Positioning: Molding Your Business Image

Creating a successful business relies heavily on the right positioning by you as a business owner. Good positioning can be the difference between a surviving business and a thriving business.

So what exactly do I mean by positioning?

If you ask ten people, they may all give you different definitions of the word “positioning.” This is because it is not a super simple and straightforward concept. The positioning of a business involves a number of different things, and there are a ton of different strategies out there.

However, in a nutshell positioning is the steps that a business owner takes in order to become the recognized name in specific market.

It’s what you do to create top of mind awareness, meaning that your business is the first that comes to people’s minds when they need whatever service you provide. By using good positioning tactics you can create a space in the market that is essentially YOURS.

That brings us to the next question – What kinds of things can you do to better position your business and to gain greater success?

Well, first you need to dig deep and figure out what you really want your business to stand for and what you want to accomplish through it. When doing this, there are a number of things that you should take into consideration.

For example, what are you passionate about? In my opinion it is always best to build your business around something that you are truly passionate about.

That way, you are a lot less likely to get bored and/or end up hating what you do. If you focus on your passions, not only will it allow you to better serve others, but it will add an element of sincerity to your work that potential clients will see and be inspired by.

I absolutely believe that if you’re following your passions and serving to the best of your ability with your gifts, skills and talents, you’re actually doing your greatest good in the world.

Once you have figured out what you are truly passionate about and how you want to apply that to your business, you need to identify your target market. These are the people that you will focus your marketing towards and the people that you believe will most benefit from your services.

After doing that, you need to think about what makes you and your business different than your competitors. Like I said before, if you do not SHOW that you are different in some way or another from the masses, your prospective clients will not see you as any different from them.

On Thursday I will continue with the idea of positioning and go further into HOW to set yourself apart from the crowd. Until then, I want you to really think about what your passions are and what you truly want to accomplish through your business. This is the MOST IMPORTANT step when it comes to creating and defining your own business.

The world is at your fingertips, it is up to you to mold and create the business of your dreams…

 

Would You Rather Be A Generic Commodity Or A Brand Name?

In the marketplace, would you rather be a cola beverage or Coke? What about a box of tissue or Kleenex? Adhesive bandages or Band-Aids? Puffed rice cereal or Rice Krispies?

Take a second to think about these pairs…

There’s definitely a difference between the first and the second item in each. But why?

Because one is a brand name and the other is a commodity.

A commodity is a generic and undifferentiated product or business. It is one of the masses, and in the mind of a potential client or consumer, it is no different than all of the other ones in the endless sea of options.

A recognized brand name is automatically preferred by the consumer. Why? It boils down to the recognition factor.

It is the first thing that pops into their head when they are in need of whatever product or service someone has to offer.

Because a brand name is so well known and recognizable and has already built such a strong reputation, it comes with an automatic position of credibility and authority.

There is an implied concept of “BEST” and “NO RISK” with a recognized name because the assumption is that it would not have gained such a reputation if it was not reliable and one of the best ways to go.

Doesn’t make it right, but recognition generally builds esteem in the mind of the consumer.

Think about it… how many times have you chosen the recognizable over the mystery choice? Even though the mystery choice may very well have been the better selection?

I do it all the time when I’m out of town and need to find someplace to eat. I’m more likely to choose a recognizable restaurant chain over a small local hometown eatery. Why? The small local hometown place could very well have delicious and amazing, healthy, home-made options that would be preferable to the mediocre straight-from-a-can-or-freezer, processed food choices that I know I’m going to get at a chain restaurant.

But…it’s a bigger risk to sit down at the local mom and pop diner I’ve never heard of before. I don’t know what their standards are. So I stick with what I’m familiar with: mediocre but recognizable.

We all do it with different things.

When creating and developing your own business, the concepts of brand name and commodity are really important to understand.

If you truly want your business to be successful, you must create a name for yourself. Become recognizable.

Otherwise you will blend in with the crowd, and if potential clients can’t see a difference, then there is no difference between your business and all of the other ones out there.

And they have absolutely NO REASON TO CHOOSE YOURS.

In order for people to think of you first, they must KNOW about you.

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to help break down ways in which you can gain greater appeal and increase the success of your business.

This is my true passion, and there is nothing that I would like more than to help share my expertise with you in order to help you reach your true potential.

So let’s get started!

Over the next week think about ways in which you can position yourself to be more visible and gain greater recognition in your marketplace.

Leave me a note in the comments with what’s going great for you or what’s your current struggle in making yourself more visible.

Make it great!

Social Media: Marketing Yourself to the Masses

Social media networking sites have become HUGE over the last decade. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google + have gained MILLIONS of users and followers. Virtually everyone over the age of 16 is connected to the world through at least one network or another. As such, social media networking sites have become ESSENTIAL when it comes to marketing a business.      

What is so unique about social networking sites?

Social media has revolutionized the process of marketing your business. The main thing that makes social networking sites stand apart from other internet sites is the clear advantage in numbers. Facebook alone has hundreds of millions of members. These networking sites allow business owners to reach far more people than they could before, and through just ONE site.

Another huge advantage that social media has over other websites and web marketing strategies is that it really allows you to showcase your personality and focus on how you differ from the masses. In a human centric society like ours today, clients want to work with someone that they trust and someone that they feel can understand and relate to them. Social media sites are much more personal and often much less formal than specific business sites. Although both are essential to the success of your business, your social networking profiles should focus more on who you are and what you stand for and your business site should focus more on your services and your business. It is all about creating deeper connections and more credibility.

Social networking sites have many other advantages, including the facts that they are extremely simple to set up, very fast and easy to manage, require only very basic computer knowledge, hold a ton of information and are almost all 100% FREE. There is no other marketing strategy that can boast all of the same benefits. That being said, it is important to realize that social media networking is not the only means that you need to implement in order to create a successful business.

It is just ONE of the MANY important steps in marketing yourself and business.          

Top Four Sites you MUST Join:

Of course I’m never going to tell you that you’re absolutely required to do anything, because it’s your life, your business, your choice…but let’s call it a strong recommendation…

1.  Facebook Facebook is the top social media networking site in the whole World Wide Web at the moment. It has more followers and is visited more often than any other site.

It is unique in that it supports a number of pages and features that other sites don’t. There is an info page that allows you to write a little bit about yourself and introduce your business and vision behind that business. On your main page you can write and post different statuses and post links to pictures or articles that you like. You can add a profile picture and create separate picture albums that best represent you and your business. You can add an unlimited number of friends, and can gain an unlimited number of followers.

Now, you can subscribe to different RSS feeds and follow them through your Facebook page. There is a notes page where you can create posts that pertain to what you are about. Your homepage is complete with a news feed that allows you to view the most recent and most pertinent posts that your friends have made. There are thousands of apps that you can add to your profile. If you do not want to maintain a separate profile for your business, you have the options of creating a group or business page as well.

The options almost seem limitless, and are growing every day. If you are only going to join one social networking site, it should be this one.       

2.  Twitter:Twitter also allows you to create a personal profile complete with a section that introduces you and your life. Rather than collecting friends, your aim is to gain “followers.” These are people who have subscribed to your feed and who have found what you have to say interesting and engaging enough to want to come back on a regular basis.

Twitter is essentially a microblogging service that allows you to make short and frequent posts about whatever you would like in 140 character bursts. It is also extremely popular, and a great way to distribute your thoughts and ideas to the masses. It is less diverse than Facebook, but serves its own purpose very well.

3.  LinkedIn: LinkedIn is unique in that it is a social networking site that focuses specifically on business. Rather than using it for social networking in general, people us it mainly for professional networking.

It is used worldwide and has millions of subscribers. Rather than friends or followers, you maintain contact through “connections.” These are people that you know, invite, or that add you that have interest in your page. It also allows you to create or join interest groups.

You can use it to post or find jobs, people and business opportunities through mutual contacts and recommendations. You can add pictures and view others’ photos. Unlike the above sites, this one focuses less on personal information and should be used to really promote your business and set you apart by highlighting your differences, strengths and specialties. It is another important resource for marketing your business and getting your name out there.

4.  Google Profiles:Google profiles is an important part of Google + and extremely new in the social media network (it was launched in June of 2011). However, it is quickly gaining more and more popularity and members.

One thing unique to Google Profiles is that you can create your own profile, and in doing so you insure that your profile is displayed on the FIRST page of Google search results when someone searches you by first and last name. That in itself is a very strong incentive to become a member.

There are sections specifically designated to introducing yourself, listing your occupation and introducing your business, adding pictures, gaining friends and joining circles, and displaying links to sites that you support or like. You can attach a blog to your page, and/or post articles that you have written. And lastly, you can connect your profile page to other Google offshoots that you use; such as Google Buzz, Google Mail and Google Blogger.

By creating a Google + account, you can join and partake in hangouts (group video chats), use the messenger function that allows you to chat with other members of your circles via SMS like messages, create sparks which allows users identify topics that they are interested in sharing with others, and recommend specific site by clicking on the “+1” button. It is becoming an increasingly important resource for business marketing and is continuously being added to and improved.

Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Marketing:

DO create a profile for at least all five of the most popular social media networking sites. In order to reach the most people possible, it is important to join multiple networking sites. Just joining one will not be nearly as beneficial.

DO update them regularly. If you put the time and effort into creating a profile, and then do not maintain it, you will come off as lazy and as if you do not really care. You need to update each of your profiles on a regular basis. I’d recommend starting off with 30 to 60 minutes a week engaging with people on your social media profiles. If you have more time than that, great. But don’t feel like you have to put priority tasks on the back burner for multiple hours every week just to get your social on. J

DO encourage suggestions and conversation from your followers. By getting to know potential clients and how they think, you will better be able to relate to them and their needs and to use that information to better serve them. Along with that, DO be open to suggestions. Sometimes one of your followers will come up with a brilliant insight. None of us know everything, and getting an outside view or opinion could very well help you improve, especially since it’s easy to get myopic and stuck inside of our own frame.  

DO act professionally and DON’T write about inappropriate things or subjects that do not pertain at all to your business life. Your Facebook statuses should not focus on what you ate for dinner, but should announce business achievements or revelations.   

DO present your readers/followers with your passions and the vision behind what you do.

DON’T discuss controversial topics on your profile. Although it may help some people to relate to you, it will also cause many to discount what you have to say and to never look back

DON’T mix your personal life in with your business life. If you have a personal profile within a social networking site, make sure that it is both separate from your business profile and that your personal profile is private. As much credibility as you can create through a business profile, you can destroy it just as easily if negative elements of your personal life become public. Nobody wants to see pictures of the person that they have entrusted their money and life to drinking or making a fool of themselves. They also do not want to get pulled into personal drama or situations. 

In conclusion, I recommend that you join social networking sites to help improve your visibility and credibility. Just remember why you’re doing it. I promise you won’t regret it. Social Media is such an important and powerful tool to reach huge numbers of people and to gain substantially more clients. 

Tell us about the benefits you’ve seen from using social media. We’d love to get your perspective, and you can leave your comment by clicking the bubble icon on the top right hand side of this post.

Thanks, and make it a great week!

 

Defining What You Do: Set Yourself Apart From The Crowd

What do you do?

As business professionals, this is one of the most repetitive questions you will hear, quickly replacing the question of your student years “What’s your major?” It’s one of the first questions asked when you meet someone new. As a service provider, how you answer that question may be the difference between making a new acquaintance or landing a potential CLIENT.

So, what do you do? Or better yet, what do you do that no one else does?

In order to set yourself apart from the crowd, you need to redefine your business into something that is unique to you. For example: Would you rather introduce yourself as a real estate agent or a horse property specialist? As a real estate agent, you are one among many. As a horse property specialist, you could possibly be defining a new category. If you can define a new category and you are the FIRST person in that category, you make the rules! By defining what makes you unique, it enables you to attract your IDEAL clients.

If you were to redefine your business, what would it be? Is there something you do for your customers that no one else does? For some, the answers to these questions are easy. You know your calling, your ideal customer and you can actually visualize the direction you want to take your business.

For others, these questions may draw a complete blank. But don’t worry! As a business coach, I am here to help you answer questions such as these. Together we can find what makes you unique (and everyone, every business IS unique) and work together to make you a recognized and preferred brand name in your market.

Make it great!

Theresa