You must develop and maintain your own personal brand as an entrepreneur. You might believe that you are pitching your investors, division heads, partners, or staff members a financial strategy, a service, a product, etc.
Undoubtedly, those are crucial components of your company. But since people invest in people, it really is all about you. Each action you perform influences how others perceive you. Building your own brand can help you grow both your tribe and your clientele.
One of my programs has a personal branding exercise. There are usually roughly 20 persons present. Before the event, I advise them to socialize while getting coffee and breakfast.
I ask everyone to take a seat in their designated chairs when it’s time to begin. I ask them to write their names on the placards that are on the table in front of each of them so that everyone can see them.
Then a stack of index cards is given to each attendee. On each of their index cards, they are instructed to write the name of one person they see in the room, along with the first five words that come to mind.
The words the group used to describe each participant are then entered into a file, printed out, and collected by an assistant so that each participant only sees the terms used to describe him or her.
People are usually astonished and horrified by how others perceive them. For example, a person may consider himself to be outgoing, while the index card reveals that the group considers his behavior to be irritating.
Another person believes she represents prosperity and confidence, while the rest of the group perceives her as arrogant and aloof. Often, how others perceive them does not match the story the individual tells about themselves.
It’s no surprise they’re not getting the results they want when it comes to selling their ideas or raising funding for their enterprises. Clearly, what they’re projecting isn’t going to win them over.
What does that stack of note cards reveal about you? What impression are you making on people as you try to establish your tribe? Is your personal brand helping or hindering your growth? Is it bringing you closer or further away from your objectives?
Here are five measures you can do to take control of your own brand
Determine your aim.
The first step is to be absolutely clear about what you want to achieve.
Do you wish to launch a new product that expands your company’s market presence?
Do you need to secure funding for a large project?
Do you want to assemble an all-star squad to assist in the transformation of your local firm into a global franchise?
What kind of person do you need to be to reach that goal?
What image do you need to project in order to entice others to join you?
Recognize where you are now.
Where do you stand today in relation to where you need to be? What is the gap, and what actions are required to close it?
To answer this question, ask the five people with whom you spend the most time to characterize your brand. Then broaden your pool to include those with whom you’ve had less interactions; distant acquaintances may provide even more relevant information because it is based on more rapid first impressions.
You’ll learn what has to be altered by understanding how others perceive you. If they describe you as standoffish but you consider yourself shy, this is an area of your self-presentation that needs to be improved. Such expertise alone can be creative.
Recognize what your regular routines reveal about you.
Daily behaviors can have a significant impact on how people perceive you. People notice your dress, manners, and level of organization – and the appropriate presentation indicates that you’re prepared and take pride in who you are and what you do.
When someone is physically strong and takes care of herself, she appears disciplined, committed, and likely to follow through. People can immediately see and hear an energy in her physical presence. Even the cut of your clothes or the warmth of your handshake can make a tremendous impact — and you have influence over them.
Use technology to help you define and reinforce your brand.
Most people will learn about you for the first time when they type your name into a Google search box or visit your LinkedIn, Facebook, and/or Twitter profiles. They’ll see the photos and videos you post of yourself and your interests. Use the following tools to your advantage: Make use of a professional photograph, provide a link to your website, and keep your writing succinct and to the point.
Be true to yourself.
Developing a personal brand requires a high level of authenticity. People will find out if you try to pass yourself off as someone you’re not, which will undermine your credibility. Be unique and imaginative.
Display a genuine, heightened, yet truthful version of oneself. Don’t attempt to be what you believe others want you to be. When investors and customers meet you, you want them to think to themselves, “this is someone I want to do business with.”