Mar 13, 2015 ~ by Michael Dorrance

Building the Business of You

We often get asked “What can I do to grow my business?” My suggestion is to start building your personal brand. “My Personal Brand?” Yes, your personal brand is the building block of your business’s branding because it transcends your business to increase your ability to grow outside and beyond the reach of your organization. As a potential client, how do I know that you are the right fit for us? Or imagine if your business needs to shut down, how will you move on to the next phase?

Lets explore five ways you can start building your personal brand today.

Building the Business of You

1. Share what you know

You are the Master of Your Domain, a Subject Matter Expert or even a Guru. Fantastic! Kudos to you for your dedication to your craft.

But who else knows this?

Your clients? Friends? Family? Yes, I’m sure but beyond your inner circle? You're probably not world famous or even town famous but you could be. The easiest way is to blog.

Blogging? Who has time for that?

You would be surprised that you already blog. You do it everyday as you spend 15-30 minutes crafting lengthy emails explaining a process, detail or proposal to a client. BOOM! Take your professional composition and strip it of personal information with a sprinkle of general details and you have a blog post!

Copy. Paste. Post. It can really be that easy.

Don’t stress about changing the world in 800 words. Share what you do on a daily basis and you will not only build your credibility with current clients but future clients too.

2. Offer to help for FREE!

It is true that you are in business and that means that you need to bring in revenue. Think about all of the FREE consulting you already do with prospects that never pull the trigger. I bet that if you track the whole process it is 8-16 hours between scheduling, travel, meeting, emailing, and a possible proposal. 2 man days!

So how does offering to help for free fit into the equation? 

Imagine that you are at a casual party, professional conference or even a networking event and you strike up an engaging conversation with someone. You may or may not be in the same field or they may not even be an ideal client but they probably do know someone who IS. As I wrote in a previous blog, be genuine in your interaction but sharing information and offering to talk in further detail at a later date is a great way to not only build your network but spread the good news of your expertise. You have the opportunity to become a trusted resource and your positive intent will stand the test of time that leads to long-tail opportunities.

3. Mentor

You might be thinking that #2 is a form of mentoring and it possibly is but in a non-formal setting with no plan for continual engagement. Mentoring involves the commitment to help an individual grow over time. Are you a 30 year veteran of your local Chamber of Commerce and a new startup joins? Do you think that you have some advice that could help prevent the economic or emotional roller coaster that only time in business can teach? Step up and offer to help them become a success over coffee once a month.

What about a local community college? Do they have an entrepreneurial center or classes? Reach out to the instructor and offer to share your entrepreneurial journey with a presentation but also to be a mentor for those just starting out. No one should have to repeat history.

4. Create and/or Produce

If you were to do it all over again, what do you wish you knew?

The list probably goes from A to Z. Take that “Street Knowledge” and convert it into a book. Maybe it is a simple checklist? Perfect then make an infographic that shows someone a simple step by step process. You know what you do on a daily basis but what if you took you daily, mundane tasks and transformed them into a tangible repeatable process that could be shared? Imagine the karma points you could earn by saving a person or organization the trial and error? 

Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?!

5. Acknowledge others

Where you stand today is the by-product of the hard work of others. You might feel that you blazed your own trail, but I’m sure that is not the case. Maybe it is the story from your childhood, your parents or even a grandparent that influenced the path your life has taken. Remember the teachers and co-workers who took the extra time to make sure you TRULY understood the material or concepts.

Turn your life lessons into “Thank you” letters and share how the efforts of others at pivotal times in your life and career helped guide the decisions that you have made. No one is a success on their own. Keep the advice of others alive through your active sharing and acknowledgement. It is a humbling experience.

No matter how well you plan, life happens. Some businesses succeed and others fail. The one constant is YOU! 

Moving on to the next chapter will be easier if you don’t forget about yourself. Sharing your experiences is an easy way to secure your future. So remember, commit time to building your personal brand or as I think of it, the "Business of You".