How Personal Branding Can Help Grow Your Small Business


As a small business owner, you’re familiar with the five core business functions:

  1. Service
  2. Manage
  3. Market
  4. Sell
  5. Retain

Often, the first two take up a lot of your time, leaving you with limited opportunities to focus on marketing, selling, and retaining customers. Each of these functions is crucial for growth. But there’s a solution: building a personal brand. This strategy can help you streamline your efforts, boost your visibility, and attract loyal customers, ultimately driving your business forward.

What is Personal Branding?

Personal branding is the process of building a distinctive identity for yourself in a professional context. It involves strategically promoting your expertise, values, and unique qualities to differentiate yourself from others in your industry and create a memorable impression on your audience.

So, is personal branding the same thing as influencer marketing? Not quite! Personal branding is not just for influencers or celebrities; it’s a powerful tool that can help small business owners and entrepreneurs carve out their niche, attract loyal customers, and ultimately grow their business. Let’s explore how personal branding can benefit your small business and provide actionable tips for leveraging it effectively.

The Benefits of Personal Branding for Small Businesses

A strong personal brand helps you stand out from the crowd, be more relatable and authentic, bolster your credibility, build stronger connections, and gain control over your online presence. And whether you’re actively trying to or not, if you’re online, you’re building a personal brand.

Unintentional personal branding means leaving impressions based on your behavior, interactions, and online activity. Examples of unintentional personal branding include:

  • Casual social media posts
  • Word-of-mouth recommendations/referrals
  • Online reviews
  • Personal interactions
  • Personal achievements
  • Reputation among peers
  • Public perception and image

Intentional personal branding means actively and purposefully cultivating and managing your brand. Examples of intentional personal branding include:

  • Consistent online presence
  • Valuable content creation
  • Visual identity
  • Networking events
  • Partnerships and collaboration
  • Volunteer work and community involvement
  • Speaking engagements

How to Develop Your Personal Brand

Developing your personal brand is a process that happens over time. But here are five tips to get you started.

  1. Do a self-inventory/Define your brand identity: Identify your unique strengths, values, and personality traits that align with your business. What makes you stand out? What do you want to be known for? Use these insights to craft your brand identity.
  2. Be Authentic and Consistent: Aka, be you! Authenticity is key to building trust and credibility with your audience. Stay true to who you are and consistently reflect your brand values in everything you do, from your social media posts to your customer interactions.
  3. Tell Your Story: Share your journey, struggles, and successes with your audience. People love stories, and storytelling is a powerful way to make an emotional connection and humanize your brand. A great example of someone who does this is Sarah Blakely, founder of SPANX. She is transparent and shares her real-life stories, including the challenges and failures she faced on her entrepreneurial journey.
  4. Engage with Your Audience: Actively engage with your audience on social media, blogs, and other platforms. Respond to comments, ask for feedback, and initiate conversations to foster a sense of community around your brand.
  5. Collaborate and Network: Build relationships with other entrepreneurs, influencers, and industry leaders in your niche. Collaborating with others can help expand your reach and introduce your brand to new audiences.

How to Develop Your Personal Elevator Pitch

Just like you have an elevator pitch to sell your business, you need one for yourself. Take these steps to define your personal elevator pitch:

  1. Define your key strengths, skills, expertise, and experience.
  2. Answer the following questions:
    1. Who are you?
    2. What do you do?
    3. What makes you unique or special?
    4. What value do you offer

3. Keep it concise.

For an example, here is mine:

Hi, I’m Caitlin, a brand storyteller with a journalism background. I specialize in crafting social media narratives that set brands apart while staying true to their voice and values. With my knack for succinct storytelling, I help clients stand out and make lasting connections in a crowded, dynamic digital space.

How much time should you commit to your personal brand?

Remember, when building your personal brand, consistency is key. Make sure you allocate time each day. The recommended time is anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes – or more! It’s a good idea to add it to your daily schedule of activities, similar to taking lunch or going for a run! Activities include creating and sharing content, engaging with your audience, networking with industry professionals, learning new skills, and participating in discussions.

Personal Branding for Your Team

As a small business owner, you should encourage your team to build their brands, too. This is beneficial for both you as a small business owner and for your organization. Here’s how you can do that.

  1. Lead by example.
  2. Offer support and guidance.
  3. Encourage networking.
  4. Promote thought leadership (blogs, podcasts, speaking, etc.).
  5. Provide options for visibility.

In today’s competitive business landscape, personal branding can be a game-changer for small businesses looking to grow and thrive. By showcasing your unique identity, connecting with your audience on a personal level, and consistently delivering value, you can create a strong personal brand that sets you apart from the competition and attracts loyal customers who believe in what you stand for. So, embrace personal branding as a strategic tool in your small business arsenal and watch your brand soar to new heights.