At some point, every entrepreneur will need to begin managing their personal brand. What is a personal brand? It's your reputation as an entrepreneur and leader in the community that surrounds you. When should you start to consider online reputation management services? Perhaps sooner than you think.
When entrepreneurs begin building their businesses, they primarily focus on product development and customer acquisition. This can be a winning strategy initially; however, as these fledgling companies grow more complex, there comes a time when founders must shift their attention from simply focusing upon their products and services to clients. In short, it's not enough for entrepreneurs to deliver great products anymore—they must provide outstanding service, which includes dealing with customers after the sale has been made. To do so effectively, entrepreneurs have to cultivate a strong personal brand—it makes them more visible within a specific industry—and a solid personal brand can be a business's most valuable asset.
In essence, your brand is your reputation as an entrepreneur and leader in the community that surrounds you. It consists of how other people perceive you because of your values and the behaviors associated with those values. In turn, this perception becomes part of their knowledge about you as a person. Therefore, it directly impacts how they think about you personally and professionally, which likely goes beyond just thinking about what type of services or products you offer through your company. As such, you need to carefully cultivate what others think about you if you want to drive up customer retention rates over time.
Once entrepreneurs discover developing a personal brand within their own company, it becomes a mission that they have to dedicate themselves to. While it's easy in the beginning to think of yourself as just one person within a bigger picture—the business you're building within a specific industry space—that couldn't be further from reality. Your success is entirely dependent upon how others perceive you and what they think about when they hear your name or see your face in public settings.
In short, every single move you make will either add value to your brand or detract from it. If others begin associating you with negativity in any way—through word-of-mouth marketing, social media posts that don't land well with prospective clients, etc.—you'll find it incredibly difficult to build a solid professional reputation.
Therefore, you must be very careful with portraying yourself as an entrepreneur and leader to the outside world. Credibility is built over time; it's not something that can happen overnight. Therefore, make sure your brand isn't ruining your ability to sell your value proposition to prospective clients whenever they think of you or associate you with a particular type of business model.
Entrepreneurs will quickly discover better customer retention rates over time by developing a solid personal brand within an industry setting. This is why it becomes critical for them to take their branding efforts seriously; without this foundation in place, they'll struggle to impress upon customers how much value they could bring into their lives through working together. As such, growing market share and revenue figures will become significantly more complex, and growth within their industry space will slow to a crawl.
Without a solid personal brand, it becomes nearly impossible for entrepreneurs to convince customers that they're capable of bringing value into their lives. Therefore, there's no chance for real growth; all momentum dies out quickly when your company doesn't have that type of brand equity in place.
It's not enough for entrepreneurs to develop great products anymore—they must also develop strong brands if they want to succeed in the long term.
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