I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and start-ups who come to me with questions like: “How do I brand my business, as myself or as the product?”
The short answer? It completely depends.
I’ve put together some short question/answers to get your noggin going on this matter.
Are YOU the biggest asset?
Do you personally work with clients? Do people come to your site because you plan on working with them directly in the capacity of coach, strategist, etc.?
Then we need to tease out all the gold that you are and position YOU as the brand.
Getting comfy in your own skin
Often, solo-preneurs get a bit freaked out when they realize THEY are the biggest asset of the business. Some of us are shy and would rather slap our services on our home page without mentioning ourselves.
If you feel better being the background player, it’s ok, but you should realize that you are the background player in making someone’s life easier, better, etc., so you should get comfortable with putting yourself out there; YOU are what sets businesses like yours apart.
DON’T GO APE-$HIT
The flip side here is people posting photos that are not congruent with the brand (I spoke to a woman who runs a serious business, and the pics on her site, were, well, let’s just say I wasn’t sure what type of business she was in.) or posting SO many photos of themselves that it takes away from their offer.
Again, all in moderation and with deep knowledge and respect for the clients’ needs.
Are you a solopreneur that sells products?
Say you sell furniture made by others or you make organic dog biscuits.
I would recommend branding and positioning your business as a business. You become less relevant. If you leave tomorrow and have a team capable of shipping or baking, no one will know or care.
Offering a product and running the production line is exhausting. Here it’s really important to be able to step back and and ask yourself: “Can I hire someone to do this task for me?” “Do I need to control every part of the business?” If the answer is “yes” out of financial limitations, see when you can start hiring or outsourcing and plan for it.
If you don’t need to be involved with everything because your clients don’t actually care if you’re there or not, free up some life space and expand.
Do you sell a product or offer services in a team environment (you’re not the only coach in the collective), where you’re not necessarily the face of the organization?
Then we need to look at what you all collectively want to bring to the table and what the vision is for the group in order to brand correctly.
When I work with groups, where there are several stake-holder, or important opinions to consider, I collect these guys and get them in a room together (or a group call) when we do the strategy and branding work. Going through the process often illuminates dynamics in the group that weren’t always apparent. Someone wants one thing, another wants another. Who’s driving? What are the REAL intentions and business objectives?
Align with a group you can really see yourself working with.