Be real or not – you can’t be both

When I first considered becoming a freelance trainer I was given some advice by an expert. She was definitely an expert – she had a smart suit and business cards and everything. What I needed, apparently, was to come up with a name for my business that implied that I was actually a much larger organisation than just one. So I spent a couple of weeks going round and around, trying to think of fancy names that would convey just the right level of trustworthiness, intellect and gravitas. I couldn’t. And I couldn’t for a very good reason; it was fake. When I look at websites that talk about “we” and “us” and I know that they are “I” and “me” it makes me uncomfortable. I also know that when I was procuring external consultants I wanted to have a relationship built on trust with the person walking through the door. So I decided to tell it like it is. My business name is Janet Webb Consulting – it does what it says on the tin. It isn’t posh or grand but then neither am I.

What astonishes me though is the number of businesses, many that I admire, that talk about being authentic, genuine, real and yet hide behind a website that describes themselves in the third person. What piffle. If you catch me doing it point it out. I understand that we have to market ourselves – I just don’t think implying something that isn’t true is the way to do it. But Janet may be wrong about this.

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