What is Your Brand Saying About You?

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not around.” Joseph Michelli, Ph.D.

Back in 1975, a hardworking mechanic decided to start his own business. He was a young, enterprising person who worked diligently. After he had been repairing industrial equipment for a dealer for a few years, he was anticipating a promotion. When the son of the owner of the dealership came home from college, he was awarded the promotion that our mechanic had set his sights on. With a young family to support, and against the desperate pleadings of his wife, who preferred a stable, but small, income, the mechanic set out to start his own business.

After a few weeks, he ran into a business owner whom he had helped in the past while working with his previous employer. This man was successful, established, and well-known in the small town. He came over to the mechanic and said, “I heard you started your own business; come with me.” The business owner took our mechanic to the local parts store and asked for the owner of the store to come out. These were the days before cell phones, social media, and email. The owner came out of his office and listened as the established businessman said, “This man is my mechanic, and he has recently started his own business. Please open an account here for him. If you need a personal guarantee, I will guarantee his purchases.”

The young mechanic, with a desire to succeed but nothing in the bank, was shocked to hear this offer to back him up. He had nothing and came from a less than well-off family. When they were outside, he asked the business owner why he had decided to back him like that. The business owner told him, “I watched you while you were at work. You always came through on your promises, and you are a man of your word. Your work is good; you are honest; and, you’re a hard worker. I believe in you. This young mechanic did succeed in his business, and he became a successful business owner within his community. His concerned wife became his accountant and, together, they established a lifelong legacy in that small town. However, our mechanic may never have accomplished his dreams of succeeding in his own business if not for the support of his friend, the established business owner. What the mechanic didn’t realize was that long before his dream of business ownership was born, he was creating his own personal brand.

A person’s character and deeds create a legacy that others remember for years to come. Long after you leave a job to start your own business, or after several promotions at the same company, people will recall things that you did and said when you first began your career. For professionals, REPUTATION becomes their brand, and it follows them wherever they go. This concept was true in a small town in 1975, and it rings even more true today. With technology advancements, our world has become just as small as the smallest rural town of the 1970s. Make a single customer unhappy, and that experience can haunt you in online reviews for years to come. Fail to pay one vendor, and that slow payment can reverberate through vendor networks across the country. Even the type of clients that you serve who are out there giving you positive reviews can affect your overall public impression. It is the year 2017.In this global village, every business owner should consider the impact of each decision that he or she makes, because nothing is ever done in private. As technology advances and the internet of things becomes a recognizable term, the savvy businessperson must know what our mechanic knew over 40 years ago.

As legendary coach John Wooden said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” Our mechanic, now 70 years old, will tell you that it may seem like nobody is watching, but they see everything.

Share this on...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

Written by blountlaw