The social media revolution isn’t the only phenomenon we are currently experiencing today, as there is another called the “branding” syndrome.
Is that a disease? Heavens no, it is a significant concept in product, personal and concept design marketing that assists in the selling process.
I am besieged by this phenomena with many of the clients I meet, but particularly in my encounters with young entrepreneurs and small business owners. It is with this abundance of exposure that I feel prompted to discuss with you this week the concept of entrepreneurial branding, to see if you can find a fit in your life’s journey in the entrepreneurial world.
With our unemployment still fluctuating like a roller coaster, company downsizing continuing to confuse, our economic future causing bewilderment in many Canadians, one topic remains constant—entrepreneurship is a hot button item on most lists.
Starting one’s own venture provides a means of making ends meet while doing what you love, instead of looking for outside employment.
Yes, while entrepreneurship truly does mean risk, it also allows for creativity and autonomy.
Even with statistics highlighting apparent failure rates for a plethora of reasons, entrepreneurs who fail still have a better chance of succeeding at their next venture attempt.
Why? Because they have previously gained knowledge, experience and an understanding of what doesn’t work for them.
Before I continue with some thoughts on establishing your entrepreneurial brand, I wanted to share a moment on what might be construed as a problem.
When any entrepreneur brands their product, business or concept, invariably that entrepreneur becomes associated with that brand—i.e. Bill Gates with Microsoft, or Steve Jobs with Apple.
Now, that is not a problem until the entrepreneur decides to shift gears and consider a new and unrelated venture.
Not an unusual tact for a serial entrepreneur, people who globally launch a series of entrepreneurial ventures that may or may not have a direct relation to each other.
But, it does pose this question: How does one open a new era of an entrepreneurial venture while still operating under an existing brand personally or otherwise?
If the two entities are grossly unrelated, you will likely not be able to use your existing brand reputation to attract clients for your newest venture.
Another potential negative issue is the possible loss of credibility with existing clients.
They may sometimes assume you are taking on a side job because your initial venture is not doing too well. In other words, you may not be as good as you seem…ouch!
While your entrepreneurial spirit and energy should unquestionably be applauded, we are, unfortunately, a society accustomed to assume the worst when people take on extra burdens.
So that said, let me get back to some important lessons to help each of us establish a powerful brand in our entrepreneurial journey.
Always be authentic in your brand journey.
People connect with real people and generally can spot superficiality.
Stick always to your core values and beliefs and base your brand off of them.
It does work, my friends. In essence, never compromise your values nor the image you wish to project.
The devotees you may create will always have certain expectations about your brand.
If you disappoint them by falling off-track, you may lose them forever as loyal fans and customers.
An entrepreneurial textbook item—be unique as many other companies may be selling similar products, services or concepts but few may get any attention at all.
“Distinct or extinct” is an entrepreneurial management phrase highlighting if you don’t differentiate yourself as an entrepreneur, no one will pay attention to you and your venture’s objectives.
Figure out what makes you different, then tell your tale to the marketplace in a compelling attention-grabbing fashion to create the magnet that will draw in your customers and hold them tightly.
No question, you must innovate constantly, another hallmark of the entrepreneurial journey.
If you don’t, you will find your grasp on the market slipping through your fingers at a rapid pace.
Witness the new generational power of the social media phenom—you can gain overnight recognition.
Finally, for today’s pronouncements, and I do believe in this point very strongly as it has proven itself so many times in my life, almost no matter what it seems I have become involved in—be around the right people.
As an entrepreneurial person, you will need a strong support system of family, friends and business associates.
The people around you influence your career, family life and ultimately your entrepreneurial venture success.
Surrounding yourself with people you like, trust and are not, in any fashion, toxic in any degree.
Please believe me dear readers, when you and I are authentic, we’ll humanize ourselves and our ventures.
When we’re unique, we’ll stand out and shine in our industry, which will attract new venture opportunities.
And when we surround ourselves with the right kind of people, we will be blessed with the type of support to soar our entrepreneurial venture to the moon and back.
Joel Young is an
entrepreneurial leadership educator, coach and consultant and founder of the Okanagan Valley