how to define your market position
By Colten Nahrebeski

What if I told you there is a simple way to:

1. Reduce your headaches in managing your client service business

2. Increase your leads and appointment requests from your exact ideal clientelle

3. Give you the leverage to take more market share for your business and outpace your competition

As a service-based business owner or manager, would you be interested?

The most successful client service businesses in alberta are positioned properly

You run your business (likely) because you are 1) great at providing a particular service and 2) believe you can do it better or at a better price than your competition.

So why doesn't every potential client flock to your business, and why do you have a tough time expanding your client base quickly and consistently?

A lot of what I see in Alberta businesses is a "can-do" attitude matched to technical skill, but there is an overall lack of understanding or leveraging their ideal position in the marketplace

You could look at almost any Alberta based siding/roofing business with less than 20 employees as an example – they're mostly positioned to do residential jobs, but they'll chase commercial or industrial work if they see it, sometimes risking tens of thousands of dollars in materials and labour hours tied up in the proposal.

  • Their website may have a section for commercial work that takes up space in the main navigation menu, but companies rarely visit.
  • Their SEO is not dialed in because every page on the site says something to the effect of, "if you're a homeowner, business owner, or maybe you own a manufacturing plant with siding needs..."
  • The pictures on their "Our Work" page include some commercial installations (which they are very proud of), but that doesn't connect with the majority of their residential homeowner client base.

The ability to say, "no, that's not our ideal client so that's not the work we're after" only comes from being 100% solid on your market position.

What does proper market positioning look like?

Let's start with what it's not.

Many business owners, when asked what their market position is, will respond with what they do as a service.

"We are a small shop that does custom furnace and A/C installations."

"We're a physio clinic in Ambleside, serving our neighbourhood."

"We're a local Edmonton landscaping company."

These are services you offer – not really a market position.

Anatomy of a proper market position statement

Clarifying your market position doesn't have to be super difficult, but you do need to be very clear about 3 main things:

Who You Serve

Customer Pain Point You Solve

How You Achieve It

What does this look like?

"We help local retail store owners significantly increase monthly revenue by building sleek ecommerce websites with integrated email marketing.

Who you serve: local retail store owners

Pain point you solve: increase monthly revenue

How you achieve it: building sleek ecommerce websites with integrated email marketing

"We help Edmonton commercial property managers reduce liability and maintenance cost by clearing problem trees from properties on an annual basis.

Who you serve: Edmonton commercial property managers

Pain point you solve: reduce liability and maintenance cost

How you achieve it: clearing problem trees from properties on an annual basis

Compare the above market positioning statements with these:

"We are a local web dev company that serves small business."

"We are an Edmonton arborist company."

Do you feel the difference in intent, purpose, and clarity of who these companies are and what they do?

arborist men with chainsaw and lifting platform cu 2021 08 27 16 19 39 utc

Your properly articulated market position statement will help your ideal customers or clients identify you and contact you for service.

being clear about Your market position helps the right clients find you

When you are dialed in on your market position, it removes confusion for prospective customers looking for the service you offer.

showbie about us page

This is an example of the "About Us" page from Edmonton tech company, Showbie. Their statement, "We help build tools to help teachers and students everywhere be more creative and productive in the paperless classroom," is completely dialed in.

Who should be reaching out? Teachers.

Why would they want to reach out? They want to increase creativity and productivity in the "paperless classroom".

It's a software application that is designed just for classrooms, and is intended to be used just by teachers and students. Very easy to understand.

Showbie is an award-winning company with millions of teacher and student uses each year.

being clear about Your market position helps You streamline your work

The same way your clearly defined market position helps clients identify and reach out to you, it also helps you to cut out the noise and focus on doing one thing really well.

If you are unclear about your market position, and you will do any work that comes your way, soon you'll have huge gaps in your processes, an overflowing toolkit, and no sense of where to prioritize your time.

For example, if you do automotive repair, but then you have someone reach out and ask for help with their tractor (and you agree), you now need to buy new tools, set aside travel time, and learn any details about working on tractors.

Inherently, it's functionally similar to a car or truck, but because it's not a car or truck, you will invest energy, time, and money to be able to service it properly.

In the best-case scenario, you bill a lot of money for this work and come out on top profit-wise, but now you have spent a day away from your main business, and this client (and their friends) may come to you again for more tractor service. And then other farm equipment, because why not?

Pretty soon, you're spending a significant amount of your time and energy to manage two very different worlds, and you'll probably find that both areas don't get the attention from you that they deserve because you are so stretched.

WORDS TO USE WHEN DESIGNING YOUR MARKET POSITION STATEMENT

It can be a 5 minute task, or a week-long marathon of cutting and dicing what you to, to get to the core of your ideal market position. To help make the task of writing your statement a bit easier, here are some words to think about including that may help guide your direction.

  • Help
  • Solve
  • Reduce
  • Eliminate
  • Frustration
  • Increase
  • Save Time
  • Guide
  • Overcome
  • Source
  • Manage
  • Find
  • Happy
  • Maintain
  • Liability
  • Problems
  • Save
  • Expedite
  • Create
  • Ignite
  • Opportunities

Where to start?

The best advice for creating your own market position statement is to set aside time and step back from your business.

It's worth it to really put the time into figuring out what is going well, what's not going well, and where you want to take the business in the future.

Ideally, you will get this dialed in before you start spending money on marketing, because it helps guide so much of how you speak to the world about your service, and also the words you use.

If you're stuck in this process, I highly recommend the pros over at Fire and Wood to sit down with you for a consulting session and pull out all the relevant parts of your business to create a proper market position, branding, and voice guide that will be useful in every single thing you ever write for the public.

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