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Do Startup Founders Need Personal Branding?

“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”- Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon

If you are a startup founder, it means that you have a product or service in developmental phase, and for this to start selling people need to be aware of it. For any business, the first customers come from family, friends and their referrals. It means that your network and how you are known in it matters. Before we discuss details, let’s understand what a personal brand is about and how it can affect your business?

Understanding Personal Branding

A personal brand is all about the way people perceive you. It is a reflection of the individual you are and the one you are aspiring to become. A personal brand is a sum of components that make you noticeable and recognizable in your spheres of influence. Creating a personal brand is like developing a lifestyle. It is a slow and an ongoing process. The consistency with which you portray yourself online or in person determines the speed with which you can create a strong personal brand.

Personal Branding, therefore, displays the blend of your personality traits, passion, views, performance and contribution to your clients, customers and other stakeholders. Hence, it is one of the most important pull strategies that you can adopt for developing brand equity of your product line.

Benefits of Personal Branding to a Startup

Personal branding helps startup founders in building their credibility. It is a leadership requirement that adds weight to the measure of their dedication as a professional. It makes their business appear more human and helps attract business opportunities on investment, collaborations and growth. A founder plays many roles. He/she is the face of the firm; sometimes a salesperson, sometimes a brand evangelist. Hence, a strong personal branding of the founder facilitates success in business.

The digital era is making personal branding more important than ever. Imagine a customer or an investor being able to easily find your competitor on the very first instance of google search.This scenario could be detrimental to any business. However, in case the face of the business and his/her personal branding elicits a recall and credibility, you have a head-start over the competition!

Tips for Building Your Personal Brand

Startup founders are always short of time. We can find them working endlessly and running a daily marathon. Adding personal branding effort to their daily to-do list can do wonders for their business in the long term. Here is a list of simple things that startup founders can begin with.

Introspect: Find time for an introspection session. Help yourself understand who you are and what you would like to become. This will help you develop an image that you would mirror into the personal brand of yours.

Build and maintain your online presence: Become active on social media platforms. You will need to balance your personal and business-related updates so that others develop an outlook of you as an individual as well as a professional. Use your LinkedIn profile optimally.

Share your knowledge and expertise: Irrespective of your aspiration in life and the industry that you are into, cultivate the habit of reading. It helps to add to your knowledge bank and enables sharing of your views and expertise. Increasing your participation on Quora can help you gain many followers thereby making you a thought leader in your industry. Blogging on content sharing sites like Medium helps a lot. Guest blogging on sites having high footfalls is always beneficial for any online business. Look for and grab every opportunity for an interview or authorship.

Startup founders keep looking for ways and means to take their businesses to new heights. Regardless of whatever stage their business is in, a strong personal brand can make it easy for them to walk down the entrepreneurial path. Take small personal branding steps every day and get ready to feel the difference it makes.

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