When you started out in business, did you pick up one of those thorough yet extremely daunting Business Plans? You know, the ones that go through operational plans, legal requirements and about a thousand other pages of mapping out exactly what you do in business and how you're going to make money. Usually somewhere in the business planning stage, you're told to develop an 'elevator pitch'.
Now, I don't know about you, but so far in my business I haven't met a single client or potential lead in an elevator. I'm going to take a guess and say that you haven't either!
So instead of calling it an elevator pitch, I prefer the term 'Positioning Statement'. A positioning statement is a succinct and clear phrase, or paragraph that you can recount on demand, that sums up what you do, how you do it, and who you do it for.
What you do
You've just been introduced to your friends colleagues at a cocktail party, and somewhere in one of those awkward breaks in conversation your new acquaintance turns to you and asks:
"So what do you do?"
You scramble for the words, to describe exactly what your business is about, without sounding like you've just gambled away an entire career to pursue your love of children's clothes (or whatever it is you've started your business to do!). However, in your attempts to impress you've just blurted out some title like "I'm the Chief Creative Thought Leader for an upcoming miniature fashion range", leaving your new acquaintance, and probably yourself, utterly confused as to what you do! She shrugs, and smiles awkwardly before returning to the rest of the group for a more enticing conversation.
So how do we avoid these encounters? (No, I'm not about to tell you to go home, and turn on replays of Sex and The City).
Start by knowing where you want to sit on the shelf. If you were a cereal box, you wouldn't introduce yourself as an oat and raspberry flavour infusion, you'd tell people you were a cereal so they could find you in the cereal aisle!
I think that it's become some-what of a competition as to who can come up with the most interesting title for what they do. Probably, in my opinion, to hide the fact that we're a little insecure about claiming our stake on the world!
So instead, try thinking of the most easy-to-understand title that will help someone grasp in a moment EXACTLY what it is that you do.
Who You Help
If you look at the header of this section, and think 'but I want to help everybody', then you need to go and read this post, ASAP. Identifying who you're in business to serve and narrowing down on a certain type of person that you're best equipped to serve is essential to building a thriving business.
Most people will call this 'niching', which can scare alot of people. They start to think 'But if I'm telling people they're not in my nice, then who's actually going to hire me!' and the fear cycle begins.
In the free chapter of my workbook 'Dreaming Up Your Dream Clients', I share the following diagram:
This diagram is all about getting super clear on three key elements of who your client is. These could include things such as budget, locale, gender, a burning desire to lose weight, a certain illness or skillset. The list goes on.
The reason for getting clear on these elements is that when you do, you start to craft everything you do (blog posts, social media, products, services etc) with them in mind.
Of course, there will be people who don't fit the exact mould, or only have one or two elements of your dream client - but this activity is about defining who the optimum dream client is for you to be working with.
So, WHO ARE THEY?
Now's the time to declare it to yourself and the world - right it down on a sticky note, send it to your best business buddy. Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself who you're in business for.
What do you help them with?
This part is all about focusing on the tangible outcomes of working with you.
What benefits do your clients start to see happen in their life? These could be things like:
- More engaged relationships
- More ease in their business
- More clients knocking on their door
- More vibrancy and energy in their day-to-day activities
- Less stress and overwhelm
I like to think of the benefits as the IMPACT that working with you has for your client. This is really about changing the way they feel about something that they weren't happy with, before they started working with you.
What results do your clients have as a results of working with you? These could be things like:
- Learn to run their first 10k
- Have their first 6-figure year
- Have a website that feels like THEM
- Implemented business systems that will help them grow
- Launch their first podcast/e-book/yoga retreat
Putting it all together
Now comes the fun part - putting it all together in an easy to understand format that you can recite at a moments notice, and start sharing what your business is REALLY about.
Here's the format that I like to use:
I'm [YOUR NAME] and I'm [YOUR EASY TO UNDERSTAND TITLE/WHAT YOU DO]. My business [THE NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS] helps [YOUR ANSWER FROM THE 'WHO YOU HELP' SECTION] to [SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH YOU] and as a result they [THE RESULTS OF WORKING WITH YOU].
Here's my example:
I'm Elle, the Founder and Creative Director of JuJu Creative Hub. JuJu Creative Hub is a Branding, Marketing and Design agency for women who run a service-based online business. Through Branding we work out exactly who they're in business for and how to best communicate their messages to these people in order to attract more dream clients to their business.
Now it's your turn. I'd love to hear your positioning statement in the comments below!