Dubai: Personal branding isn’t what most people think about when they’re thinking about starting their own business — but they should.

Personal branding helps people to choose the right business; it helps them to find their customers; it helps them to design the best marketing strategy; and it helps them to grow and scale their business. That’s why personal branding is the heart of the ultimate employee-to-entrepreneur transformation system.

Most aspiring business owners think branding is something big brands, big names or big businesses have to attend to. Many don’t realise the difference between their personal brand and their business brand. Others think that having a catchy logo and business name constitutes their brand.

Every business has a brand whether they recognise it or not. Your brand is what your business stands for, what it is known for, and why customers will choose you over one of your competitors. It’s easier for a small business to build a strong brand because the owner is the heart of the business.

It is your personal brand that gives your small business its character and personality. Big brands have to work at “humanising” their brand.

That catchy logo and concept? Your brand is much more than that. It’s not just what you want your business to stand for. It is what other people think about your business, what they think matters most.

Determining that takes a bit more work than just choosing something you think is trendy.

So what’s the difference between your personal brand and your business brand? As a small-business owner, you have a much more direct effect on your customers than a CEO in a big corporation does. Your business is not something completely separate from who you are, what you value or how you behave.

Your strengths, passions and personality are the heart of your business brand. But your business is only a part of you. Your personal brand is much larger than your business brand.

It is the potential of all that you might become. Personal branding helps you to identify the ways you may later expand, scale and diversify your business or start other businesses.

The ultimate employee-to-entrepreneur transformation system uses personal branding to help you discover your personal brand and leverage it for your small business. It starts with understanding yourself, then understanding your industry and market, then understanding what customers will want what you have to offer.

The system helps you to choose the best business for you and create the business model that will best work for you. It helps you to create your own niche rather than choosing a niche that already exists and having to compete with others.

Branding gives people a mental and emotional idea of who you are and what you stand for. This is important because all buying decisions are part logical and part emotional. People will choose you because your brand resonates with them; they identify with it or they like what you represent.

Developing your brand makes you memorable, recognisable, and differentiates you from your competitors. It helps you to choose the kind of advertising and promotion that best suits you and the marketing that appeals to your ideal customers.

Building your own reputation as an expert, demonstrating what you care about and stand for, managing your image and perceptions about you. This is how you give your business brand a foundation before you even launch a business.

Branding isn’t something that happens after you’ve launched your business and achieved some success; it’s what you do before you launch a business in order to achieve success.

The writer is Founder of and Wealth Dynamics Unlimited, which hosts the Millionaire Summit in Dubai.