themselves in the local community. Similar to corporate branding, personal branding explains who you are as a professional and what values you live by. Your personal brand should tell your story and where you want your career to go moving forward.
You can begin building a personal brand by simply being yourself and figuring out the career path you’d like to go down. Personal branding is a great way to gain positive exposure, attract new customers and add credibility to a startup business. Here’s how to get started:
Authenticity resonates strongly with people, especially in a sales environment. As you build a brand for yourself, keep in mind that people appreciate realness. Be honest about your achievements, your professional strengths and even your weaknesses. People will gravitate toward honesty and, as a result, be more inclined to trust you and your business.
Seek out referrals.
Get the most out of your connections by asking for professional referrals. You can ask just about anyone – a team member, a former employer or any of your satisfied clients. As an entrepreneur, you understand how impactful it is to have others vouch for your work. It’s another way to add layers of credibility to your personal brand and to the business you operate.
Trust the experts.
Pay attention to the industry’s top performers and what they’re doing to grow their own personal brands. Get inspired by going to a speaking engagement or a meet-and-greet opportunity. Anything you can do to learn from the best in your field will go a long way toward building a strong brand of your own. Remember to not replicate exactly what the experts already do. Stay authentic, and use their ideas as inspiration to make improvements.
Networking never hurts.
Many communities offer resources to help you network with other professionals in the area. Community boards, industry seminars and chambers of commerce are all helpful ways to grow your personal brand and generate a buzz in the neighborhood. Professional networking platforms like LinkedIn are also free and easy tools that you can take advantage of to build your brand over time. Connect with people in your line of work and beyond – you never know when it’ll be helpful down the road.
The way you and your work are seen by members of the business community has never been more important. Your personal brand matters – whether you’re an established entrepreneur or a brand-new face in the business community. Branding takes time, effort and a consistent approach. Every interaction is a new opportunity to improve or grow your brand in the community. It’s time to make them count!