I have spent a lot of time reading and writing on LinkedIn. There are many smart business people here with no shortage of intelligent things to say. Why more businesses aren’t taking advantage of all the brainpower that exists out here is not necessarily beyond my comprehension.
Which leads me to my topic for today. My personal belief is that if you are a business looking for help with anything to do with your business (systemic, sales or marketing and communication, what you will invariably find (via the good old 80/20 Rule), is too many services companies or consultants trying, in a very earnest way, to be as many things to as many people as possible.
The popular thinking, as evidenced by the incredible number of people who do it, is that casting as wide a net as possible will open you up to a larger number of prospects, and therefore get you more business.
I would take serious issue with this. Because it is the nature of a wide net to be as non-specific as possible. To someone with a specific need (which represents a lot of smarter businesses), this can be seen as a limiting factor, not to mention a bit confusing and definitely time consuming for them to wade through
LinkedIn (on the supplier, as opposed to headhunter side) should be a place where people with a specific needs can easily find people to talk to who can provide that specific service, without having to waste a lot of time getting there
The 20% or so of people who actually make it very easy clients to discover them and find out exactly what they are all about may end up with fewer relationships but those relationships will be based on providing a specific type of solution and therefore be pretty solid.
This just does not work to the benefit of companies searching for resources. It also help other service providers expand their networks without fear of too much redundancy or eyestrain from reading overly generalized profiles.
It’s kind of a win win.
How We Pull This Off.
OK. Let’s first understand that I am only talking to solutions providers. It could be a manufactured solution or a service based solution.
The methodology is simple. The execution is a bit of work. The governing principle here is to treat your business the way you would a client’s business.
Job 1: Defining Yourself
A) Think through and write a proper strategy for your business, the elements of which are as follows:
B) Create a mission statement for your business that targets a specific niche.
C) Identify and profile your specific target audiences (direct and or/indirect)
D) Create a positioning that will sum up your business in a way that will appeal to prospects in that niche.
E) Define a Unique Selling Proposition for your business which will, over time and with diligence, give you ownership of the niche you have chosen.
F) Prioritize the product or service features that reinforce your selling argument (USP), and further differentiate you from any competitors.
G) Decide on and stick to the tone and manner in which you communicate with your target audiences. (Brand Character)
Job # 2 Building Your Team
After you have completed the strategic part of your process, you will have a much clearer picture of your business, your niche(s), and the kinds of resources you will need to deliver a first class product without question.
So your second task is to build your team by sourcing and developing supplier relationships/associations with all the people you need to deliver your services professionally.
Job #3: Creating or Updating & Pushing Your Brand
Now that you have a strategy that works, know who you are talking to and what to say to them, you need to find them and reach them. This is a 3 step process.
1. Identify the best media for you to employ in order to reach your audience effectively.
2. Create the appropriate communications materials, to reach your targets and to optimize the use of the media you have chosen.
3. Stay within your team for this activity, because a) they are the people who have a vested interest in your success and b) creating this communication helps them learn more about your business, which makes the work they do more effective and gives you a clearer picture of how they think.
Whew…That’s A Lot Of Work
Doing what you need to do to move your business forward is always going to be a lot of work. The choice you always have in front of you is whether you do it the hard way or the easy way. Believe it or not, the method I have described here, is the easy way. The hard way involves way more work on your part, and the added extra of the sore head you get from repeatedly banging it against one wall or another.
Now to seasoned marketers, I’m sure this all sounds pretty basic. But to the majority of people out there in the services industry, especially newly minted entrepreneurs, it’s likely to be something they haven’t thought about in any organized way. I know this because whenever I offer to send people the communications strategy form I have developed for my own clients, I get literally dozens of requests.
So I will keep on writing about this from time to time, because to my way of thinking, the better organized the services industry is, the better it is for everyone. Competition becomes more challenging and fun. Clients become better educated. And the state-of-the-art of everything generally improves.
If you decide to go this way with your business I would be happy to discuss a supplier relationship with you, I have a couple of these already in place, and for people like me, it’s really one of the best ways to move my business forward.
ONWORDS & UPWORDS
is owned and operated by Jim Murray (that’s me). I create & implement
strategically focused branding, advertising & promotion for companies
in the SME & B2B sectors who appreciate solid creative thinking
and value reasonable rates.
I am also the chief blog editor for WriteAid Content Editing & Polishing. http://tinyurl.com/p7afxyx
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