Building your business’ brand is a critical part of entrepreneurship. When you think of “building a brand,” you most likely think of a company name, logo, target market, and company culture, among other things. Maybe you even go so far as to make business decisions based on your brand. Sending a consistent message to your customers is important, but what if staying true to your brand is actually holding you back?
The focus of most business branding.
Branding experts will tell you to focus your business’ branding on the business’ products or offerings, not you as the business owner. This makes sense on two fundamental levels:
- If you build your brand around the business’ offerings rather than making it all about you, you can more easily “step back” from the business. This allows your team to manage the day to day operations and interactions with your clientele. You are more free to work on the business rather than in the business, because your clientele is focused on your business’ products or services rather than on who is delivering them. Your direct involvement, though a nice touch, is no longer necessary in order for your clientele to feel as though they are getting first class treatment.
- You can presumably sell your business more easily should you choose to do so if you build a brand around the business. How many times have you seen “Under New Ownership” on a banner outside of a business? For a number of reasons, new owners often want to retain an existing business’ name and brand. At the same time, they also want customers to know they can expect some (hopefully positive) differences in the business.
Building a brand for your business has many advantages and is generally a good idea. However, you as the business owner can build your own brand. One that is all about you. And that brand can help you launch your business to a whole new level.
A perception change. A paradigm shift.
During our biweekly collaboration call, my wonderful VA – Audrey Isbell of AVA Virtual Assistance – and I were talking about some changes I will soon be implementing at Pocket Protector Bookkeeping. In particular, I was bemoaning the laborious process required to either change the business name and branding or to form a secondary company to act as the public face for our consultation and coaching services.
In her typical, sweet manner, Audrey said, “Billie Anne, you are your brand.”
It took a moment for that to sink into my thick skull. But Audrey was right. When you are a small business owner, even if you have employees who work for you, even if you have branded your business in such a way that it is not about you at all, you build a brand for yourself. You become an expert in your field to your clients. If you blog – especially if you write guest posts – you also become an expert to the larger populace.
This brand – your personal brand – then puts you in a unique position to offer services which may differ from your business’ offerings without requiring you to rebrand your business or start a new company. In fact, your existing business – the one you have so carefully branded to be independent from you as the business owner – can become a marketing tool for your new ventures.
BYOB – Be Your Own Brand.
Rebranding a business can be a daunting process, especially if that rebranding includes a name change. Fortunately, rebranding in order to expand or diversify your business is not always necessary. You can choose to be your own brand, keep your existing business’ branding intact, and venture into new offerings, all while leveraging your successes with your existing business. That’s a win-win-win-win – a rare and beautiful thing.