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Small Business Resources > Position Your Business to Outshine the Competition

Position Your Business to Outshine the Competition

Your clients 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

Writing a 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).

� What do we do best?

� Who is our target customer?

� What needs do we fulfill for them?

� Who is our competition?

� What 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 Your USP

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 immediately grasp.

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!

About the Author
Victoria K. 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 with tips to help you with your business, sign up for their award-winning ezine, "In-Flight Refueling," at:, and receive a free copy of the eBook, Get More Done in Less Time: 101 Quick and Easy Time Tactics & Tips.

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