Why do you say yourself successful

Positioning: why don't you just say what it's about?

Updated on: 07/18/2019

Positioning can be a nagging topic. Does it bother you too?

Does it happen to you again and again that people have nothing to do with your business even though they initially seemed interested?

Does it happen more often that people lump you into the same pot with lots of others, despite your peculiarities?

One reason for this can be that your positioning is not yet completely round - or that you are not getting it across in your communication.

Sometimes it "just" needs other words that you use when you talk about your offer, a slight twist in your communication, so that your offer and your message get across.

But there are two other, deeper causes that prevent you from “simply” saying what you are about and what you stand for or want to stand for. This article is about these causes and how you can best deal with them.

And one thing in advance: It's not "easy" at all. I know that from my own expirience.

The first reason why you are not clearly expressing what you stand for is obvious: it is the lack of clarity.

It is completely normal that at the beginning you "only" start with an idea of ​​what people might need and how and where you position yourself.

Hear the stories of other successful solo entrepreneurs and coaches who have been self-employed for years and are very successful today. You will find that they did different things in the beginning than what they do today. So they often called themselves differently and positioned themselves differently. Sometimes the changes can be minimal, e.g. a slight shift in the center of gravity. Sometimes their offer changed completely.

To refine your offer, you need your customers or real prospects. So not just friends or acquaintances who test your offer out of favor. I think that the fake "guinea pigs" can even harm you.

Someone who isn't your target audience won't be as excited about your performance as someone who really needs it, no matter how hard you try. Accordingly, he can also unsettle you with his reaction. And he probably won't ask you the right questions to get you anywhere either.

The most important sources of inspiration for you are therefore people who are really interested in your offer. They give you tips on how you can make your offer even better and what kind of information they need from you. And that may not always be what you thought at the beginning.

If you listen carefully to your customers and prospects, your clarity should increase over time as the number of customers grows. It is therefore also logical that your positioning can and should move again and again.

As for solo entrepreneurs and consultants, I have come to believe that positioning is an ongoing process that never ends. 

[pullquote align = "normal"] If you move around in your business and refine your offer and your positioning over time, that does not mean that you are leaps and bounds.

It means that you are evolving. [/ pullquote]

That is a point that I first had to make clear to myself. Because that was exactly my belief and my fear: That others might think I don't know what I want. Yes that could be right. Then just think so!

But those are not the ones who follow me with interest. So it is unlikely that they will become my customers anyway. And what my (potential) customers think of me is important.

Someone who follows you with interest can also understand your development - provided that you make the path you are walking transparent.That's why I think it's important to communicate changes.

It's not about justifying, but rather that you keep picking up your audience and taking them with you - in my opinion the most important task of corporate communication.

Unfortunately, I keep coming across the idea that positioning has to be set in stone and that therefore you have to have the ultimate positioning right from the start.

The usual technical definitions of positioning usually only focus on larger companies, for which a stable positioning over the years is often vital. For you as a solo entrepreneur, however, there is no point in trying to impose this definition on yourself. 

Because your business is closely linked to your own personality. This sets you apart from companies that serve a larger market and that have to bring the needs of several employees under one roof.

But if you put on this shoe there is a lot of pressure for you that you have to already know all the answers at the beginning of your business, including the perfect elevator pitch.

I say: Elevator pitch on A….! If you are at the beginning, or other things are preventing you from being clear, then you cannot (yet) clearly say what you are really about. Then you won't be able to achieve a crisp elevator pitch. Logical, right?

Accept this for the moment and make sure that your clarity grows. But don't worry about a certain sentence.

If you try this too soon, it will be a waste of time. What's more, it can even prevent you from advancing in your business by focusing too much on the problem of a missing elevator pitch.

As soon as you have clarity, your elevator pitch will come by itself - and we will definitely get better over time.

Start at the beginning, analyze yourself and your environment first, work out your special features. (In this article, I'll share one helpful way you can approach this task.)

Think about what your customers (could) want, how you fit in there and what they should understand of you.

Once you've worked through these steps, feel free to think about how to formulate your elevator pitch. Not earlier.

Please understand me correctly: I don't mean that you shouldn't start thinking about what you want to stand for, what offer you have and, above all, what result you want to achieve with your customers.

You need a thesis that you can start with at the beginning, which you will then test and adapt in reality. And the best thing to do is to develop it neatly in a communication concept (but that is another topic that I cannot go into here).

Just take the pressure off of the fact that your positioning has to be right at the beginning. I put myself under pressure for way too long.

The second reason that keeps you from saying what you are about is the one that has kept me the most personally.

If you follow my Facebook page and my blog, you may have noticed that I changed my "headline" from "Marketing & PR for solo companies" to "Strategic communication for solo companies" and later simplified it with " Communication for your solo business ".

Now I know: I should have done that from the start.

So why didn't I do it? Why didn't I just say what I am about? Why did I stutter around at networking events for months when it came to explaining what I actually have to offer so that my offer becomes more tangible for my counterpart?

Of course, I also needed my time until I had more clarity. And this process is certainly not over yet, if it ever can be. But I can already say that I had an idea of ​​what I should be about relatively quickly.

I saw the gap I want to fill in this broad field of communication, marketing. My concern quickly crystallized for me to show my customers what it means to think and act strategically in their corporate communication, to sharpen their positioning so that they gain the trust of their target group and so that they have more orientation in their communication work .

So why did I go around with a rather vague label like “Marketing & PR”?

Quite simply: Because I didn't dare to be clearer.

I was hiding behind something I thought I knew. Just as I sometimes like to hide in the back row in large seminars so that I am not asked to say something without being asked (I just hate that, when I have something to say, I get in touch, but that's another topic ).

But from the beginning I didn't really feel comfortable with my name, I thought it was stupid. It was also clear to me that it would not provide a good positioning. Accordingly, I was reluctant to talk to strangers about my business.

With this very general name I made exactly the same mistake that I see with many other entrepreneurs.

But I also understand why I made it and why others do it.

Why is it so difficult to dare to be different, to be clear?

I think there are a lot of things that have to do with personality and history. Accordingly, they can be different. I also often find that the self-employed are afraid to commit themselves by positioning themselves more clearly because they fear that they will not find enough customers if they are narrowly positioned.

Often, however, it is also the fear of having to deliver. I think that almost everyone knows this. So it was and so it is with me. The thought quickly arises, “Oh no, now everyone is looking at how I do that with my communication. And now customers have certain expectations. I can't make mistakes. ”In addition, there is the fear of being laughed at. Those who position themselves clearly also make themselves more vulnerable. "What, she wants to stand for topic xy? She can't do that at all!"

Clearly, when I say I stand for something, it has to be credible. Then I also have a certain role model function. But am i perfect? No, far from it. One thing has now become very clear to me: I have to stop wanting to be perfect. Stop claiming that I will do everything right the first time I try. Because it is precisely these high standards that prevent you from being yourself.

And it blocks me from calling things by their names.

Yes, mistakes can and will happen.

Maybe I'll write things on my blog today that in a year will make me think: "OMG!"

Maybe in a year I will have a more precise, better name for what I do, can be.

But if I don't allow myself to develop, including mistakes, then I don't even start.

Then I can just give up.

Admittedly, you make yourself vulnerable not only through a clearer positioning, in particular through mistakes. And in our society, mistakes and failures are still seen as defeat. They are often used as an opportunity to look down on others.

And then there is the fear that customers might be unhappy.

Just: If you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, who else is going to do it?

So how do I deal with mistakes in my business and in my own communication?

By talking about them, just as I do now in this blog post. Because I am convinced that my audience can benefit a lot from this.

I can give my audience a shortcut by saying, Look, that's how I did it, you can do better, or at least fix it faster, by giving you hints.

Therefore my tip to you: Just talk about the mistakes you made in the area of ​​your expertise, people will be grateful to you. It is always me when people share their experiences with me.

[pullquote align = "normal"] Nobody will believe you anyway that you fell from heaven as a master! [/ pullquote]

How you package that depends, of course, on your audience and business, and also on the context in which you talk about your mistake.

It doesn't always have to or should be personal enough for you to talk about your thoughts or feelings. In some areas, admitting mistakes can also have legal consequences. It goes without saying that this should be carefully considered.

In most cases, however, it is possible to use examples to explain why something did not work (without naming the customer, of course).

This way you can show that you are further today. You can explain why you do things today that you used to do differently.

You show yourself to be someone who learns and reflects. And above all: you present yourself as a person. And people buy from people.

If you notice that customers do not understand your offer, that you have far fewer real prospects, then consider whether you are not saying clearly enough what your business is about and what your offer is doing. And if that's the case, go into yourself, what could be the reason.

Is it a lack of clarity? Do you offer a vendor's tray? Then find out what you can do best from this colorful repertoire or broad field and what interests your customers.

If you realize that you actually know which problem you are solving specifically for your customers and what you stand for, then go inside and ask yourself whether there are fears that arise when thinking of a certain sentence on your website, business card, etc. to write.

Imagine you are giving a lecture in which you confidently represent your topic. How does that feel to you? What is stirring there? And what do you need to be able to deal with it?

Or do you already have a good idea of ​​what you want to stand for but are unsure how to communicate it? Do you use vague, general terms because you are still missing the right words? Are you lacking ideas on how to package the whole thing in such a way that your customers understand and internalize it?

Listen carefully to what your customers really want. Don't just listen to answer. Try to hear where they're stuck. Ask yourself, what will be the consequence if my customers don't have my help? What is your result then? And that is exactly the problem that you can address with your solution.

Because often it is the case that people know that they have an undesirable result, but they do not see the connection to you.They don't understand in advance that what you offer can help them.

Whatever it is that is holding you back from finding or expressing your clear positioning - find out. Look at your business through the eyes of your customers and above all be honest with yourself.

Are you not quite sure whether you differentiate yourself well outwardly? Do you have the feeling that your external image is not (no longer) entirely consistent? Then ask now free strategy talk contact me and we'll find out which screws you need to turn.

Who is writing here?

I'm Angelika Färber and I help solo entrepreneurs to show themselves to the outside world in such a way that it feels right for them. So that they have a business that suits them and with which they win the customers they really want.

As a neutral sparring partner, I help my customers to become aware of their strengths, to develop a clear profile and to get to the heart of their offer in such a way that potential customers feel directly addressed.