This article originally appeared on Inc. Magazine. Read the original here.
A new breed of founders and entrepreneurs are changing the idea of what it means to start a business. Traditionally, founders preferred to work behind the scenes. They made things run and achieved growth incognito. That's not quite what we see today. The most notable founders in this day and age have become the faces of their companies -- the best advocates for marketing their business and spreading their message.
Founders like Oprah, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Marc Benioff and Martha Stewart are embracing this trend. If you're an entrepreneur, you might be asking yourself why this is necessary. Here's how I can help answer this:
Consumers Need to Connect With Other Humans
Consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they have a connection with than one that they know little about. It is crucial to make a connection with your consumer base that looks for authenticity and the more human side of a company. While I was initially hesitant to be at the forefront of our brand, I realized that creating a human side to our company and sharing it with our customers and prospects was key to moving us forward.
Although it was not the most comfortable role, stepping out and becoming more vocal and present helped us create stronger ties with our customers. If you're still hiding behind the curtains, it's time to step out and be your best spokesperson. I first realized this when I had to coax some of my employees to speak on our company's behalf. Why send someone else to do your job?
You Set the Tone and Example for Your Entire Company
Sounds scary? You bet. But let's face it: You should be the best role model your employees have. Your passion, vision and guidance is what every employee is looking for -- to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves or their individual contributions.
Although I might be overly ambitious and excited about new features or services we roll out, I have noticed that my own enthusiasm motivates our employees to embrace change and get excited about new things to come. This helps strengthen our culture and brand. Don't be afraid to be yourself and share that with your company.
After all, there's a reason you created your business in the first place. Let that same passion you had when you first started your company shine and fuel others around you.
No One Can Market Your Product or Service Better Than You
You might have great salespeople who bring in leads every day, but there won't ever be someone as well equipped to sell your product or service as you. No one believes in your product or service as much as you do. So, why do most entrepreneurs shy away from being their biggest brand advocate?
Perhaps it's because we all have some fear or another that we need to overcome. As a founder, you know how it all started, how the business has evolved and where it's headed, making you the best person to answer any questions and quell any fears or hesitations on the prospect's behalf.
A few years ago, I transformed the way we sell and educate consumers about our products and services. We've opted for a "pull" instead of a "push" strategy. Through video content, newsletters, blogging, industry content and more, I've found that embracing the role of being our company's No. 1 spokesperson has given us recognition we might not have otherwise had.
If the thought still makes you uncomfortable, remember that there's so much to gain from being the one in the spotlight. From industry recognition to stronger relationships, being the face of your company doesn't have to be a scary thing. It should be exciting -- and a means of connecting more closely with your loyal customers.