An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Personal Branding

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Setting up a successful business enterprise requires much more than just making the decision to leave your nine to five job or drawing up a killer business plan designed to make your business grow within months. Once you’ve decided to set up your own business, the next main objective after putting everything in place, would be to build a personal brand for yourself. Personal branding is a must for every startup entrepreneur. It’s what defines how you wish to make your business presence known in your neighborhood, industry and all over the world. Multi-million dollar companies like McDonald’s, Apple, Microsoft and Coca Cola for example, have recognized brands that are well known around the globe.

How you present yourself and your business; what you say or share with people has the power to leave a lasting impression on them—a vital component that determines the success of any business. To help you get started with creating your own unique brand, here’s an entrepreneurs guide to personal branding you can use to build your personal brand today.

#1 Define Your Objectives
The reasons for creating a personal brand differ from one entrepreneur to another. As such, one of the first things you have to begin with is determining why having a personal brand is important to you. It doesn’t matter whether you need it to gain recognition in your niche, for better contacts in the enterprise you’re building or for a stronger and more active professional network. Once you know what you are aiming for, you’ll have a much better idea on how to move forward with building the kind of personal brand that will work for you.

#2 Categorize Your Passions and Values
The principle behind personal branding for entrepreneurs isn’t about portraying a character that’s not yours for the rest of your life.  Instead think of personal branding as a platform through which you will be able to conveniently express the real you successfully. Start by identifying the core values which you stand for and passions that drive you to success as a business owner. A few values that are common many entrepreneurs include, ambition, family, community-building and giving. List out what is important to you and prioritize each of the values you are able to point out. Combining your values and passions together will help you determine what kind of a person you desire to be and help lay the foundation for your building your personal brand

Related: 10 Principles of Personal Branding for Entrepreneurs 

#3 Make your brand easily discoverable
For your personal brand to have the needed effect on your business or target customers, your social-media profile, updates and shareable content on the internet must be easily found. To make this possible, you have to take the relevant steps to ensure that when potential clients are searching for your name, product or service; or searching for someone like you with your skill and expertise, your name and business shows up in the search results. Sign up with related social-media networks that rank highly in search-engine results and make sure you use the same brand or business name across all the social networks. You can also link to these social-media profiles from other important websites where you have a strong presence and increase the visibility of your personal brand via search engine optimization.

#4 Review and Edit Your Social Media Presence
When it comes to personal branding for startup entrepreneur; consider everything about you that is available on the internet as free knowledge for the general public. With this in mind, it would be a really good idea for you to review your social media presence once in a while and edit your profiles to make sure it aligns well with the way you want to present yourself and your brand to the public. For example, when building a personal brand and you decide to portray yourself as a professional, corporate achiever, you would surely need to discard profile pictures showing you in any drunken college parties or sporting events where with expletive-filled comments abound.

Related: Building an Awesome Digital Reputation When You Don’t Have the Time

Although having a strong corporate image isn’t the only personal brand identity you can build for yourself. You can also choose to brand yourself as a pacesetter, innovator or a rebel; but endeavor to make sure that your presence on various social media networks is consistent with the image and brand you have chosen.

#5 Be Memorable and Inspiring
Personal branding is all about being memorable and inspiring at all times. Sustaining a boisterous and active presence online with sharable contents, comments or posts pertaining to your niche that are positive, practical and useful is another essential aspect of personal branding that cannot be overlooked. For a startup entrepreneur, doing this will leave the right impression with your clients and potential customers; and also help you become the go-to resource for insightful tips and information that will transform into rewarding business relationships between you and your clients. Though keeping track of how you are presenting yourself to the world takes a while to become second nature, however once the rewards begin to reflect in your business, you’ll be pleased with the efforts you put into it.

Building your personal brand as a business owner isn’t about pretending to be someone you are not, it’s much more about knowing your true personality and bringing yourself forward to the world as that person you truly are. This will enable you build the kind of personal and  powerful brand you desire that helps you achieve more success in your business as a startup entrepreneur than you ever thought possible.

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