When you think of someone who’s been in the public eye for years and has rigorously maintained a personal brand image, Warren Buffett might quickly come to mind. Warren Buffett has cultivated a personal brand that ensures everyone knows who he is and what he stands for. Here are some of the lessons any entrepreneur can learn about developing a brand image from the expert.
The Importance of a Personal Reputation
One of Buffett’s most famous quotes is in regards to a personal reputation: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently”. In business reputation goes a long way, so this is an especially important lesson to learn early in your career. Having a stellar reputation leads to trust, which in turn leads to more opportunities and growth. A bad reputation, however, can be a deal-breaker.
Those who destroy their reputation in those fateful five minutes find that it can take years to recover. In this case, an ounce of prevention is most certainly worth a pound of cure. Carefully curating a public image is a critical part of maintaining a good personal brand reputation.
“The Oracle of Omaha”: The Importance of Expertise
You may have heard of Buffett referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha” due to his almost uncanny ability to pick the best investments. This phrase perfectly captures what Buffett is best known for; a modest man who largely stays out of the limelight yet shows a supernatural ability to make money grow.
The aspiring entrepreneur trying to build a personal brand should know that being an expert in your field is an essential foundational step in the business world. Therefore, it can be worthwhile to build a portfolio of thought pieces, articles, and online content to help position yourself. Post your work on sites like Medium, so you have a portfolio to link to when you’re trying to get published on more discerning business sites.
Advertise yourself when you can, even when you’re around your hometown. Buffett spent much of his early years hustling and selling his brand to potential investors, and no matter what business you’re in, you can do the same. Carry a stack of business cards around with you (if you don’t have a design, you can create one for free here), and take a few crash courses on salesmanship through Udemy or a similar platform. Successful entrepreneurs are often great salesmen as well, and Buffett is no exception.
Pick Public Engagements Carefully
As your brand reputation grows, the opportunities for public engagements will become more plentiful. Resist the temptation to stay in the limelight by taking a page out of Buffett’s book and picking your public engagements carefully. Less is often more, and having more meetings may sometimes lead to making more mistakes or saying more controversial things.
Buffett does minimal public speaking, usually only doing speaking engagements to other investors. He will do interviews at times, but they’re few and far between. Instead, Buffett lets his work speak for itself and focuses his time reading and educating himself on finances. He also famously still lives in the tiny house he bought decades ago in Omaha, despite having one of the highest net worths on the planet.
Since he is so discerning with his public engagements, his words carry a lot more weight than others. That’s a valuable part of any personal brand and one important lesson you can learn from Warren Buffett. Take all of these lessons to heart, and you too can craft an image as an expert in your field and a trustworthy entrepreneur.
CREDIT: Jimmy Delgado
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