One of the most difficult things about starting a business is to gain clarity about the basics behind your brand. It seems like it should be the easiest thing to do, but it’s where a lot of new solopreneurs (and entrepreneurs in general) struggle. With so many ideas, capabilities, possibilities…how do you narrow down your value proposition to succinctly and clearly develop your brand?
My suggestion: Think like a journalist! Ask yourself the following questions to get to the core of your brand and why people should care about it:
Who? “Who” has several components to consider…
- Who are you? Of course, your company name is important, but this question goes beyond that. Who will your clients/customers do business with when they engage with your company. The “who” involves your credentials, level of expertise, reputation, work ethic and personality characteristics. Defining who you are helps set the tone for the type of experience people can expect when they do business with you.
- Who are your clients and customers? Hopefully, you’ll have done (or are starting to do) some marketing research to determine your target markets. Who is most likely to want, need AND buy your products and services. As you define your brand, these are the people you’ll want to appeal to and demonstrate your value to.
What? To answer the “what” question, put some thought into…
- Defining the products and services that you’ll provide. What exactly are you offering?
- What type of business are you? Will you be a top-quality, top-tier provider who will charge a premium, or will you aim to be known as an affordable alternative?
When? This particular question also has multiple meanings…
- If you’re just launching your business, when will you start delivering products and services?
- Another way to look at “when” is to define the delivery expectations clients should have when they buy from you. What’s your typical working interval? How fast can you provide your services and products to clients after they’ve signed a contract or placed an order?
Where? Another two-fold question…
- Where can prospective customers find you to start a dialogue? What’s the address of your brick and mortar location, or do you do business via email, phone or your website instead? Consider all the places (physically and virtually) where a client can reach out and “talk” with you.
- Also think about “where” in terms of where geographically you’ll deliver your services and products. Will you serve clients in:
- your local area only?
- a specific region?
- within your state?
- other states?
Why? Again, a question with layers…
- Why are you in business? Think about what has driven you to be an entrepreneur in your particular field. Why are you passionate about what you do? Given the choice, customers will choose to do business with someone who genuinely cares and is excited about serving them over someone who is only going through the motions.
- Why should clients choose your services and products over your competitors? What’s in it for them? Which leads into…
How? How are you different from your competitors? In what ways are you unique? Always think of this from your clients’ perspective! How will they benefit from choosing you over another provider who offers similar services or products?
Using this framework for defining your value proposition is a simple way to gather your thoughts and put all your ideas into a mentally manageable package. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!
Please feel free to share your experience by either commenting on this post, or send me an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org!
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