I attended the Spark & Hustle Small Business Boot Camp earlier this month as part of the Texas Conference for Women. The day was focused on small business owners, and those who wanted to be, and there were some great speakers. Samantha Ettus’ discussion about personal branding in particular has really stayed with me. What hit home was we can all do more to control how the world sees us by paying close attention to the story we’re telling about ourselves.
This is equally true in our business and personal lives. Knowing our strengths and framing our story to best showcase those strengths goes a long way in managing our overall impression. Sounds simple, right? Not necessarily new or groundbreaking. But so few do it. Think about it – can you name anyone in your own circle who actually does this well? Women seem to have an especially hard time “curating their story” as Ettus calls it. Because we are connectors, we often focus more on the other person and feel uncomfortable or inauthentic if we’re touting our own strengths. Authenticity is also often translated as being totally honest and many women feel less than honest if they edit their story to focus only on the high points. Also, to be successful in communicating our “brand,” we have to believe wholeheartedly in the best version of our story. And summoning that kind of confidence can be a stumbling block for some.
My business partner, Brenda, and I went through this “storytelling” experience recently where we needed to come up with the best version of the On Your Mark story. We created a series of videos about the business – what we do, our experience and why our clients work with us. It was fun to take some time to assess and communicate our strengths, talk about what we’ve done and basically, tell our story in a confident and positive way.
Women business owners need to be bold, to stake claim to their expertise and stand strong while communicating everything they have to offer. No one is going to do this as well as you, so think about your greatest moments and how you can craft them into your story. Say it out loud to yourself. Run it by friends or trusted colleagues. Get comfortable with telling your story in a new way. And then come back and tell us how it went.