A few years ago I would have told you that I didn't need to work on my personal brand. I felt its was more important to put all of my energy into my companies name and image. Our efforts paid off and we sold the company but when it was all done, no one knew who I was. It's taken years of work to build my personal brand but it's the reason I have a column at Inc. It's the reason I got a book deal. It's the reason why opportunities come my way every week.

What do you think of when you hear the word "brand?" For many people, logos, slogans, style and products come to mind. While these are all things that factor into an overall brand, these things are only a small portion of the picture.

Cultivating a brand is serious business, and often requires some outside help and perspective. But make no mistake: Whether you intentionally create one or not, you DO have a personal brand, you just may not be aware of it, and you may not have put much thought into it.

It's important to be intentional when it comes to your personal brand. Here are 5 ways to build yours:

1. Identify Your Existing Brand

This is the first step. What do people see when they contact you or come into contact with you? What does your visual image say about you? What do they hear and feel when you speak? What do they think of you? Understanding what it is that people already experience when coming into contact with you is the best place to start.

2. Identify Any Inconsistencies In Your Personal And Professional Brands

Building a solid personal brand is an important part of your business. There should be a sense of cohesiveness and consistency. Identify elements that do not mesh or anything that contradicts. This is where some outside perspective is helpful.

3. Create A Personal Mission Statement

This is an effective way to help create and build your brand, especially if you're feeling lost. Your mission statement makes it easier to ensure that you are always on track with and staying true to your brand. Any time your actions, business, products, services, interactions, outreach, social contact, etc. are not aligned with your personal mission statement, your brand suffers. You mission statement is a away to hold yourself accountable to your goals.

4. Understand Your Target Audience

If you haven't created a customer profile yet, now is the time to do so. Fully understanding your target audience can help you build a brand that resonates with the people you are trying to connect with.

5. Be Yourself

Yes, it's old advice, but it's still solid. Authenticity is what attracts people to brands. They will resonate with your story and your honesty will win their loyalty.

A strong personal brand is good for you and good for your business. Once you have figured out these important elements you can get to work on promoting your personal brand and that can be lots of fun.

Want to learn more about building a personal brand then pick up a copy of my new book The Entrepreneurs Book of Actions.