Personal Branding for Service Professionals and Entrepreneurs - dummies

Personal Branding for Service Professionals and Entrepreneurs

By Susan Chritton

Crafting your own personal brand allows you to show the world your best true self. It helps you align every part of your life with your characteristics, strengths, values, and goals. By doing so, you create a meaningful, lasting impression on everyone you meet. That impression can translate into success on the job, in a new business, and in every aspect of your life.

Sell your personal brand to each client

Personal branding was made for service professionals. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, consultants, and other professional service providers sell their expertise, usually as an intellectually based service. Selling something that you can’t see or touch is always harder than selling something tangible. In order to survive, let alone thrive, you must learn to sell your intellectual expertise and sell who you are.

In the professional services, you exist to serve your clients. If you don’t perform, your clients will go elsewhere. In order to get clients, you must be able to clearly articulate your unique promise of value. That requires not only communicating what you can do for a client but why you are the person that client wants to do business with.

As a service professional, even if you work for a large firm, you have a lot in common with a small business owner. Essentially, yours is a business within a business, and you must think of yourself in an entrepreneurial way.

That’s because your clients do business with you, not just your firm, and it’s up to you to keep the client happy. You are there to solve problems, provide expertise, and have a positive professional relationship with each client. Your brand is highly visible at all times.

If you have not carefully dissected the components of your personal brand, that’s your first step. Having a well-positioned personal brand sharpens your focus on how you can best grow your business and serve your clients.

Connect personal brand with your business plan

As a small business owner, entrepreneur, or solopreneur, your personal brand is the heart and soul of your business. Your brand is intertwined with the business; it’s how people experience both you and your business. The image, energy, and expression of your business are how others perceive you.

Personal branding shares a lot in common with creating a business plan. As you work through the personal branding process to reveal your authentic self, align your personal brand to your small business plan because everything you do becomes important to the business.

If you’re in business for yourself, you’ve probably created a business plan either formally or informally. Much of the process that you use to develop your personal brand is mirrored in the business planning process, as shown in this table. A smart entrepreneur aligns the two processes to make the business and the personal brand congruent.

Components of Your Business Plan and Personal Brand
Business Plan Components Personal Brand Components
Executive summary Personal brand statement
Company overview: mission, vision, values Defining who you are
Competitive analysis Knowing your niche and target market
Marketing plan Communications plan
Building your network
Strategies: people, operations, network Communication toolbox
Social media
Visual identity
Action plan Goal setting
Personal branding in the workplace