Deciding on where you will position your company can be a huge challenge. Competition is fierce. Often times, you are competing with other local shops, regional competitors, and large national chains. Some of them are more savvy than others when it comes to branding and positioning. However, taking the time to position your small business is probably one of the most important things you can do to ensure the long-term survival of your business.
Why is positioning important?
- Finding a unique value proposition is possible.
- Targeting specific consumers allows you to simplify and streamline your marketing.
- Defining who and what you are is much simpler.
- Telling a great story about your business will be possible.
- Allowing yourself to safe money through the many efficiencies that you will discover simply because you have refined your vision.
Positioning matters. There are basically two ways to get there – the hard way or the easy way. The hard way is what many struggling or failed businesses have done. They spend years and years in business having not defined their position. The flop around from one marketing campaign to another, hoping to remain relevant to their customers. When pressured by competition, they fall into price-oriented tactics (which ends up being about all they compete on). If these business owners are lucky, they might stumble upon the right positioning along the way. More often they don’t and they end up failing.
The other way, the easy way requires you to do one simple thing. Sit down now and figure out what your positioning should be. Take out a sheet of paper and plot out where your competitors sit against one another.
One way to approach this is to draw an x-y axis. Label the x-axis as low priced and high priced. Label the y-axis as poor service and excellent service. If you want to get really fancy, add in a z-axis (creating a 3-d model) labeled with general demographics (lower class, middle class and upper class). You should really determine what you will label the axises based up on your industry and your business objectives.
After you have spent some time examining your competition and where your best opportunities lay, then you need to write an actual positioning statement. Again, there are many ways to do this; however, there I would definitely recommend one. Roy Osing, author of “BE DiFFERENT or be dead” (amazon affiliate link) has come up with one of the best approaches to creating strong, effective positioning statements. He calls it “the only statement.”
If you are interested in learning more about Roy’s methods, I would definitely recommend checking out his book. He has also recently written a great post about the subject that is well worth reading.
If you are interested in working on your positioning statement, you are welcome to contact me (jwsokol at gmail.com). I am currently working on a couple of these for a couple of new projects I am working on. It would be a fun way to look at what others are doing and to get some additional feedback.