Olivia, a sole trader operating under the business name “Seashells Photography”, came to see me for assistance last month. She was exhausted; struggling to make a profit and in order to be competitive was always reducing her prices.
Every call she received sounded a little like this: “I’m on your website and looking at your packages. Can you do a wedding package any cheaper as I have a quote from another photographer who can do it for less.”
Olivia’s biggest fear was that she would need to close her business and go back to work in a full time job. It was just all becoming too hard, too competitive and in addition, she felt her clients did not value her work.
Does this sound familiar? If so, what can be done? Are the above issues purely down to a competitive market or Olivia’s poor pricing schedules?
No, it’s all down to her Positioning.
Positioning is what sets you apart from what your competitors do and also the perception that a customer holds about you and your business. The fact of the matter is, if you are not positioned effectively, you and your business will just become like toothpaste on a supermarket shelf – looking the same as everyone else. As a result, you will end up purely competing on price.
So how do you create good positioning?
If you’re a service provider, your positioning is what makes your business different. You are what makes your business different. People buy YOU and refer YOU.
For example, If you’re a physiotherapist, beauty therapist, photographer, graphic designer, accountant or web developer there are plenty of other people out there that do what you do. Therefore, you need to do something to stand out from the crowd. Otherwise, you are just the same as all the rest, bland and basic and your only differentiator is price.
There are so many things that input into successful positioning, but start with these 5 key areas:
- com– Using your name as your business name gives you flexibility to grow and evolve your business in future. It also makes it much easier for your customers to connect with you. People buy from people. Therefore, the easier you make it for people to access you as a person (rather than you behind a business name) the easier it will be for your clients to be attracted to you quickly.
- Blog, blog and blog some more– share you thoughts. What insights and experiences have you had that help your potential clients get to know you and your perspective? Blogs, articles for publications, video blogs, newsletters and whitepapers are all tools to get your message and positioning out to the right people. Content is king and is the growth hub of your business.
- Speak- give presentations and video blogs to targeted groups. Invite those people who may be able to refer clients to you. Help them to hear you. It will help them decide whether they can trust you with their clients.
- Sell- Consider your website content, auto responders, webinars and calendar scheduling tools to make it easy for clients to start a conversation with you. Make it easy for people to get in touch and chat with you directly. Consider how you package your programs to offer great value to your clients.
- Be Brand You: Get professional photos taken and put your face on your newsletters, website and social media. The easier you make it for people to recognize you, the more likely they are to contact you when they need your assistance. It’s not about you being self-centered; it’s about you helping your audience understand the type of clientele you work with. If you want to work with corporate clients then look corporate, if you want to work with women then have images of women.
By making some small and consistent changes you can create a profitable business and stand out from others in the marketplace. You can work with your dream clients, achieve fulfillment and live the lifestyle that having you own business creates.
About the Author:
Jane Anderson is a Personal Branding expert and works with Executives and Solopreneurs with positioning. She designs marketing strategies that cut through the noise so people get paid what they’re worth.
She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Professional Certified Coach (ICF), professional speaker and mentor. Jane was nominated in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards for 2014 and is the Author of “IMPACT: How to Build Your Personal Brand for the Connection Economy”.