Gone are the days when small businesses were run by faceless bosses controlling the show from a distance. These days, owners of SMEs are usually much more hands on – and often, when they are just starting out, will be the only person in the company. Regardless of whether you have no employees or 20, as a small business owner you will become the voice and face of the brand. So you’ll need to make sure both you and your company are a true representation of what you want your brand to be.
Branding doesn’t just mean logos and aesthetics, although these are an important factor. The real idea of branding goes much deeper than this, and is all about the key messaging and values that you have as a company and an individual. Before you start out, or begin a marketing campaign, it is a useful exercise to try and map out what you want to portray to customers, and look at examples of companies that already achieve what you hope to.
You will want to create a tone of voice and character for your business, be it very corporate and formal ie a law firm, or quirky and friendly for something like a design agency. Your personal brand will need to echo this whenever you are representing your company. You could use a business personality test to find out what sort of branding you should go for, and which markets to target, before you set your business plans in stone. Remember that your own personality is naturally a key factor in building your business brand – it is much easier to tailor the business brand than it is to alter your own personality.
Consistency is key with branding, and as many of your clients and potential clients will view you and the company as one and the same thing, you need to ensure that your personal brand and your business brand match up.