Avoid 5 Positioning Mistakes

When a company is trying to get off the ground, it is critical to send the right message to the right audience in the right way at the right time. However, entrepreneurs with fantastic products or services often ruin their chances at making the sale, securing the revenues, and building credibility by being inexact in how they position their offering.

Admittedly, it is challenging to create and refine a value proposition when there are so many other demands on your time.  Frequently, entrepreneurs work on concept, design, and other technical details without giving earnest heed to the value of top-notch marketing. Is this because marketing is seen as a discretionary expense? Is it because the typical entrepreneur has bought into the “build it and they will come” idea? For whatever reason, the decisions regarding market penetration strategy are poorly executed and offerings positioned poorly more often than not. If you’ve never applied the premise that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” to business, do so now! Your company’s success depends upon it!

Start by determining within your team what success will look like and how it will be measured. Take time to ferret out what, exactly, you are offering, how it solves a unique problem, and how your approach to the market is both unique and appealing. Once you have ironed out some of these influential factors, take the time to think about your intended target and the nuances of explaining your offering in such a way that you “rise above the noise” of distraction and become intriguing to them.

Don’t make any of the 5 mistakes below when launching your business. Not surprisingly, targeted investors, employees, and customers often evaluate you before they commit.  You can enhance the chance that you will earn the commitment you deserve if you follow the advice of David Scholtze of Ariadne Capital. Writing in Entrepreneur Country a couple of months ago, he described “The 5 typical problems I keep seeing in misaligned propositions”:

1) Thinking big and forgetting the baby steps that get you there

The real market opportunity is won one sale at a time are you constantly refining your sale or slapping it out there? Go-to-market is about aligning your achievable market to your vision, are you building credibility?

2) Spread too broad and lack focus

Fix-all solutions are hard to buy or too good to be true, is your proposition tight? Tight propositions mean new services can develop in parallel, are you giving too much away in solving too much?

3) Forget that your audience don’t know your product

Even high tech can be simplified beyond technology into enablement, can your mother understand the proposition? Don’t assume your market knows the problem like you do, are you selling from a common starting point?

4) Defining the proposition as a nice to have not a solution

Too much emphasis is put on the extra benefits, are you selling lots of benefits or a solution to a specific problem? People feel the need to over validate with external information, are you forgetting the original “spark” that led to the solution and how you solve the problem?

5) Don’t align the message to the solution

Proposition pitches try to be catch all and complex people buy simple, are you selling a solution or a service? People are looking to solve a problem, does your product proposition enable champions and evangelists?

Once you understand, plan for and execute along these principles, you can create a strong market position.  This means you can challenge your sales team, empower your marketers and “wow” your investors. Only good things can happen from there…


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