One of the most common issues for business owners is defining their business. This is particularly true for personally branded businesses. An example of a personally branded business would be ‘Oprah Winfrey’. Her name is her business and her personal brand. There’s been a trend in these types of businesses over the last several years, which is great to see, but brings an interesting set of issues with it.
The biggest issue is a struggle with separating the person from the business, but also keeping some personality. You want to keep the professional part of the person and intertwine it with the business part of the brand. But you also need to keep your own identity as an individual, obviously. So what’s an entrepreneur to do?
Here are 4 guidelines:
1. Develop a strong tag line.
Naming your business after yourself is great, but you also need to let people know what it is you do and how you can help them. In these cases, the tag line is extra important. The goal is to condense it into just a few words that specifically define what your business is about. Don’t be too tricky, don’t make people guess. You want your tag line to be short and straight to the point. For example: “Coaching For Business Growth” would be better than “If you want to find ways to make your business better then call me to help you with that”.
2. Secure an effective domain name.
When choosing a domain name, you will have a greater chance of attracting potential clients searching for you online if your area of expertise and/or location (if location specific) is included is that name. Statistics show that more than 90% of the public is out there searching for products and services before they connect with anyone. If you secure a domain name such as, “EmmasCoachingSeattle.com”, it will work much better than, “EmmaLikesCats.com”. If your business was all about how much you liked cats, then that would be a great domain name, but if it isn’t then it’s not such a good choice.
3. View your business as a separate person.
Talk about it as a separate person. Plan for it as a separate person. But keep in mind that it is an extension of yourself. The higher, more professional part of yourself. Attracting the right clients will be a constant balancing act of personal and professional. Err on the side of professional in the case of business decisions. For example: ‘Oprah Winfrey the person’ may love cats so much she has them on her underwear, but ‘Oprah Winfrey the business’ will not talk about this because it’s not professional. ‘Oprah Winfrey the business’ will instead share with you a local underwear company that makes really nifty cat underwear in case anyone wants to buy some, because that’s what her business does – it promotes products she likes. Get it?
4. Don’t make business decisions based on personal preferences.
This is a big one and also ties in with viewing your business as a separate person. If your favorite color is pink but your business isn’t selling barbie dolls, then don’t use it. Use color as a tool. If you’re a business coach, use a color like blue that inspires trust. The same goes for any sort of advertising or marketing that you’re using for your business. If you like a type face, but it’s hard to read, then don’t use it. You won’t get your message across. Use a type face that reflects the personality of your business and is readable. If your family member likes to dabble in designing websites, but is employed as a vet tech, don’t have them design your website. Chances are it won’t look very good, it won’t work well and it won’t draw new clients in. Try hard to make decisions about your business from a perspective that takes your customers wants and needs into account, not your own. You need to sell to your customers, not to yourself.
If you follow these guidelines you’ll have a much easier time connecting with your target market, which in turn will help your business grow more quickly.