Elan Musk has 94.8m followers on Twitter; Tesla has 15.6m. Bill Gates has 59.1m followers on Twitter; Microsoft has 10.7m. Even Mark Cuban has significantly more followers on Twitter at 8.6m than his own Dallas Mavericks at 2m. I probably could do a mic drop here to prove the point about personal branding being more front and center for entrepreneurs than the widely popular and well-known brands of which they are most associated.
Okay, I agree. Musk, Gates & Cuban are in a celebrity class and of course known to many, if not, to most anyone. But that wasn’t always the case. Over the years they rose from entrepreneur status to influencer status. Think about the Kardashians or for that matter, any of the influencers today on You Tube or Tik Tok. All have built personal brands that influence people. Of course, besides associating their names with other brands, their rise in popularity significantly increases the awareness, and value of their own brands… and themselves.
“Your personal brand is a promise to your clients… a promise of quality, consistency, competency, and reliability.”
– Jason Hartman
Before continuing my focus on entrepreneurs and personal branding, I’d like to make the point of how valuable a strong personal brand is for anyone in business today. In today’s Digital Age, anyone – yes, anyone – can be seen as an influencer in their company, industry, or community. Sometimes, in all three.
Through social media, blogs, vlogs, videos, podcasts, e-publications and more, anyone can be visible to their target audience as well to audiences of which they might not even be aware. And influencers are often viewed as experts. Imagine interviewing for a job and the interviewer Googles your name and finds result after result that showcases your influence… and expertise?
Now let’s shift back to entrepreneurs, including aspiring entrepreneurs. A strong personal brand goes a long way toward raising capital and attracting top talent. It also helps generate interest in the business or concept itself which in turn attracts customers or clients, as well as potential suitors for joint ventures, strategic partnerships… and how about private equity players?
An article at PersonalBrand.com lists seven reasons why a personal brand is important for an entrepreneur or business owner as follows:
- A personal brand gives you more credibility. Building a personal brand is almost like creating your own “Credibility Bank” where you make small daily and weekly deposits. Over time, you’ve got a huge asset that continues to grow on its own.
- A personal brand will attract client to you versus you chasing them. A strong personal brand is a magnet for business. A well-built personal brand will attract more business than you know what to do with, but it won’t happen overnight.
- A personal brand gives you the ability to work with higher-quality clients. Not only will your personal brand start to attract clients, but it will also start to attract higher-quality clients as well. Successful people want to do business with other people who know what they are doing.
- A personal brand allows you to charge more money. One way to start charging more money faster, is to establish your personal brand in a specialized niche of your industry. Specializing allows you to focus and get results for your clients/customers. People pay for results. The bigger the results you get, the more you can charge.
- A personal brand allows you to choose more freedom. When you can start charging more money, you now have the ability to choose how much you want to work. You can still work crazy-long 12–16-hour days, and stash cash. Or you can scale back your hours, work with only the BEST clients that come your way and enjoy a better quality of life.
- A personal brand helps you build a better network. Have you heard the saying, “Your network is your net worth”? Well, it’s true, and building a personal brand is one of the best things you can do to build your network, and ultimately, your net worth.
- A personal brand will get you in on bigger, better deals. As you build your brand, you will build a following and as a result a lot more people will want to work with you. If done right, your personal brand should also attract other movers-and-shakers who can bring bigger, better deals and opportunities your way.
People want to do business with people. They buy from people. Sure, the brand may get them in the door, but it’s the person representing the brand that they want to do business with.
The bottom line is, it’s not uncommon for anyone interested in doing business with you today to perform a Google search of the brand or company AND the founder or other leaders of the brand or company. What they hope to find is information that lends to experience and expertise. (Even the banking industry is moving towards utilizing a social reputation score for business loan applicants that will rival the credit score.)
I’ll use franchising as an example. I don’t think that it can be argued that a franchise organization with franchisees with strong personal branding wouldn’t be significantly stronger than a system with franchisees that just stand behind the counter.
I’m certainly not degrading the efforts of franchisees that strive for 100% customer satisfaction and are willing to put in long hours to ensure the same. But with a strong personal brand that reaches into the local community, franchisees would be more successful driving the business. I refer to this as GOYA marketing – Get Off Your Ass marketing. Here’s the great part of GOYA marketing… and again, in today’s digital world, much of the personal branding can be done online!
Personal branding is about YOU. The key to your success is YOU! Yes, I am a firm believer in location, location, location, and I always stress to not settle for a secondary location as that is a recipe for failure. But as important for me is to stress: YOU! YOU! YOU! Not doing so is more of a recipe for failure!
Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!