Five simple ways small-business owners can build their personal brand and influence

If you want to succeed in business in the 21st Century, building an influential brand is essential. However, many people still feel that in order to succeed in this arena, their company brand is all that matters. Having spent the last decade training executives from a range of different-sized companies, I have learned that this is a common misunderstanding. Many of them have these incredible products, services, and offerings – yet don’t know how to harness their own skillset to support it with a personal brand. If you are a small-business owner looking to grow your own personal influence, here are my five simple strategies you can employ today.

1. Treat your personal brand and company brand as one

More than ever we are seeing people turn away from following “big brands” and instead looking to the individuals behind them for what true values lie beneath. In an age where people are following people, you need to see your personal and company brand as intertwined. So, before you make any more decisions about what to do to grow your company, consider whether you actually believe in your business? Does its values match your own? Your company is a representation of you, so ensure that everything it produces, reflects your values and character.

2. Put the “visuals” on the back burner

No one is denying that having a visual brand is extremely essential to growing your business and gaining recognition. But at the end of the day, a logo or visuals, don’t mean anything. A true brand is built upon its values and the integrity of the people behind it. So, by all means, get a well-designed logo, invest the money in some great assets, but don’t make it the focus. Your visual brand is important, it’s what might get you in the door, but it won’t launch you into the stratosphere. The integrity of your business and its actions will propel you upward as a leader.

3. Don’t be afraid to say yes

When I first recovered from my car accident, I was asked to share my story with a local youth group. At that moment, I had a split decision to make; did I get over my fears and say yes to this opportunity? Or did I hide away and pretend like it never happened? Well, I’m very glad I said yes, as I discovered I had a passion and talent for communicating with people, and it led me forward into my current career path. So, as a business professional who is looking to grow their personal brand, I would encourage you to say yes as much as possible. Whether you are being asked to speak publicly, run workshops, do some media interviews…you need to be comfortable doing what it takes to get your name out there.

4. Don’t neglect your personal channels

With so many small businesses popping up every day and consumers inundated with content, your audience are more likely to connect with your personal face and profile as opposed to just your brands’. So, don’t forget to continually keep your social channels up to date including Linkedin, Instagram etc. Even if your audience is small, keep them engaged and demonstrate that there is an approachable personality behind the brand they know.

5. Make your ultimate goal unachievable!

While it may sound highly controversial, I am firm believer that your company’s ultimate vision should be unattainable and even somewhat ridiculous. While you may never reach the destination in your lifetime, the beauty of building a personal brand means you get to lead your teams in purpose, towards a destination that you see as the ultimate goal.

So, at the end of the day, don’t let anything stop you or get you down on your journey to building a personal brand. You might not have the awareness, the finances, staff, or assets yet, but never reduce the scale of your vision and don’t stop until your personal brand is just as important to you, as your own business.

Sam Cawthorn, Founder of Speakers Institute Group of Companies and author of “People Follow People”

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