You’ve put a lot of time, energy and coffee into creating an awesome brand for your small business. But your work isn’t done just yet…not until you’ve cultivated your personal brand, too.
As a small business owner, you’re the face of your company, but you need to make sure you look (and act!) the part, too. Personal branding is more than a sharp business suit and a well-rehearsed elevator pitch. (Although, neither one of those things hurt!) It’s also a statement, a philosophy, and a way of life. Regardless of whether you’re on or off the clock, your personal brand is as important as your small business brand … and in some situations, it can make or break you.
So, what can you do to polish up your personal brand? It’s not rocket science. But it will require a bit of money and effort…and a smile for the camera. Read on for some personal branding tips for small business owners.
1. Get a Professional Headshot
As they say, you’ve only got one headshot at a first impression. OK, bad joke aside, you’re going to need a clean, professional headshot that gives the world an appropriate a close-up of your smiling face. No selfies allowed. It’s fine to show your personality through your attire, but make sure to keep it polished and professional. Make sure you’re clean-shaven…unless your brand relies on a Duck Dynasty-esque beard. Makeup should be natural and light. Try not to look stiff or posed; you want to appear friendly and approachable.
2. Speak Up and Speak Well
Few people enjoy public speaking and many people would rather get a root canal than stand behind a podium in front a crowded room. Unfortunately, if you’re a small business owner, chances are good that you’ll be called on to talk in front of a group at some point. When it comes time to address your audience, project your voice (but don’t yell), make eye contact and smile. If you’re nervous, imagining everyone in the their underwear helps. (So does tequila.) There are also plenty of resources online for overcoming your fear of public speaking and improving your technique. And if you really want to wow your audience, consider attending a few Toastmasters meetings.
3. Be Aware of Your Social Media Interactions
Engaging with your customers on social media is one of your most important duties as a small business owner, so make sure you do it well. Watch your spelling and grammar. Communicate in a professional manner – no LOLs or OMGs. And be mindful of what you post. Even if you’re interacting solely on your business page, there’s a good chance that someone might discover your off-color meme or less-than-sober picture on your personal page and make the connection.
4. Be a Nice Human Being
This should probably go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. One of the best ways ensure your personal brand is top-notch is to be nice to people. In the age of YouTube and instantly posted cell phone videos, someone is always watching. Don’t let that somebody catch you making a jerk out of yourself in public. Remember, you don’t stop being a small business owner when work ends. You have an image to maintain 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Your personal brand is crucial to your success. Think of it as an extension of your small business’ brand – two components that work hand-in-hand to define who you are and the message you want to send.
Need a hand with your personal or small business branding? Mischa Communications can help you get the look you’re after. Drop us a line to learn more!