Did you know that 95% of businesses tend to fail within the first five years? It’s also likely that much of the hard work done by entrepreneurs vanishes when their business fail. This is because the work they’ve done is tied to the brand they built around their specific company or business.

Building and managing your personal brand as a business leader, can increase your chances of business success because your personal brand will survive business failure. In fact, your personal brand should be built to last a lifetime. Your personal brand can enhance your business success, and this is why I recommend that you work to build it, even before you launch your business.

What is a personal brand? In simpler terms, it is the mental picture that people associate with you when they think of you. It is the value that is attached to the mere mention of your name. Think of it as your promise mark. When you create your brand with a positive reputation and with a connected community of followers behind it, you will remarkably maximize the odds of launching a thriving startup, because you bring the credibility you’ve already built along with you. The key is to build a solid personal brand that will enhance your business success.

Is it time for you to focus on your personal brand? Are you ready to consider the kind of mark you will leave behind as a leader?  I’m here to tell you that no matter where you are in business and in life, it is never too late to start building your personal brand message to enhance your leadership.

Here are four things you should know before you get started building your brand:

1. Be Your Genuine Self

Your brand must be an exact reflection of who you truly are. So know what you believe in, what you stand for and what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Remember that people want to authentically connect with others that they know, like and trust. People may not trust you if you don’t seem like a real person or if appears that you are faking it. Even if you manage to sell a fake persona at first, it’s not likely to last. Just a small bit of inconsistency could be problematic.

So, before building your personal brand and sharing it with the world, understand your true self. Be brave, take your mask off and reveal the best version of you. Don’t be afraid of being exposed. The things that you are afraid to share with the world are actually the things they most need to see.

2. Be Seen and Be Heard

Look for opportunities to  be seen as well as heard. Speaking engagements can be a great way to get your message out and build your brand as a business leader. You may not find high quality speaking engagements right away, but taking advantage of smaller opportunities can be a great way to start. Begin with clubs or organizations you already belong to such as your local Chamber of Commerce. Be consistent and you will gradually build your reputation and receive invitations to speak at bigger and more significant events and conferences. No matter where you have the chance to speak, embody your brand message with confidence, by always delivering the greatest amount of value each and every time.

3. Build a Strong Online Presence

A key to establishing your personal brand is to create strong and visible digital footprints. Having a website that you maintain exclusively for information about you and your business is one way to accomplish this objective. This offers you maximum control over your brand message and the perceived value delivered. Once you have a website, be sure to add new content and update it on a regular basis to keep your presence fresh and your brand relevant.

I also recommend creating social media profiles on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,  Instagram, etc. However, make sure that you find the best environment that allows you to connect with your ideal customer or client.  Be sure that each social channel presents you in the finest and most professional way possible. Fill out the profile areas completely so that people can see what your personal brand is all about, and know how to contact you. Remember to use top quality professional photography. Above all, add valuable content, interact with others and share their content frequently to build community as you showcase your brand message.

4. Always Remain a Learner

It doesn’t really matter how well you know your niche; be wise and remember that things are changing at a faster pace than ever before. Always keep yourself updated with the latest in your industry. Be intentional about learning new things, expanding your knowledge and developing new skills. If you choose not to learn and grow, your brand will reflect this stagnation whether you like it or not. Needless to say, this will impact your business success. So choose to learn new things and incorporate them into your personal brand.

As you discover and sharpen your personal brand and align it with your business, you will magnetically attract the right opportunities. Don’t forget that to lead effectively, your personal brand should be built to last a lifetime. While it will naturally evolve overtime, don’t leave it to chance. It’s up to you to be in the business of being consistent and taking action to create your personal brand on purpose.