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Never more than today has the need to “control” your personal brand been more important. With information about you available across multiple social media platforms, you need to get your personal brand under control. As a business owner, you are directly associated with your company and a refection of what your business stands for. In this era of “people hiring people” who you are and what you believe is a direct reflection with your business.

It may seem simple, but when you begin to build your personal brand start with a search of your name. It helps to know what’s out there about you already and will serve as a starting point to update that information. With that research completed, it’s time to look at what you really want people to know about you and your company. This is especially true if your name is your brand. When checking your brand image, has it kept pace with your industry and competitors? Do you have a clear and concise explanation of your business? Are you simply stating what you do rather than telling how well you do it? Is your list of services too wide? The point is, if you’re going to market your personal brand effectively, it needs to be audited, updated and tuned for todays speed-reading online audience.

This project may best be done by someone outside the tent, who can be more objective and ask questions that challenge “what you’ve always done.” This should be a professional, but at the very least a mentor or peer who shoots from the hip. If this finds you at a cross roads about your business, this may be an ideal time to set up an advisory board of trusted colleagues who can deliver objectivity and honesty to benefit the business.

After you’ve found a clear and concise snapshot of your business, be different. If you expect someone to place their trust in your abilities, standing out and taking some chances with your brand will pay off. Don’t settle for a logo, website or marketing plan that is just as good as your competition. You didn’t get in to business to be the same, why have your image run the risk of being ordinary and safe? Search the web for businesses like yours in distant regions of the country to see who stands out. If you and your business are unique then prove it with your personal branding. Don’t follow the crowd, create a new crowd. Dare to be different – it will be refreshing and memorable to your customers and prospects – isn’t that what you really want?

Once your house is in order, it’s time to share your brain and work towards being the authority in your industry. This means writing – contributing content on your website, social media and industry outlets. Write a pitch letter to a publication with an interesting idea and point of view on a specific subject. Be liberal sharing information with your clients, prospects and influencers. Giving away just enough is a great way to have people begin to want more. Which is exactly why I’m stopping right here. We’ll talk later.