How to define your market and position your business for success

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Many businesses and entrepreneurs struggle with how to position themselves in the market. FOMO (fear of missing out) causes them to define themselves too broadly- or not define themselves at all- because they don’t want to miss opportunities. Our desire to serve everyone is admirable, but not conducive to success (or joy) in our work.

The old analogy, if you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch any, applies here. It’s true that you can’t be everything to everyone, and clients know that. They want to hire someone who is committed to, and experienced with, meeting their exact needs. They aren’t interested in wasting resources with a generalist, so don’t be afraid to clearly define who you work with and what you do best. In the end, you’ll attract not only more business, but the kind of business you want!

So, how to you get started? Here are a few questions to get you on the right track.

Step 1: Define your ideal client

What is an ideal client? It’s a person who already values what you offer, and is willing and able to pay the cost to get it. In other words, you don’t have to convince them and they aren’t going to haggle on cost. Perhaps more importantly, it’s the type of person you enjoy working with. Here are two questions to help you define your ideal client niche.

Who do you want to work with?

Clients want to work with people who understand their situation, and you want to work with people who value your work. Being specific about who you want to work with will position you to reach the clients you want to attract.

Who are you great at working with?

Think about the times when you met a client’s needs exactly; the jobs that left you feeling great about what you do. That work was a combination of what you’re great at and what you’re passionate about. Talk about it!

For me, the answers were family business owners and independent entrepreneurs; and strategic planning, business coaching and leadership development. I do my best work for these types of clients and I love the work I do for them.

Step 2: Develop your credibility statement

The next step is to develop your credibility, or positioning, statement. This statement defines the clients you want to attract and communicates your talent and experience (the credibility factor). Mine, for example reads:

Kris Marsh draws on her Fortune 500 experience to help family businesses and independent entrepreneurs develop a clear vision of where they’re going, a solid strategy for getting there, and straightforward processes to get the work done.

Once written, review the statement to make certain it describes the clients you want to attract (your target audience), and what you can do for them (the functional work). From there, you can provide more context to define how you work with clients. My service summaries are:

Family businesses: strategic planning, organizational effectiveness and business process design

Entrepreneurs: strategic planning, business coaching, business acumen development

Leadership teams: executive coaching, leadership development, training

Corporate leaders: program consulting, project leadership, business process design

Notice how I expanded on the client definitions and included action-oriented services (what I do). It’s important to speak your customers’ language when developing your credibility statement and service summaries. Consider the problem or need they have, and then research how they define it (what they call it when searching for solutions).

I hope you find this insight helpful to positioning your business. Knowing who you want to work with and what you can do for them lays a foundation for the business and strategic planning that comes next.

Want to take a deeper diver into business planning and positioning? I’m here to help! I offer three month VIP strategy intensives and six week strategy sprints. Ready to learn more? Contact me to schedule a free 20 minute strategy call.