The most valuable currency in the world is trust.
Without trust, it is hard to forge long term relationships. Without trust, people don't do business with each other. Without trust, people won't buy from a particular brand.
Our spotlight today is on Steve Wee, founder of BrandYourself Agency. Since it's inception, Steve Wee has has helped many entrepreneurs take their businesses to greater heights through the power of branding and trust-building.
Below is our interview with him:
What’s Brand Yourself about and why did you start it?
Brand Yourself believes that everybody is born to shine and everyone should take charge and build a personal brand that is powerful; one that will knock the socks off the competitors and stand out in the noisy world and be the superstar in your area of expertise!
Our mission is to empower our clients with sustainable knowledge and tools so they can build a strong reputation both online and offline.
Since my days in the airline industry, I have always loved to observe, analyse and learn the keys to success from those who have made it. From my observation, these successful entrepreneurs all have something in common, which is their personal brand is strong where others tend to trust them more.
I have then realized that personal branding is more than just looking good — It involves many other aspects such as communication skills, soft skills, being likable, constantly being visible, and more.
Putting all my observations into practice, I have successfully built up my personal brand and I am able to build trusted and sustainable relationships with the people I met.
Trust is such an important element, especially for entrepreneurs. So, the idea of helping others to build trusted relationships with their prospects using personal branding has ignited me to start Brand Yourself.
You have a new High Flyer Award coming up. What was the inspiration behind it and what do you hope to create out of it?
High Flyers represent a new generation of entrepreneurs, taste-makers, opinion leaders, and influencers — who, individually and collectively, are wielding significant power over the world that they live in.
I have been frequently invited to various award nights and the thought of “Why are business award nights so boring?” has bothered me. I would like to do something different. I want business awardees to be celebrated like celebrities.
The idea of spicing up business awards with fashion elements struck me and that has been the inspiration to create the High Flyer Award.
I hope that the High Flyer Award will be an award that celebrates individuals’ achievements as celebrities, irregardless of the industry they're in.
What’re your thoughts on the SME market today? What can be changed, how can some things be done better?
The SME market today is very competitive. Everyday there are new businesses opening up and some businesses are forced to closed down.
I believe the 3 pillars of success come from (1) Business Knowledge, (2) Personal Branding Strategy, and (3) Environment & Ecosystem.
Firstly, you will need to have a strong understanding of business to support your company's daily operations, and to be prepared for future market changes. When you have strong business knowledge, you will then need to strategize your personal branding.
In business, it is difficult to build trust. With a strong personal brand, you will be able to elevate the process of building trust. You will also be able to become a connector for others and transfer the trust when your personal brand is strong.
Besides these 2 pillars, you will need to have your own environment and ecosystem which is able to support your business growth. When you have an environment and ecosystem that is very supportive towards each other, your dependency on 'outsider' support will be less.
You’ve been an advocate for personal branding and style, do you feel this is necessary for business? What can entrepreneurs do to bring their personal branding to the next level?
I would definitely say “YES”, personal branding and style is necessary for business.
Personal branding is more than appearance, it has to be a holistic approach, where you will have to work from your visual to your brand story, communication skills, online branding, networking, and working with the media.
Entrepreneurs could start by dressing up, increasing their likability by improving their communication skills, attending more networking sessions, and start to do more online branding through social media. Persistency is definitely a key here to successfully bringing one's personal branding to the next level.
With all these elements in place, trust will be much easier to build due to their credibility and high visibility.
What’re the struggles you face as an entrepreneur? What’s the journey like today?
One of the challenges I face as an entrepreneur is learning the right wisdom to grow and move to the next level.
I am a big believer of free-ing yourself 30% of the time to upgrade and learn the right wisdom to help you elevate to the next level.
As a person who is not very proficient in Mandarin, I have even went to the extent of challenging myself to attend courses in China, where classes are conducted fully in Mandarin. This is just because at times, opportunity may appear without you knowing it. Hence I strive to fully equip myself with the necessary wisdom when opportunity knocks.
If you could change something in Malaysia today, what would it be?
Every entrepreneur should be a celebrated entrepreneur.
By being a celebrated entrepreneur, the journey will be smoother and easier as people will be able to trust you and provide the necessary support needed throughout the journey. Without trust in a relationship, many can't be executed, even if you have the best business plan or product in the world.
Thus, I would like to help my fellow entrepreneurs use personal branding as a tool to build trusted relationships and be on the journey of a celebrated entrepreneur.
What’s one key take-away you’d like to share with entrepreneurs today?
I would say ‘Aim to be Number 1 in Your Industry’.
Put in your 120% effort working towards being number 1, and you will then always be ahead in the competition.
What’s next for Brand Yourself?
We are aiming to be Number 1 Personal Branding Agency in Asia.
That’s why we have already planned ahead where Brand Yourself and High Flyer will be going to both China and Indonesia in year 2019. We will be involving 15 Asia countries in the High Flyer China and Indonesia.
Besides that, we also have Asia Young CEO Conference in our pipeline, where young CEOs in Asia countries will be invited to share their stories with others — it’s a platform for young CEOs from various countries to connect with each other.