Startups of London: Personal Branding Tips for Entrepreneurs

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Today, Maya Moufarek, Founder of Growth Advisory, explains the lowdown on why Personal Branding for entrepreneurs is MORE important in a recession than ever before.

For any entrepreneur, personal branding can be a tricky skill to perfect. You really want to get it right because it is paramount to showing who you really are and what your value is. If you are running any kind of venture, you have to be the spokesperson for the positive impact you are having, no one else can do it for you.

For some, the difficulty with personal branding is because they feel that it seems a little vain or self-indulgent. But it’s undeniable that we all have an online presence and that this is where your customers and potential business partners will find you. Quite simply put, you are the most important selling point of your business. You are the brand, and you have to tend to your brand – or it will become whatever others decide it is.

Understanding this and perfecting your brand has the power to accelerate your career and skyrocket your reputation – it really is something to be taken seriously.

In a recent article, Forbes Magazine called out personal branding as one of the single MOST important investments you can make in your career. They equate the importance to the old adage of first impressions last and that you never get a chance to have a do-over. They highlight that effective personal branding will differentiate you from the competition and allow you to build trust with prospective clients and employers.

According to a recent Entrepreneur article, 65% of Internet users see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies, while 53% of decision makers have eliminated a vendor from consideration based on information they did or did not find about an employee online.

A 2018 CareerBuilder survey also found that when employees have a personal brand and are viewed as trustworthy thought leaders, that they can help acquire new customers and retain existing ones for the business. So, what does all of this data tell us? Investing in your personal brand will impact your bottom line.

Fifteen years of my career has been dedicated to being a champion for brand investment and company growth and it has allowed me to work with incredible brands like American Express and Pharmacy2U. When I pivoted my career and launched I understood that building a personal brand was vital to establishing myself as a credible expert, building a network and growing my business.

When I started posting regularly on Linkedin I quickly realised how impactful it was. Now it has transformed the way I communicate and network within my industry. I have found that following relevant thought leaders helps me understand where my vertical is heading. I have built a valuable network by engaging and commenting on posts from people with similar interests to mine; and it allows me to drive interest in what I am building by sharing any insights I have that others might find interesting.

Through building relationships, starting conversations and sharing insights, I have been able to build a brand that has brought me many opportunities from speaking engagements to projects and interesting connections and business partners.

Two people whose brands have really inspired my own journey and serve as shining examples of powerful and authentic voices are those of Scott Galloway and Serena Williams.

Scott Galloway is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and Marketing Professor at NYU Stern School of Business. He has built a reputable brand through his social profiles, thought leadership articles and his popular Prof G Podcast. His brand is authentic and funny and showcases his sharp skills as a strategist, marketer and investor.

Serena Williams needs no introduction. On the back of a superstar tennis career, she has built a business and a brand to be admired. In a 2021 Forbes article, her brand’s success was attributed to the fact that she is inclusive, natural, not afraid to break the rules, advocates for everyone and amplifies others’ stories. In their words ‘Serena’s brand truly has lessons for brands everywhere.

Your personal brand is made up of a distinctive combination of experiences, skills, values, and attitudes that make you unique and which differentiate you from other professionals in your space. Simply put, personal branding is you. It’s the “cover” by which people will judge you, the book.

Here are my top tips for building your personal brand. These tips are backed by personal experience and industry data.

  1. Be different and do better:  Look at the industry players and other entrepreneurs in your sector. Are they making the most of being spokespeople for their business? Do they curate their social channels? Now what makes you different? How can you bring value to the table? Define your personal value proposition and what content might be relevant to our stakeholders and customers.
  2. Expert, credible, visible: Building a personal brand as an entrepreneur requires consistency and a mix of art and science. Showcase your expertise and credibility but also let your personality shine through. Make it easy for your audience to contact you, research you and follow you.
  3. Engage in the conversation: Follow the profiles of other businesses and leaders in your space (and beyond depending on your own interests) to follow where the conversation is headed. Engage with posts that have common ground to help build your network. That will also most probably inspire some content ideas for yourself.
  4. Be sociable: People don’t want to be constantly sold to. They don’t want every post from you to be about your product. Instead, you want it to be personal and engaging. Let them get to know you, talk to them like they are in the room with you. Ask them questions or for advice.
  5. Quality visuals: A post without visual content is just a blob on their screen. Quality personal photography, illustrations, videos and other relevant content helps entrepreneurs increase their social media reach and bring to life the content of a post.

I have seen this approach work well for many of the founders I’ve invested in and would also recommend it highly to anyone, no matter the industry. Applying these practical tips is a great way to constantly build on your brand and build loyalty with your customers. Give it a go, it could take you anywhere. You will see a difference!


This article was originally published in Startups of London, the hub for London's startup community. Want more of Maya's insights? Follow her here.

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