Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding

Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding

Tom Peters, a marketing guru wrote in Fast Company, “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” In this article we will share the entrepreneurs guide to personal branding.

Personal branding is all about creating a certain image about yourself, just like with companies. That is, when other people see you or hear your name, they automatically think about who you are, what you do, and what you are capable of. For example, your personal brand at the office may be the ability to solve the most difficult problems that no one else can crack. Alternatively, you may have the ability to get along extremely well with people or to broker the best deals in the company. As an entrepreneur of course you need personal branding. There are so many benefits of you being an entrepreneur with a strong brand. Some of the benefits of personal branding for entrepreneurs include:-

  1. You become more recognized within the industry as compared to other people who have no personal brand.
  2. Thanks to your brand image, it becomes easier to get business partners, financiers and clients as they already know you.
  3. A strong personal brand will boost your reputation and allow you to negotiate for better business.
  4. A good brand image will allow you to net more opportunities to earn and learn, e.g. speaking and publishing.
  5. Overall, good personal branding equates to more success.

As an entrepreneur, you are a walking entity.  A popular music mogul Sean ‘Jay Z’ Carter once said, “I am a business”. And true to the statement, you cannot think of him without thinking of his music career, his music recording company or his business success. If you are an entrepreneur, you need  to have a similar mindset. Think of yourself as a business and cultivate a brand image that represents your business.

In an increasingly competitive business environment, skills and experience are not enough to become a powerful entrepreneur. You need more to stand out. Personal branding provides that much-needed edge to eclipse other entrepreneurs and to attract more business for you.

Now let me make an important caution that you may find useful. As much as you need to build your personal brand as an entrepreneur you should make sure that your primary focus is to dedicate enough time and attention on building your business. Focus on the things that really matter to grow your business. For example, I am trying to grow my business as the top provider of online courses in East Africa. If I dedicate all my time to blog and share pictures on Instagram, I may be putting a lot of focus on something that I may run the risk of going overboard and letting online marketing become my full-time job. If any I should hire someone to do that.

Here are 5 points that serve as entrepreneurs guide to personal branding.

Number 1: Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding – It’s all about what you create

What is it that you do that distinguishes you from others? For example, when you think of Jay Z and the kind of music he produces, you probably associate quality hits with his personal brand as an entrepreneur. My dream as entrepreneur is to produce quality online learning courses that are learner centric, activity based and that provides powerful learning experiences. My personal brand as an entrepreneur should drive that agenda, and my clients should really see what I have described in my online courses but also in me as a corporate trainer and instructional designer.

Number 2: Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding – Express and associate yourself with the industry you want to be in

For example, if you want to brand yourself as a writer, start to write your own works, read extensively, know other writers and their works, join book clubs, refer to yourself as a writer and package yourself as one in any gathering you attend.

Number 3: Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding – Become the best in your niche.

Be an expert in what you do best and make it to your advantage. I always say, when people think of instructional designers, online learning course designers, learning technologies experts and most engaging corporate trainers, they should think of me. No one becomes a successful brand without success in their field. After all is said and done, success is what solidifies the brand image you have cultivated. Work hard and be the best in what you want to be.

Number 4: Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding – Use your name in your products and business

If you are starting a business, give it your name. If constructing a building or launching a product, do the same. I think of Donald Trump and the Trump Towers, I think of an inspirational speaker and master of ceremony Antony Luvanda who named his inspirational talk Tony. I think of my husband Deus Ntukamazina who opted to use his last name for his masters of ceremony business branding. Yes it is a rather difficult name to pronounce but adds to its uniqueness and you will be surprised that clients remember it. Doing so allows your personal brand to flourish together with your business. If your work becomes a success, your personal brand does too.

Number 5: Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding – Mold your online presence to reflect your personal brand.

There is a reason why I left it at number 5. Your virtual image matters a lot as well but should not be the only focus. Create a website explaining who you are and what you do. Open social media accounts and create a presence that showcases who you want to be seen as. Using the internet, you can create a sharp image of you want to be in real life. Remember you should not lose focus.

 If you have a strong brand right now, how can you leverage that as an entrepreneur?

You understand that a personal brand is not useful if you do not use it to further your means. As an entrepreneur, you can do this in a number of ways:-

  1. Use your blossoming brand image to start new ventures. With your name behind them, chances of success are high.
  2. Add your name to your business or products (if you already haven’t done so) to capitalize on your soaring brand image.
  3. Loan your name to other businesses in exchange for equity or profits. You can even consider franchising if applicable.
  4. Use your brand to seek speaking/writing opportunities in your niche. These will earn you more money and allow you to promote your brand even more.

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