The Importance of Brand for a Solopreneur
How important is Brand for a one-person business?
Should you use “I” or “We” when talking about your business?
What do you put on the “About” page of your website or social profile?
I get asked these questions frequently by my clients.
My advice is always the same: The most important thing when running a one-person business is to be authentic. It may have been different thirty years ago, but in today’s world there is no shame in being a brand of one. So own it… turn what could be seen as a negative, into a positive.
How do you do that?
- A focused mindset
- A targeted niche
It’s all about mindset.
Don’t think about that big company selling products or services in your category as your competition. They are not! Figure out what makes you unique as a one-person business, and focus on that. This is your USP (unique selling proposition). That might include personal service, one-on-one relationships with the CEO (you!), fast customer response, customization & personalization of products or services, etc. You get the idea.
Then target the customers who value these features.
The customers who value your uniqueness are the ones who are willing to pay more for it. Those are your “ideal” or “most profitable” customers, and you need to be laser-focused on meeting their needs in a way that that big company cannot.
Build a Brand of One
Own the fact that you’re a one-person business, and build that into your brand. Here are some ideas for potential brand attributes that celebrate the “solo” in solopreneur:
- a personal touch,
- Access to the business owner (you) rather than dealing with subordinates
- Fast, personalized customer support
- Top-notch customer service
- Responsive to feedback
- Ability to meet custom requests
- In-depth knowledge of your target customer microcosm (the more focused you are, the more you can be an expert!)
Focus on Your Microcosm
Your brand of one is what differentiates your micro business from those larger companies in your space. Large companies market to an ecosystem, a broad customer base – they have to, because of the inherent overhead costs they have. You can focus your brand on a microcosm – a subset of the market that you know really, really well, and customers that value what you offer.
Now back to those questions that I started with…
Does a Solopreneur Need a “Brand”?
Your brand is you: what makes you unique (in terms of the value you deliver to your customers)? What adjectives best describe your business and your approach to your work and your customers?
Brand is much more than your logo or the look and feel of your website. In fact, those things are much less important than your USP (unique selling proposition): What is the one thing that is unique about you or your business that will convince customers in your microcosm that they should buy from you.
Is your Business “I” or “We”?
If yours is truly a solo business (you don’t even have any part-time or outsourced help), then my recommendation is to avoid using “We”. “We” is not true, and comes across as insincere to anyone who knows that you’re a solopreneur. Don’t try to be something you’re not… instead own what you are. At the same time, depending on your target market, sometimes using “I” comes across as too informal or in some cases even unprofessional in the eyes of your potential customers (again, depending on your market). In that case, try to phrase your copy without using either “we” or “I”. Refer to “the store” or “the company” instead. For example, you might write “new products have been added to the store”, or “the company delivers leading-edge services in…”.
However, if your business uses any labor other than yourself, whether employees, contractors, part-time help, or just family members who help out, then it’s okay to use “We” if that seems best.
Your “About” Page is Important
Studies show that the “About” page is usually the second-most visited page on any website, after the homepage. Having a good “About” profile is also an important part of your business social media presence.
Your About page should strike a balance of business professionalism, with your unique personality and flair. The exact balance will depend on your target market and what they expect (a lawyer’s website is going to need to be more “professional” than that of an artist, for example).
This is the place to really describe your “Brand of One”. Yes, talk about your business and what products or services you provide. But also tell your own personal and professional story – what brought you to start this business? What is unique about your business? What is your own background in your space?