Are You Your Own Personal Brand Manager?

Your answer to this question should be “YES!” unless, of course, you are a celebrity or any other global personality who can afford an entire marketing team to manage your image and reputation.

We should all be taking charge in creating, establishing and managing our own personal brands online and offline. Once you have begun to establish yours, managing it can be a piece of cake.

If you are active online with blogs and social networks, managing your brand can be as simple as Googling yourself and using Google Alerts to stay updated on any new mentions or publications of your name, your websites, your blogs, your articles and more. When offline, managing your brand can be as easy as carefully reviewing your performance evaluations at work and/or seeking consistent feedback from family, friends, supervisors and other career stakeholders to make sure your personal communications are being effectively transmitted and correctly received.

As I continue to surf the net for new articles about or related to this topic, I have been amazed at the number of voices against these concepts.

Here are just some of the questions and comments I have come across from such voices:

1. “People are not brands, because people are not products.”

2. “Who cares about your personal brand?”

3. “Personal branding is narcissistic.”

4. “Are you so unsure of who you are that you must reaffirm yourself via internet tools?”

5. “Why is it so important to make sure your online image appears the way you want it to?”

While I respect and understand where each of these points is coming from, I must reinforce the importance of personal brand management in response to each one.

1. It is true that people are not products. However, often we choose one product over other similar products because of its brand (a.k.a. its unique and differentiating value) and how that value fulfills our need in a given situation. This holds true for people, as well. Each person has a unique and differentiating value, or personal brand, that fulfills an organization’s need in a given situation better than other similar people.

2. We should all care about our personal brands because they combine our strengths, our personalities, our reputations, our values and our goals all into one communicable, unique and differentiating value that we bring to the table.

3. Personal branding isn’t narcissistic unless taken to the extreme. Promoting your strengths and your unique and differentiating value to your career stakeholders is healthy and important for your own self-fulfillment and achievement in life. As more and more professionals brand themselves, it is essential that you establish your own brand in order to stand out in your job search and career development.

4. Keeping track of your online reputation with simple online tools does not make you less confident. The internet is a vast and ever-evolving platform on which it is much easier to miss “fires” threatening our personal brands and reputations. Therefore, we must fight fire with fire to stay on top of everything and protect our reputations and our investment.

5. Your online image is just a part of your overall image and personal brand. If you invest time, energy and even money into your own personal development and image offline, it makes sense that you will want your online image to match.

Personal branding is simply creating, establishing and communicating a unique and memorable value and reputation, and personal brand management is the consistent upkeep and maintenance of this value in the spheres in which you choose to exist and be active, both online and offline.

Brand managers establish and protect the value that your favorite chosen brands of products deliver, so be your own personal brand manager and protect all that you have to offer!

Is it Ever Too Early to Get Business Insurance?

There are various things that come to mind when people start and grow their own business. They think of financing, location, and even legal fees associated with their dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur. What they often overlook or don’t consider is the need for business insurance, especially small business insurance for many, when embarking on the challenges of a starting entrepreneur. Incorporating your needs for insurance is a vital component of the start-up process.

It’s never too early to think about small business insurance when starting your business. In fact, it probably wouldn’t hurt to include it as part of your business plan. Depending on the kind of business you’re in, and the types of risks and insurance obligations associated with what you do, the cost of insurance can be a vital component of how your start-up is financed.

General business liability insurance: Ever hear of it? If you haven’t, then it’s just another reason why incorporating small business insurance early into your business plans is vital.

General business liability insurance is one of the most available means of insuring a business from liability. Liability comes in all forms and a specific policy to cover you specific business is necessary.

In essence, since doing business involves some degree of contact with the public, you expose yourself to the possibility of causing injury or damage to a member of that public. It’s not like the kind of insurance you get for your home, where most of the people who come by are family or friends. The likelihood of getting sued because somebody slipped and fell on the driveway you forgot to shovel is low.

However, the likelihood of getting sued because someone who had some contact with your business feels you’re responsible for harm to them is much greater. That’s where general business liability insurance comes in and should form an integral part of your small business insurance plan.

Given the extent to which having insurance is a vital aspect of doing business, it just follows that incorporating it into your business plans as early as possible is just doing good business.

Every single business has its own unique needs when it comes to receiving adequate coverage, which is why planning for it early becomes wise. Small business insurance can cover anything from the risk of having a tornado hit your office to the chance that someone is going to sue you for the bad carburetor you installed in their minivan that caught on fire. Having a plan in place early on to cover you particular risks will allow you to adequately assess your risks and finance your business.

It’s a common mistake to assume that small business insurance is something you get after you’ve taken care of everything else. Although this is a better attitude than believing that business insurance is unnecessary or too costly. Purchasing business insurance late in the process can mean that you’ll encounter costs you simply did not expect or, maybe even worse, which you’ll have to settle for insurance that won’t adequately meet your needs.

Is it ever too late to get business insurance? Of course not. But the point to keep in mind is that it’s never too early to get business insurance either. Most successful businesses do one thing very well. As much as humanly possible, they try to manage the future. What does that mean? Well, it can mean a lot of things. Yet, generally speaking, it means that the smart business operator will always try to think two or three steps ahead instead of being complacent or looking back.

One of the most important aspects of looking forward for any business is the extent to which they manage risk. That’s where small business insurance and general business liability insurance come in. An entrepreneur who incorporates these into their assessment of risk as early on as possible is more likely to confront the future than one who doesn’t.

Since risk is extremely large when starting a business, it only makes sense that it be dealt with in all its forms almost from the beginning. The more that an entrepreneur does this early, the more they’re doing to confront the risks associated with all startups.

The beauty of small business insurance and general business liability insurance is that it takes one part of your assessment of risk and essentially out-sources it to someone else — your insurance provider. If only all risk could be dealt with in the same manner. It’s why getting an insurance provider you can trust early on is so important. An insurance provider who gets you covered with a plan just right for you, and does it early on, will help you deal with one of the many challenges facing a starting small business.

The need for small business insurance is vital for any new business. Without it, you’re exposing your business to risks that could ruin all your other hard work and planning. It’s why insurance should form an integral part of that planning and be incorporated in something as early as a business plan. Things like general business liability insurance are necessary for entrepreneurs who expose themselves to the risk of doing business with a public you might not even see or come into contact with. That’s why a good package early on is the only way of doing business smartly.

Digital Marketing to Promote Businesses to Greater Heights of Success

Conventional or off-line marketing has existed since the beginning of history. But, these days, if a business is to achieve success then, there is just no better alternative to on-line marketing. To put it in short, on-line or digital marketing is all about promoting a business across the virtual domain of the Internet. Some of the core strategies for this line of marketing include web designing, email marketing, social media promotion, search engine optimisation, content marketing including videos and others. This modern marketing concept is potential enough to make or break major international brands and small-scale startup businesses, along with everything that range in between.Overlapping domains of conventional and digital marketingAny marketing approach through digital media channels is digital or on-line marketing. The domain of digital media is fast expanding. Presently, social media channels, websites, TV, radio, mobile handsets and even non digital media like billboards and transit displays are considered as digital marketing components. In other words, at present, conventional marketing include aspects like P2P (person to person) marketing, elements of direct marketing that on-line marketing does not cover and print advertising. Actually, the domains of off-line and on-line marketing are fast overlapping each other. Elements of traditional marketing like on-line directories, URL landing pages, web banner advertising, QR codes and others have a strong connection with on-line marketing.Reasons to assign greater importance to digital mediaIt is not just marketers and business owners who are driving the shift to digital media. Even consumers are contributing to this phase change. The majority of digital media channels, including various social media platforms and websites, can be more easily tracked. Whereas, print media and other traditional marketing approaches are hardly easy in that aspect.In contrast to traditional advertising, its on-line counterpart is much cost-effective. Unlike running conventional advertising, one does not need to invest a fortune in running on-line advertising campaigns. The modern advertising approach is equally ideal for small, medium and large-scale businesses, as well as for startup brands.These days, consumers do not flip through yellow-pages or directories anymore, to find any business to avail its products or services. They Google the required information, either using their hand-held mobiles, laptops or desktops. Thus, businesses hardly have any better alternative other than depending on on-line marketing using the platform of digital media.Dependable web solutions companiesIn this vastly changed landscape, businesses need to hire reliable web solutions-providers. Actually, modern marketing efforts for businesses revolve around building smart and business-friendly websites. A corporate website should ideally represent both the business and the brand. It is also important to ensure that it is easily navigable and user-friendly. Last but never the least, businesses need to invest on optimising their websites, so that the sites rank higher in SERP (Search Engine Result Page).There are many freelancers, providing web design, development and SEO services at reasonable rates. It is better to pay a higher price and hire a professional brand that provides comprehensive web solutions than working with freelancers. There are many brands that provide a wide and impressive range of services including web design, search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing, PPC advertising, social media marketing and many more. Hiring such companies will give better mileage in course of time.