Most business owners are the world's best-kept secret

Most business owners are the world's best-kept secret

In a world teeming with talent, why do so many brilliant business owners remain hidden in plain sight? I see it time and time again - incredible, humble, and wise experts who are completely invisible to their marketplace. 

They are credible but not relevant, with no social media presence, no digital footprint, and no real influence outside of their four walls.

I’ve also seen time and time again individuals who have built a large following online who are entertaining and popular but have not built anything. They make noise, they live gig to gig, but they have nothing else to show for it other than short-term wins. They have no credibility.

I work with some of Australia’s most influential brands and personalities and I can tell you this much - there is a huge opportunity and gap in the market for some experts to step up and stand out.

Who has more influence? Tim Cooke or Apple?

The answer lies in the delicate balance between two things: credibility and relevance. I've experienced this journey firsthand and understand the critical importance of not just being credible, but also being visible and relevant.

The significance of a strong personal brand in today's marketplace cannot be overstated. If you look at influence in terms of followership online, who would you think has more? Elon Musk or Tesla? Bill Gates or Microsoft? Tim Cook or Apple?

You may be shocked to hear that in each example the personal brand wins. Why?

If you want to stand out, you have to be seen, to be heard, to be chosen. Personal branding is not a trend; it’s a survival strategy. It’s the difference between being overlooked and being noticed. Personal branding is your professional image, credibility, and visibility in the marketplace.

You need to be seen, but also worth seeing. To be marketable, you must aim to build both your credibility and remain relevant. The latter can be done by having a strong social media presence, engaging with your audience, and staying on top of trends. Meanwhile, credibility is what separates the wheat from the chaff - it’s about having real-world success, earning the respect of industry leaders, and delivering value that makes a difference.

Even with this knowledge, you might still be the kind of person who doesn't necessarily want to have a personal brand, but the truth is you already have one.

If you’re not defining your brand, you’re letting others define it for you. Now, swap the word “brand” with the word “person”. If you’re not defining who you are, someone else will.

If you were asked “why should I listen to and buy from you and not your competition?” The answer may surprise you. This is why a brand is so important, yet it’s the part that is skipped over the most.

Your brand is your measuring stick when evaluating all things marketing. What’s “off brand?” What’s “on brand?”. Define it first.

Tips for building a personal brand

Make your message clear. Facts tell, but stories sell.

You must get your story refined to be told to your marketplace. The return on investment (ROI) of the story is connection. Without this, you are rendering yourself to be like an object - your story humanises you and gives your business a personality, which then makes you memorable and uncopiable.

Give value through educating, sharing value about your industry, about your hard knocks, about your wins.

Muhammad Ali once said, “It's not bragging if you can back it up".

The thing that makes a statement a boast or not is the intent. Personal branding is all about making your customer the hero, not you. If you make yourself the hero, you look arrogant.

I see the mistakes people are making is they regurgitate information or content they have seen from someone else, and then go and republish it. It sounds harsh, but credible people earn the right to have an opinion because they’ve done the work and built something.

Everyone, myself included, has to be asking themselves the question: “have I earned the right to speak on their topic?”

If you're going to share, share from your own experiences and case studies.

With creating content, I like to consider the ideas put forward by social media expert Gary 'Vee' Vaynerchuk, who talks about jab, jab, jab, right hook - a boxing metaphor that when applied to marketing means the jabs are providing value, and then you follow that up with the 'ask'; in other words the sale, the subscription.

You'll notice that if taken literally, the metaphor represents a 3:1 ratio of giving to asking, and in real life the ratio is often pretty close to that. In TV it's a bit more than a ratio of 3.5:1 when you consider that there is usually around 13 minutes of advertising for 60 minutes of airtime. That means 47 minutes are dedicated to ‘giving,’ and 13 minutes are dedicated to ‘asking’.

If you build your brand, not only having credibility but unabashedly demonstrating it, you'll make that right hook of going in for the sale so much more effective. 

It is time for Australian experts and businesspeople to step out of the dark and carve out your brand. Make your business findable, relatable, and partnership-worthy.

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