Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
Your Business to Outshine the Competition
Part One of a Two-Part
By Victoria Munro
and prospects have access to more information and choices
today than ever before. The number of small businesses
increases daily, and competition can be tough. In the
past, competition may have been similar companies in
your part of town; now many small businesses must compete
with others around the globe. Positioning
your company can provide the competitive edge you need
to outshine the competition.
Appropriately positioning your business
enables you to communicate a meaningful, relevant message
to clients and prospects and establishes you as an “expert”
in your field. First, you must know and understand your
market as well as the competition, their strengths and
their focus. Then you can determine
the most profitable place to position your business
in relation to others in that market.
Domino’s Pizza provides a classic
example of this. They’ve positioned themselves
to focus on one thing: fast delivery. They don’t
claim to cook up gourmet pizza, or a romantic dine-in
experience. Just fast delivery – and it works!
They have cornered this position in their market.
If you’re a florist and your
number-one competitor is known for its bargain bouquets,
you may want to target discriminating gift givers and
position yourself as the shop that delivers the freshest,
longest-lasting arrangements that recipients will enjoy
for a week or more.
The Positioning Statement
Positioning Statement for your company is a precursor
to branding the business. It will determine what you
emphasize in your marketing materials. To help you create
a company Positioning Statement, answer the questions
below, or revisit your USP (unique selling proposition).
do we do best?
is our target customer?
needs do we fulfill for them?
is our competition?
makes us different from them?
A USP is
a distinct and engaging statement that sets you and
your business or practice apart from all the rest,
by describing the unique value you offer. It tells your
prospects, “This is why you should do business
with us.” You must clearly understand your market,
your competitors and what they do well; and what truly
differentiates you and your company from the competition.
Fun Exercises to Help You Establish
Set an afternoon aside and invite everyone involved
in your business to a brainstorming session. Together,
compile a list of every value and benefit your company
offers that would entice someone to do business with
you. Make it a really long list! Then, put a line through
everything on the list that could also be said about
your competitors. What remains are the
unique qualities of your company. Use
this as a starting place to create your USP.
If you’re in business on your own, take pen and
paper and write a one- or two-paragraph description
of what sets you and your company apart from the competition.
Then, ruthlessly edit away the generalities, until you’re
left with a clean, succinct, specific promise. From
there, rework it, deleting all the excess verbiage and
vague statements until you have a clearly defined Unique
Selling Proposition that your client and prospects can
Warning: Be absolutely
sure that you are able to deliver on any promise you
make. If your USP tells clients that you have “A
complete range of widgets in stock at all times,”
and a customer calls to find that their preferred widget
must be ordered and won’t be shipped for a week,
your USP has created a negative relationship.
Now, from your answers to the questions above and your
USP, write out a Positioning Statement that expresses
your company’s specific place in the market.
With a clear Positioning Statement,
you’re ready to brand your business and make it
stand out from the crowd!
© 2005-2007 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly®
LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
businesses. To receive FREE business success articles
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