by Anand Srinivasan, founder of LeadJoint.com
A number of entrepreneurs operate their business as freelancers or sole proprietors. This can include personal trainers, lawyers, accountants, musicians and even bloggers. Building a business brand in this case can be tricky – would you want to build your own personal brand, or should you be building a brand for your company?
Being known as the best accountant or trainer in your region is nice, but by building a brand around your business, you pave the way to scale up your business that can maybe one day employ hundreds of professionals from your industry.
Building A Personal Brand Is A Safe Bet.
As a sole proprietor with a small business, it is always a good bet to start by building your own personal brand. At this level, businesses operate with pretty thin cashflow and are hence always susceptible to failure. An entrepreneur is known to start around 2.3 businesses on an average. Given these factors, it is safe to bet on your own personal brand rather than that of your business. This way, even if your business fails, your personal brand and reputation will enable you to quickly rise back with a new business. On the other hand, if your business is successful, you may always use your personal brand to expand your portfolio or to launch newer businesses.
Automate Your Business Process.
One downside to building a personal brand is that you become synonymous with the company you are running. This is fine as long as you do not hire people or choose not to outsource any component of your business to a third party agency. As a personal brand, you become the go-to person for everything from sales enquiry to technical support. One way to fix this is by automating your business processes. There are a number of digital products to do everything from capturing leads to marketing your business and providing support to customers. You can also hire virtual assistants who can perform operational tasks like reading up feedback email from customers and answering them. This frees up your time and makes it unnecessary for your customers to actually reach out to you for everything.
Gradually Build Your Business Brand.
Once you have established a personal brand, it is time to separate yourself from your business and give it a unique brand. The most effective way to do this is by using your brand identity to endorse your business brand. This needs to be a gradual process and over time, you may have successfully established a business brand that is independent of your own personal brand.
This is an extremely effective strategy since it helps one-man businesses establish credibility as well scale up their business. In the initial stages, your personal identity is synonymous with your business and building your personal brand automatically helps you establish the credibility of your business as well. But as you grow and start hiring people, it is important for your customers to know not to call you but to your business. At this stage, establishing a unique brand for your business helps customers separate you from your business. This is not all. If you aspire to sell your business in future, giving your business an independent brand will convince potential buyers that the business is operational even without your presence. This helps drive your business valuations higher and can thus lead to a more successful sale.
Anand Srinivasan is the founder of LeadJoint.com, an online lead generation tool for digital marketing agencies. He is also a part-time marketing consultant and has previously worked with some of the most promising Indian startups.