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Four Personal Branding Tips for Business Owners

For CEOs, building and maintaining their personal brands while keeping their company’s integrity in shape is perhaps the most challenging thing to do.  Dan Schawbel, an author and an expert in personal branding, pointed out that any business owner should try to strike a balance between professionalism and personality in order to craft a perfect niche online. He provided the following tips that will help entrepreneurs achieve this:

Employee empowerment: Though you might feel that you will lose control if you let your employees publicly share your message. But what you stand to benefit clearly supersedes your worries – a legion of brand ambassadors.  As Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos puts it, encouraging your employees to have Twitter accounts and connecting with customers is one serious way of   boosting the overall reputation of your brand. Know that your success largely depends on the activities of your employees, so rather than holding them back, try to empower them.

Use your title to gain exposure: Most media companies would want to have an interview with the CEO of a company rather than speaking to employees. Always try to leverage your title as often as possible. For example Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Fame, has written a number of articles and books that discuss about politics, the economy and his business. This will keep people interested and always keen to listen to him over time. Another good example of a CEO who uses his name to gain more exposure for his company is Richard Benson. He is a writer with entrepreneur Magazine, and is a popular face these days because of his countless interview sessions with the press. This has enabled him push his company’s agenda.  Always be a available not just to speak about yourself or your company, but other topics as well, that keep people interested, and keep you in the spotlight.

Building culture: In the words of Lou Gertner, a former CEO of IBM, "Culture isn’t just part of the game - it is the game!"  Tasks are accomplished through people, and people are strongly bounded by culture. As a CEO, you set the tone of culture in the organization for others to follow. Therefore, always be clear on the operating principles and core values of your organization.

Build a Strong team: One cannot emphasize enough how creating a strong team is so vital to building a successful brand. In fact, the success of your organization depends largely on the individuals behind you. When Eric Schmidt was the CEO at Google, he made sure to develop capable hands including Marissa Mayer who is now the current President of Yahoo!  His ability to recruit and train industry rock stars enabled him to reduce his supervisory role and concentrate on other things that would move the company forward. You too will look good if you have a strong team of talented people working behind you.  

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