In the first and second part of this blog series, we looked at what branding is and why it’s important to solopreneur. (Read Part 1. Read Part 2.) Let’s look in part 3 at some of the branding challenges you may face.

There are a couple of branding challenges for solopreneurs that you need to keep in mind as you plan your branding strategy. The first challenge is deciding on the best approach in terms of what brand you want to build. You have two choices:

  • Branding yourself personally versus
  • Branding your business

There are pros and cons to each approach, which are worth considering carefully before making any major decisions about how you are going to represent the brand.

Branding yourself personally

What do Emeril and Oprah have in common? They are their own brands.

Solopreneurs Branding ChallengesSolopreneurs Branding Challenges

They are their brand and the spokesperson for their brand. You get to decide what your brand represents and how you want to present it. The disadvantage of this approach, however, is how much burden it places on you in reference to how much work you have to do and how visible you are. Oprah has plenty of people working for her, but SHE is the brand and front person and has to deal with media, nasty critics, and more. You need to have a pretty thick skin to put up with being the center of attention all the time.

On the other hand, if you have the skills, experience and/or position in your industry that will make people sit up and take notice every time you publish a new post on your blog or social media account, you should brand yourself.

Branding the business

In this scenario, you may be the expert behind the excellence of the products and services being offered, but not the brand itself. This puts you under less intense media scrutiny. It is also a good idea if you ever need to exit the business, in other words, sell it and move on to something else. This may be hard to imagine when you are first starting out in business, but the truth is that big brands buy other big brands and pay good money for them.

solopreneur branding challengesFor example, Linkedin bought the #1 PowerPoint sharing site, Slideshare.net and then got purchased themselves by Microsoft for far more than the stock was valued. Why? Because the bigger company could see the huge potential of the brand and wanted to take it to the next level.

Once you’ve decided which type of brand you’re going to present, then it’s time to start organizing the material you will need in order to make your brand consistent. This will take time and you might not have the budget at first. The main thing to decide is what you wish your brand to represent. What makes YOU different from everyone else out there working in your niche or industry?

This is commonly termed your unique selling point or (USP). It answers the question for the consumer, “Why buy from you?”

Your unique value proposition (UVP) is slightly different. What is the mission behind the company? What are your ethics?

Once you decide on your key differences and your USP and UVP, you will be getting closer to the point where you can start building your brand and making it stand out.

Your mission statement

What is your mission? In other words, why are you in business? What do you hope to achieve? If it’s only to make money, that’s not an ideal branding message. (Tips on writing your mission statement.)

Your business plan

Many new business owners don’t start with a business plan, just an idea, and some passion. However, a plan can help you set goals and determine the best strategies to adopt when you’re building your brand.

For example, a new bricks and mortar business will use a number of different strategies that an online company doesn’t need to even consider. However, an online business might find it tougher to stand out in a very crowded market.

So, how can you build your brand and make it stand out from the moment you start up in business? Let’s look at a few considerations in the next blog post.


A Solopreneur’s Guide to Business Branding Checklist

Branding is all about creating instant recognition in the minds of your target audience. There are a number of steps to building and growing a successful brand. As a solo entrepreneur, there will be a lot to do. Download this checklist so you don’t leave out anything.

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