I spend a lot of time helping entrepreneurs identify their core value proposition—the thing they promise to deliver to their very best customers that no one else can.
The primary problem, though, is that it’s hard to know what your true value is. Because you’re probably pretty good at a lot of things!
Your business probably does many things, sells a few products or offers a few services. And, you know, it’s all pretty good, I bet.
But to build marketing momentum, you’ve got to focus. One single message, about one single thing. And, I’ll admit, that’s really hard to do. But it helps when you’re super clear on your value.
So what’s the real value to focus on?
Well, to help you get started, here are three of the many questions I’ll ask an entrepreneur to help them uncover their unique value:
The first question is tough, but critical: “Of the many things you might sell or provide, which single one, if removed, would eliminate the most value?”
I know, I know, you don’t want to answer. But answer you must. What would your best customers miss most, for instance?
For me, I’d have to say “business positioning.” If we don’t do that, we don’t do much.
Okay, next, an easy one: “How would someone else, outside of your organization, categorize that one product or service?”
For me, maybe it’s, “Professional services”? Or just “marketing”?
Think about it this way: If someone outside your company had to name one of your competitors, what category would they put them in?
Finally, another thinker: “What unique resources, capabilities, or utilities do you provide to your ideal customers that they can’t get anywhere else?”
We’re often brought in to clean up marketing operations when they’ve tried another option and things went sideways (or didn’t go anywhere at all). So, in this case, I know exactly what we provide that others don’t, because we hear it all the time: “You made describing what we do so simple.”
Here’s a weird way to think about it: If an alternate reality existed without your business in it, what are the residents of that reality missing because you’re not there?
All right, do you have your answers? If you do, you just made huge progress defining your true value.
You’ve got a pretty good idea of what you do best (it’s what you can never give up).
You have a sense of the customer’s context for what you do (it’s the category an outsider puts you in).
And you’re a lot closer to knowing what you should promise (it’s what you do that no one else does).
So, based on this short exercise, if I were me (and I am!), I should focus my marketing on:
Entrepreneurs looking for marketing services, who need help positioning their business, so they can describe it to their ideal customers more effectively.
And I just might.
What about you? What are you going to focus on, or what do you need to find out to get closer to the true value?
And what can you do today to get one step closer?