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Your Personal Brand is Equal to Your Google Results

Your Personal Brand is Equal to Your Google Results

Your Personal Brand is Equal to Your Google Results

    People you know or have never met yet are googl’ing you. Let’s face it, you’re even google’ing yourself! At the end of

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      2007, the Pew Internet Research Team found that 47% of people search for information about themselves online (Self-Googling), which was more than double 5 years ago. It’s a pretty safe bet that percentage has climbed to over 50 or 60% by this year.

      Some people might can it ego-surfing, but it’s actually a good practice to see what results come up for your name. Your teachers, friends, family, boyfriends and girlfriends and coworkers are google’ing you either for fun or because they want to learn more about you. Hiring managers want to see if you have a clean record in Google, which is your permanent record because every move you make (yes even a blog comment) is stored there forever. Before I went on a second date once, the girl Google’ed me. If she hadn’t liked what she saw, the second date wouldn’t have happened. Try doing it right now and see what you get.

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      There is no hiding from Google!

        Google keeps track of just about everything you do on the internet. It patrols and captures your online behavior, such as when you post on your blog, tweet using Twitter, join social networks, comment on other blogs, write articles for online news sources and more. Aside from the content you create and distribute over the internet, other people are talking about you, which means that Google has a complete picture (almost like an autobiography) of your life. In the digital age, Google is your resume, your permanent record and a journal of your life. Your children and children’s children will be able to find out everything about you when they grow older. “Mom, look what I just found out about Dad in Google.” Your personal brand can’t hide from Google. There is one major exception to this though.

        Common names

        If your name is common, such as Mike Smith, then it will be very hard to own your Google results. There are over 54 million results for “Mike Smith” in Google. You won’t be able to compete with the athletes and musicians on the first few pages. If your life goal is to rank in the top ten results, that may be achievable, if you either become very famous or work extremely hard at building content each and every day for your entire life. At the age of sixty you might find out that Google changed their algorithm and you’ll lose all that hard work. The point being is that you’ll have to differentiate your name in order to rank high. I typically recommend you use your middle name or a nickname in this case. The worst case scenario is that you change your name completely ;).

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        Celebrity names

        Celebrities are very fortunate because they get mass media attention, which means traditional media sources (NY Times, ABC News) write articles about them. These sources rank extremely high in Google. We’re talking Google PageRank’s of eight and higher! Your blog posts about these celebrities will never end up on the top twenty results for their name unless you are Perez Hilton. If your name is the same as a celebrities, you are in big trouble. Try searching for Christina Aquilera (21 million results), Britney Spears (88 million), Lil Wayne (40 million) and other major celebrities. Personally, I don’t have any friends with these names, but even with C-level celebrities, you don’t stand a chance. If you are stuck with a celebrity name, I suggest that you build your brand around an area of your expertise or interest and connect it to your brand name.

        Unique names

        While growing up, you might have been made fun of people of your unique name because it was “different.” Although you were ostracized and made fun of, right now you get to laugh at everyone else! With a distinct name, you are able to easily manipulate the results for your name on search engines. When you go to your high school reunion and see your friends, you’ll get the last laugh because you can be visible and control perceptions, while they simply cannot. When you Google your name, whether you have results that reflect your brand, you’ll see how hard it will be to rank high for it or not. Depending on the competition, it may take you a few days or a few months. Over time, if you work very hard, you’ll own the top ten results for your name.

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        In my next post, I’ll talk about what you can do to gain control over your Google results and let your personal brand shine through.

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        Dan Schawbel

        Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for young professionals.

        Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success 3 Areas You Must Invest in During an Economic Recession Your Personal Brand is Equal to Your Google Results Command and Control Your Google Results 5 Things to Do Before You Build Your Personal Brand

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        Last Updated on May 28, 2020

        How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

        How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

        Learning how to succeed in business used to be a case of being really good at one skill or area and milking it for all its value. Today, we are fast becoming a “skills economy”[1], driving trends in employment and even the way we approach entrepreneurship.

        To succeed in today’s business landscape, business owners and executives need to possess a mix of skills that enable them to stay ahead and adapt to change.

        1. Digital Savviness

        As the adage goes: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Today’s entrepreneurs need to take to the internet to increase their presence and to remain relevant in an evolving business landscape.

        Companies like Amazon, Netflix, Airbnb and more are a testament to the disruptive impact of technology and the new image of what it means to be a skilled, successful professional. Think about today’s Mark Zuckerberg versus a banker from the 90s.

        Being able to quickly adapt to new technology, like cloud applications and collaborating remotely across the internet, is fast becoming the expected norm for executives.

        For businesses, discoverability on the web is becoming a quick litmus test for credibility. Potential customers and investors bank on the first page of Google to make up half their minds about making further transactions with a business. GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying[2].

        How to Develop This Skill

        For a start, begin by hosting your website and reserving all of your brand’s handles across social media platforms. While hiring a web developer might sound like the next step, consider first hosting your company’s site on more user and budget-friendly options like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.

        From here, you can start on some simple search engine optimization techniques that will increase your discoverability over time. Through keyword research, organic content creation, and external back-links, your site will, eventually, slowly but surely garner more traffic.

        Note, however, that an increase in search traffic does not immediately imply an increase in revenue. But it’s a start for delving into customer conversion rates in the future.

        2. Financial Forecasting

        Let’s face it, many business owners feel that time could be better spent on developing and running the business instead of planning for it financially. However, a financial forecast serves as a roadmap for shaping any kind of business and is not just reserved for the likes of listed companies providing financial guidance to shareholders.

        Largely, forecasting and planning your financial goals will give you a clearer idea of resources required and ways to measure success. It can also provide assurance to investors as a testament to the thorough research and planning you have done when included in business plans.

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        However, inaccurate forecasts can lead to livid investors and mismanagement of expenses, which could potentially result in financial teething problems. When creating a detailed financial forecast, a rule of thumb is to always start with your expenses.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Generally, it is easier to calculate and predict your expenses compared to your revenue, so noting down your expenses is a starting point to benchmark how much you might need to generate in sales to turn a profit. It is a good habit to regularly update and evaluate how adjacent your operations are to what you have forecasted.

        Building a precise set of growth forecasting will take time, but, remember, you are an investor in your own business. You must have confidence in the validity of your business concept.

        3. Video Production Skills

        The rise of visual mediums and the dopamine boosts it gives to users has long been researched and proven as providing an unfair advantage to businesses that leverage it[3].

        If you’re a heavy user of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to stop once you get started on a binge-watching session.

        In fact, video marketing is seeing a non-stop rise in popularity and effectiveness when used in conjunction with social media to drive traffic and boost conversions[4]. According to research, by 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content[5]. With video marketing becoming more ubiquitous, businesses that fail to leverage the power of video are almost certain to lose out.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Some ways to get started with using videos for your business would be:

        • Creating a series of educational videos that cover useful information for your audiences
        • Live videos interacting with your community at large (these can be shot on your smart phone)
        • Using videos on landing pages to boost your customer conversions

        4. Benchmarking Personal Goals to Business Performance

        As far as you get into achieving endeavours on your business bucket list, it’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur is just one facet of your identity. Don’t forget why you started in the first place.

        Ambition usually stems from some lifestyle goals you’ve always wanted for yourself and the people you might be providing for today or in the future. Working 24/7 is a surefire route to burnout and may manifest in an unhealthy interaction between partners and employees as well.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Money can’t be your only motivation, but look into the positives of how having more financial freedom and time can impact your life. In the short term, involving your interests in your businesses can make everyday tasks feel less like mundane errands. In the long run, your business may also bring you fruitful rewards, including personal fulfilment.

        Set realistic income goals to manage expectations for your performance and your company’s revenue, especially during its earlier stages. See how projected growth can align with your personal goals and make adjustments accordingly to maintain a balance between growth and your personal values.

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        5. Leveraging Healthy Competition

        Some of the best athletes who have spent their careers neck-and-neck with each other have changed the standards in their respective sports. The notion of healthy competition applies to the business world more than it may seem on the surface.

        Innovation has always been a key driver in free markets, which were intended to boost economies and provide customers with more choices. Just like the biggest sporting rivals that build on each others’ game, you can use your biggest competitors to hone your strategies.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Turn a competitive market landscape into an advantageous one by leveraging on long-established systems your business proposes an alternative to. Learn from the mistakes of predecessors once you discover their product or service loopholes.

        For example, the Dollar Shave Club’s viral video[6] became a big hit because it hit the right buttons of consumers being tired of purchasing expensive but low quality shavers from incumbent retail giants. Going in second meant they could fill a gap competitors might not even have been aware of.

        Apart from lifting off from what could have been your second-mover advantage, solidify your place with your business’ own first-mover advantage — whether you’re tapping into a new geographical region, unexplored market sector, or introducing a business model that proves more viable than others. There’s always room for improvement in business from mature markets to newly emerging ones.

        6. Honing Pitches to Investors

        Stand out in a broad mix of budding entrepreneurs by mastering the art and science behind a solid investor pitch that can determine the acceleration of growth for your business. Get comfortable talking about your ideas and receiving feedback or questions from peers, partners, and advisors before setting out to make a good impression on potential customers and eventually investors.

        The phrase “If you can’t convince them, confuse them,” will certainly never get your business funded, especially in front of seasoned venture capitalists who have seen thousands of startup pitches. You should be able to deliver a quick elevator pitch that summarizes your unique proposition and its market viability for casual meet-ups[7] because you sometimes only have a few minutes to make a good impression and move on to another meeting.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Develop your investor pitch deck by highlighting your business’ strongest points, which will vary for every funding round. Create your deck with the investors’ interests in mind, balancing technical jargon and buzzwords.

        You can also introduce your diverse team of experts, some proven traction, or the current state of the market to demonstrate profitability and the attractiveness of the opportunity to investors.

        Ensure each slide flows into the other to develop a persuasive narrative, utilizing consistent and intelligent design principles to support your content.

        7. Developing a Strong Brand Identity

        In a world of saturated content and numerous emerging businesses that offer similar service lines, developing a unique brand identity will help you cut through the noise and stand out from your competition. From aesthetics to the body of clients you’re associated with, these contribute to how you’re perceived by prospects looking to buy.

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        Evaluating your brand identity is linked to identifying your target customers, your business goals, a proposed promised land your solution achieves, and identifying values that are aligned to these components. Brand identity serves as a guide to maintaining consistency and creating an image you want your business to be associated with.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Efforts to strengthen your brand identity are closely tied to giving marketing strategies a direction. By knowing what makes your target customers tick, their values, ideals, and behavior, you will be able to elevate your business from simply being a service or product to be utilized into a projected brand customers and partners would be happy to identify with.

        8. Automating to Your Advantage

        The need for efficiency is often the general problem new businesses aim to resolve across all markets and industries. Assure that your proposed solution is more efficient than what’s readily available in the market to instill the need for it.

        Efficiency is often achieved nowadays through digitalization and new technologies. While your product or service may not necessarily be the most innovative out there, you can apply the same automation concept across your business’ daily operations.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Shorten turnaround times and conversion rates by investing in small tools for automation where you deem fit. While it may come out of your pocket in the early stages, evaluate the holistic advantages and benefits of automating certain processes. At our office, we’ve tried using collaborative apps like Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Asana and a few other popular apps to reduce human error and friction.

        9. Managing Millennials

        Your team plays an integral part in whether your business will accelerate at breakneck speeds or be dragged down by dead weight. Hence, it is imperative to be selective and strategic when choosing your team.

        In leaner small business teams, the addition of every new teammate can impact how your organization culture evolves.

        Today, learning to manage millennials has become an increasingly sought after skill as well due to the increasing proportion of them in the workforce[8]. Some brand them as strawberries that are easily bruised and others loath their need for “meaning” and wearing t-shirts to work.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Naturally, there are many misconceptions surrounding millennials, and various businesses would do well to leverage their unique skills.

        A couple of ways to manage a millennial team include:

        Encourage a Flat Team Structure With Open Communication

        Maintain clear professional lines between supervisors and subordinates but keep communication channels open to ensure no negativity festers.

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        Offer Constructive Feedback

        Baby boomers are well known for their straightforward approach to delivering feedback. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t always take feedback in a form that could be construed as deep criticism.

        Being constructive with feedback ensures that we don’t coddle millennial workers but also tell them the things they need to hear.

        10. Maintaining a Network of Connectivity

        Instead of proposing a business that’s ambitiously and entirely disruptive to the supply or process chain in a respective industry, foster connections with other companies that cater to the same target customers as long as they provide a different service.

        By creating partnerships, both you and other businesses thrive simultaneously through creative avenues for customers to utilize your products and services for a holistically improved user experience.

        Sole market disruption isn’t always the best strategy to take. Not everybody has the opportunity, bandwidth, or financial capacity to dominate and monopolize a marketplace. See your potential for integration into other businesses and services as a good opportunity for co-collaborative marketing efforts with shared campaigns, split costs, and a strengthened customer database for everyone to tap into.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Regardless of the stage your business is in, never stop looking for ways to expand your network. Keep in contact with mentors you can look to for valuable industry advice that can help you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes. Strengthen brand awareness by attending cross-industry events and casual meet-ups to open your business to reinvention and innovation.

        As the African proverb goes:

        “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

        Collaborating will get you where you want to go quicker and gear you up for further growth.

        More Tips on How to Succeed in Business

        Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

        Reference

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