How To Think About & Approach Positioning Your Small Business Brand Online
You Are Fearfully And Wonderfully Made
Each member of your body is positioned to play out a specific function in achieving a larger/greater goal. From the largest limb to the baby toe, no two members are the same; they all have a different purpose to play into their strengths.
Businesses are no different. Whether big or small, product or service-based, they are all a part of an industry “body”. As a member, our positions are different because our strengths are different. So, why doesn’t anyone understand their purpose?
Each client I’ve had tried to appeal to their ideal clients (of all people) by pointing out the flaws of their competitors. Honestly, it’s like being on a bad date where the person just keeps going on and on about someone else, essentially missing the opportunity that’s in front of them! I avoid those insecurities when visually positioning their service online by re-focusing the conversation on their strengths and who those strengths are best aligned with. This helps them recoup control of the narrative that matters.
Ask Yourself, Why You? Not Why You're Better?
Essentially, these two questions are the same, but with 'why you're better?' making clients new to web design think they need to look outside themselves for the answer, I've found it best to start with a version of the question that's a bit more focused. So,
What’s the one thing you're good at?
What is it about your process, personality, or product that your clients unequivocally agree you 'had them at hello' on?”
Sounds easy, but there’s a whole industry of people bad-mouthing someone else’s service just for the sake of their own. You might even be one of them! Remember, unique means there is no one else like you. When you truly understand that, you not only cease being in competition with people in your industry, but it gives you the confidence to compliment, work with, or even be corrected by someone else (doing the same thing you’re doing). It’s totally liberating!
Too many business owners aren’t thinking about their positioning in this way and missing an opportunity to rise above the fray. We’re all a part of a unified agenda which is to serve, but each of us, whether we’re cognizant of it or not, has something we are able to do effortlessly; naturally. So, you can’t take your competitors’ place, and neither can they take yours; nobody wants to see their elbow in the middle of their face and say it’s replacing their nose. So, we all have our place. But, in order to be a part of that conversation, you have to unveil the hidden mystery of your strengths first, to get to your core purpose.
The good news is when you’re in a country or industry with such a low bar for differentiation, the returns on doing the work that clarifies your value will come that much quicker, which is what we want — results!
So Why Aren't More People Doing This Work Locally?
To really own a specific space in someone's mind, requires doing something most business owners cringe at.
Think of niching like a route you take to a specific destination. You use it all the time. It’s the easiest way for someone headed in a similar direction to avoid specific hindrances capable of delaying their arrival time. The only problem is, you’re the only one aware of this detour.
This area you know well is where the magic happens. But it’s also a space where founders tend to exhibit signs of claustrophobia because of the thoughts associated with selling one thing, and the feeling of doing the work to get the clients in need of that service. But in my personal experience, working on my business and working with clients, you’re already attracting and working with these people. Deciding to only focus on them is the work of positioning you verbally and visually, then being committed to growing in your understanding of those you serve in that space.
It’s a less attractive benefit to mastery I guess when all you're thinking about is the money you could be making with random people. But it's also a necessary example to illustrate what someone serving in their position is thinking about and purposefully striving for, daily.
The Red Bushing Man: said, when they were just starting out in their business about 4-5 years ago, many tried to persuade them to take automotive jobs they weren’t positioned to provide as a service. After careful deliberation, they decided to only focus on what they did well which at the time consisted of “one product for one make of vehicle.”
They’ve since expanded their services to other parts of the vehicle’s suspension as well as many different types of vehicles. But the focus of their business (which is to save mechanics who specialize in vehicle suspension and race car drivers from the expense incurred using rubber bushings) and how they achieve providing that service through ‘The Better Bushing’ is still the same. The benefit of being so focused and committed is they can easily avoid the type of clients who will derail their objective (to become the premier brand in Trinidad and Tobago for polyurethane bushings), because they have a very clear service for a very specific clientele.
Upon launching the site, they got 2 new mechanic contracts, and have since been flooded with distribution inquires from all over the Caribbean.
Cru Nonpareil: decided to focus on the clients with more complicated fitting needs from their shoe because not only are they in need of the service, and much happier and thankful for it, but, they can also afford it.
Sometimes focusing on a specific under-served market is the way to become the go-to expert in that field. Even if your skills are applicable to an array of people. In this case, serving ‘men with average size feet’ could commoditize the brand since unlike his ideal clients, this market had options.
That foundation prepared the founder for one fleeting afternoon where his business basically blew up seemingly overnight! He now custom-designs shoes for high-profile clients. But, it’s his initial decision to own his strengths that made his purpose clear and his unexpected viral exposure, exciting, because it introduces his brand to men truly in need of his services.
You can’t afford to let fear control you if you want to be a true beneficiary of positioning. But fear is also a necessary part of how to know that you’re positioning yourself the right way. Test it out before jumping in with the workbook I’ve made. It takes you through the process of understanding what your value is first, so you can have a chance at positioning the service you provide.
I am the Founder and Visual Brand Strategist at The BrandTUB
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