on 10 Jun 2017 11:31 PM
  • personal branding
  • entrepreneurship
  • brand
  • leadership, strength, playing to your strengths,
Author: Ram V. Iyer


“I can explain it to you but, I cannot understand it for you.”  


That sounds cute BUT if you are talking about the customer – the guy with the money – it does matter that you communicate (and he understand) what you do (differently) that he should pay for.  If he does not understand you, you don’t have a business.  Ok, I am stating the obvious.  But, I have found in life that people often do not notice or do the obvious. You must define, communicate and ensure that your prospects understand what your stand for (your personal branding).

I am an MIT alum with a business degree, been a VC in Silicon Valley and have personally started 4 companies. Like every techie, I have always loved each of my ideas. But, the world has not always loved my idea.  Often, it has been because they did not make the association with the person behind the idea or my mission.  And, even if they did, they did not necessarily know what my brand was – what I stood for, what differentiated me,…..  In today’s noisy world, you need to define what you stand for and market your personal brand.  Otherwise, the world will neither seek you out nor your idea.

More than 75% of all businesses fail.  Business success is not guaranteed by just activity, great ideas, lots of money, a great team, etc.  Customers look at the product/service AND who is behind it; investors invest in the entrepreneur/CEO; talent joins a startup based largely on the entrepreneur/CEO leading it; angels invest in the entrepreneur/CEO; partners look at the credibility of the entrepreneur/CEO …you get the idea.  Let’s say you are a brilliant founder/CEO, have great credentials and are loved by your team.  That must mean potential customers, angels, VCs, future employees and partners are beating down your door, right? Are they?  I used to think they should be.  I look good on paper but it did not happen because something was ‘missing’. 

I have found in life that just because something is ‘obvious’ and ‘common sense’ does not mean people ‘see it’ or do it.  What was missing was a widely known personal brand for me – or the entrepreneur/CEO in the above example.  Without a well-known personal brand, the world will neither find you (and your brilliant idea) nor seek you out (your uniqueness and brilliance).  You must build and market your personal brand – who you are, what you stand for, what you want to achieve and why you are a desirable brand to be associated with.

I am…..(the words you put here define you and shape your future)

I have written an article about my learning on personal branding which you can read at http://bit.ly/pbblogpost.  The sooner you act to define, package and promote your personal brand, the greater the likelihood that you and your venture could get the attention they deserves.  Your brand could be based on any number of things – your brilliance, great ability to attract people, customers, partners, capital, etc.; it could be based on your credentials, location, social causes, lifestyle, rags-to-riches story, etc.  I have found (after failing to see the ‘obvious’ for years) that a person who defines and promotes himself will be better positioned to achieve greater success in life than a person who does not – hands down.  Most techies, salespeople and scientists who start companies fail to recognize the importance of building their personal brand.  Unless you failed to study probability (and buy lottery tickets with odds of 1:186 million), you can now see what you need to do – define, build and market your personal brand – common sense and obvious.

I researched the various elements of personal branding required and assembled a group of experts and a suite of services. You can simply let this team build and market your personal brand while you focus on building the next unicorn (company valued over a billion dollars).  You can see some of the services we’ve identified at http://businessthinking.com/personal-branding-services

My personal mission is to help more businesses succeed, increasing successful business owners and employing more people – raising the standard of living for everybody.  I’m sure you want to be among the ones left standing and be a thriving business. I hate to see 70% of businesses fail.  Please reach out to me if you’d like to have a conversation.