I love working with small companies. The owners are passionate about their work, their clients and their future. Before I get started digging and clarifying a small business owner’s personal brand, one of the first steps is to determine whether they need help with their personal brand or their company’s brand.
The quickest way to figuring this out is ask yourself the question:
In theory, would you want to sell your business at some future date?
If the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ then you have two different brands to manage – your company brand and your personal brand. Your company model is is also called a “Business Builder Model”. This is where your company is expert in providing a product or expert in overseeing the work of others that your clients/customers pay to be completed.
Examples of “Business Builder” companies in dietetics are:
- Professional Nutrition Therapists owned by Donna Israel, PhD, RD, LPC, FADA
- Banister Nutrition owned by Carol Banister, RD/LD, MS, CDE
- Becky Dorner & Associates owned by Becky Dorner, RD, LD
If your answer is ‘no’ then most likely you are a solo practitioner or consultant. There are cases where your personal brand is the company brand and you have staff working with you. This would be the case if you are involved at the helm of all projects and your clients expect you and as their main contact. People are in this case paying a premium to work with you specifically. You are selling your unique insights applied to the client’s situation. This is why selling your company would not be successful, the company depends on your unique expertise. This is also called the “Expert Model”.
If this model is true for you, your clients would have significant difficulty being weaned from working exclusively with you. They are drawn to your company because of you and your authentic brand, not a separate company brand.
Examples of “Expert Model” companies in dietetics are:
- Hope Warshaw Associates, LLC owned by Hope Warshaw, MMSC, RD, CDE
- Keri Gans Nutrition owned by Keri Gans, MS, RD, CDN
- Nutritioulicious owned by Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
When you have separate company and personal brands to communicate, they should work synergistically. There may be cross-over, but they are not identical. Typically, your personal brand lends credibility to your company’s brand, but the company brand can stand alone independent of you. Your staff and their work or if you are product focused, the products you offer as a company shape your brand. Your personal brand will give your company strength and support – they are a natural fit.
If you are a small business, it is key to determine whether your company has its own brand separate from your own personal brand (“Business Builder” model) before spending any time or money on your own personal brand.
In the comments below, if you are a small business, I would love for you to shout out if you are an “Expert” or “Business Builder” Model and link to your site so others reading can see more real life examples.