It’s Time You Did a Richard Branson
It worked for Richard Branson. And it will work for you.
I’m not talking about driving a tank down Fifth Avenue in New York, cross-dressing on the job, or wearing a kilt and flashing the audience; not per se. Though it will get you attention. I’m talking about your personal branding.
It is as important, if not even more crucial, for small business owners like you and me to become personally linked and even synonymous with our business brands. Because our personal brands will boost our business ones – and help drive them to success. And besides – it’s so much more fun that way!
Now You See Me, Now You … See Me Again
Becoming the face of it is one of the most cost-effective and powerful ways to make your business known, liked and respected. Once you position yourself as a relatable expert and influencer in your field you’ll become that very important extension of your brand.
Nice work! … But how do you create a personal brand that is strong and will benefit your business? How do you stand out from the abundance of similar businesses and entrepreneurs in your industry?
It’s all about exposure, exposure, exposure. That of the right and varied kind, of course.
Let’s Go Crazy!
Richard Branson’s stunts are a fabulous example of the fact that branding that’s edgy, fun, unusual, a little (or a lot) mad or outside the norm will get you noticed. His kind of extreme will not work for any old business or personality, of course. But I do believe that we all benefit from going a little crazy (for our personal standards), step outside convention and be one of the purple cows out there.
Here are but some of the ways to create a consistent personal brand and boost your business:
1. What You Wear
Do have a bit of fun with this without overdoing it. You want to be remembered for the right, subtle reasons. Have a ‘this-is-me style‘: wear a distinct piece of jewellery or clothing (a hat; always a bow-tie; a type of ring or necklace that stands out). Or highlight your nationality and its traits. I ride to meetings on my Piaggio or a push-bike, saluting my Italian and German heritages – which also inform my brand.
2. Social Media
Don’t hide behind your business profiles. Go out and find the most suitable social media channel and create a number of great personal profiles on them. Share your thoughts, knowledge and time with your audience. Be personable! Start and participate in conversations. LinkedIn works best for my type of business and I post up to five times a day on my personal profile, for example.
Go out there and let the world meet you. Who are your target market and your referral sources? Find networking events – one-offs or weekly ones like BNI – that bring you in contact with your audience. But don’t forget to also keep industry events and colleagues (competitors can be such a negative word) in mind. There are opportunities to partner up, to refer to each other – or simply give some moral support to each other. Us business owners, we are also humans. And it can get lonely being “The Boss Lady” or “The Boss”. Each week, at a minimum, I go to my weekly networking group that supports me as much morally as with referral opportunities.
4. Public Speaking
I can sense many of you reading this shudder and cringe with dread at the mere thought of standing up in front of a crowd and, you know … speak! Time to toughen up: take a course, get your preso ready and … JUMP! Because public speaking is networking on steroids. You’re not just speaking to one or five people at that event – but to the whole room (I know, scary, but what a buzz!). Someone else is promoting the event to their network. And because many people find this kind of gig too terrifying, you have just shot up in everyone’s estimation. Trust me, it works. And once you are really hooked – why not make public speaking another revenue stream?
5. Guest Blogging
If public speaking is not your thing (just yet), why not try your hand at guest blogging instead? Add it to your personal branding mix, either way. I’m doing it as we speak! You are the expert in your field – share to help others. Apart from giving you a nice warm fuzzy feeling, your name and that of your business will get known way past your ordinary sphere. Great marketing right there.
6. Books, Courses, Webinars
And once you have a pile of blogs together, collate them into a book. Or hold a free webinar on the topic and share it on social media. You can do a quick video course to give away for free. Repurpose your content, ladies and gentlemen.
7. Community Involvement + Charities
Last, but certainly not least, you can do good to others with your pursuit of a strong personal brand. How can you (and your team) assist your community, those that would benefit from your skills? Giving back does look good – but more so it teaches us to be humble, open, accepting and eventually become better people. If you’re in Sydney, I highly recommend a tour of The Wayside Chapel, where you will find a rare place of no ‘us and them’. I’m not religious, but boy, do I believe in what they preach: love over hate.
So there you have it: your personal brand in high-speed development, fast-tracking your business and even your life in a fun and enriching way.
Not a bad outcome, if you ask me.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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