Social media and the digital age have made us more aware of how we are publicly perceived. We quickly learned that it matters how we represent ourselves: each of our expressions and interactions is forever stored online, a record of who we are and who we have been. Cultivating an authentic yet strategic image is essential for anyone looking to make an impact in today’s world because it helps clarify their mission, skills, and personal values.
For entrepreneurs, image is essential because first impressions often dictate how much trust a customer can have in you or your brand. Projecting the best and correct image for your personal and professional brand will help you create clear messages on all platforms and contexts.
Tip: There are three basic elements to creating a strategic but accurate image as an entrepreneur: an authentic message, specialized experience, and a broad perspective.
1. Discover Your Core Message
You can’t create a strategic image if you don’t know who you are. That is why it is essential to understand what makes you unique in the world, right now, in the culture and in your specific industry. Before you can create an image, you must understand who you want to be. Align your career goals with the image you want to convey and get inspiration from others in your industry. What key messages do you see coming from the people you admire? Do you have similar approaches? Take this information to build a person who is true to who you already are and who you want to become as an entrepreneur.
Image coach and entrepreneur Mena García does just that for her clients. She worked in modeling and acting before launching her consulting business. Now, you use the storytelling tools you honed in those previous endeavors to help your clients cultivate an image that effectively communicates your core message.
2. Demonstrate Your Specialized Expertise
Your image should convey what you do better than anyone, big or small. If you are an entrepreneur, perhaps your invention solves a problem and your specialized expertise is in a specific field. Take advantage of that information and demonstrate it regularly. This can also help create focus within your work. When you understand your unique abilities, you will know where you can put the most effort to further develop them.
Garcia said showing experience is an essential element in creating an image, and one that she focuses on when consulting with clients. Developing experience has also helped her grow her own business. She is an expert in color theory and uses this in her training to help clients understand how the colors they wear affect their perceptions. This niche sets you apart from others and is a key part of your own message.
3. A Broad Perspective Will Expand Your Reach
Keeping a broad perspective and staying informed about the world around you will ensure that you create a relevant image. This is not superficial. It is strategic. Continue to develop your education, expose yourself to new ideas or opportunities and share them with the people around you (professionally and personally).
García puts it this way: “Better yourself. Your professional skills are often a reflection of you as an individual. ”
Entrepreneurs should pay special attention to the way they present themselves publicly because it directly affects the perception of their company. Creating an authentic yet strategic image is an essential skill on the business journey.