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As a business owner, how you behave impacts on the reputation of your business. Essentially, you are your business’ brand (brand being how others perceive you and your business). Your brand and your business brand are one in the same.

For example, how you respond publicly and privately to clients or suppliers, how you talk with team members, what you say about your competitors, how you present yourself at industry events, insights you share, comments you make online, etc… it all impacts not only your personal brand, but your business’ brand, and this can impact your bottom line.

So it’s important to ensure your personal brand is a positive one and this is something everyone can work on.

I think one of the things it comes down to is having a filter. While we all love to say what we think, in reality and business we can’t always do that. So it’s about finding the right issues to publicly comment and give your opinion on. Finding an appropriate or positive way to say what you think and knowing when it’s better not to say anything at all.

We’ve all had the experience of getting an email that gets our backs up – and the temptation to reply with a very direct ‘what I really think’ message can be overwhelming. A clever, pithy retort can be satisfying at the time – but when we review it the next day, it’s usually unnecessary and will almost certainly not reflect well on your personal brand (I know this from personal experience…)

My advice ― consider every interaction, email, conversation or meeting as “on the record”. Ask yourself how proud or happy you would be if everything you said or did was publicly accessible online (kind of like a permanent virtual reality show featuring you and your business).

It ceases to amaze me – what some folks will say in writing, in a blog post or in a tweet in their personal capacity. In the digital age, personal and business lines are blurred. Every ‘rant’ on Twitter is a very public, permanent and highly searchable record of your personal brand.

Why should your clients believe that you and your business respect them if they see examples where you haven’t respected others (be it in person, at an event, on Twitter, your blog, etc.)?

In essence it’s all about leading by example. It’ll help you build a positive and respected brand and this will have a positive effect on your business.

If you’re not actually sure what your personal or business brand is, perhaps take a step back and have an objective look at your brand, ask others for feedback or survey your clients.

Do you make efforts to positively shape your brand every day? What advice do you have for others?

What do you think?

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Julian Smith

Julian Smith

Julian Smith is responsible for MYOB’s corporate affairs, government and public relations in Australia and New Zealand and is also New Zealand general manager. The qualified lawyer has spent much of his career at large multinationals in a range of senior legal, sales, marketing and customer management roles. Julian is a regular keynote speaker and business commentator and sits on a number of government and industry boards and advisory panels. Julian can be found on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/JulianTSmith">@JulianTSmith</a> or contacted via email Julian.smith@myob.com

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