Position your Company: Do it or it will be done for you

First of all, you must take the time to knowingly position your company. You can’t overlook it. You can’t put it off until 2010. You can’t delegate it to your mother-in-law. You need to spend the cycles on this effort. This is how your company will stand for something unique.

Why is this important to do now? Because if you don’t, the market place, your customers and your competitors will do it for you. And you may not end up in a place where you want to be.

Stated simply, positioning is the perception that exists in the minds of your customers. (The important part of that sentence being “in the minds of your customers.”) It is the relative competitive comparison associated with your company and/or solution.

For example, Volvo owns the position of safety in the automotive market. Apple owns the position of creative and innovation in the computer market. These companies stand for one thing, and time after time in customers’ minds all over the world these companies hold a unique position.

To be skilled at positioning you must be able to look at your company from the customer point of view. It has to be unbiased. If you can’t do this yourself, get some help from somebody who can be more objective.

Now, how should you get started? First, take a fresh look at how the market perceives you today. Do an unbiased audit – include customers, journalists, key industry influencers. Conduct a survey. Solicit feedback through your website. Get input from your customers as well as those who use your competitor’s products. Then, identify what within this current position you want to keep and what you want to change. This should be based on a deep understanding of customer needs.

Next, take time to understand what position your primary competitors own. Again, do this from the customers’ perspective – not from your internal (employee) perspective. Once you have completed this groundwork you have the basic building blocks to make an informed decision about the position you want to own.

Remember, if you choose not to position your company, the market will do it for you. Take control of your destiny. Spend the time on this. Spend a half day next week. Spend 90 minutes a week for the next two months. Somehow, some way, find the time and determine the position you want to claim. Determine the one thing you want to stand for. Then go for it! Be religious about cementing this position in the minds of your customers. You’ll be glad you did.

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