“Small Business” Positioning

It sort of makes sense, right?

  1. You, as a consultant née freelancer, solve an expensive problem for your clients
  2. The more businesses you market to, the more prospects you should be able to reach
  3. The more prospects you reach, the more you’ll be able to sell, and the more money you’ll make
  4. Therefore, it makes sense to market yourself to  A S   M A N Y   B U S I N E S S E S  as possible, and
  5. 🏦 💰 💎 🤑, right?

Not quite.

If you’re marketing to everyone, you’re diluting your marketing message and making it relevant to no one. 

The #1 most common positioning issue I see as a business coach for freelancers and consultants?

Consultants picking too broad of a target market:

I help businesses…

I help small businesses

I help startups

Too broad!

In “The Secrets of Consulting,” Jerry Weinberg shared his Law of Raspberry Jam:

The wider you spread it, the thinner it gets

The Law of Raspberry Jam applies everywhere in your business.

And it especially applies to your marketing.

When you market yourself to everyone, you’re spreading your marketing too wide!

The more people you try to reach with your messaging, the less effective your messaging will be. Why? Because you’re trying to appeal to more people across more industries, diluting your messaging.

The wider you spread your marketing, the thinner your marketing gets.

Let’s get specific about who you’re reaching

Let’s say you decide “Hey, Kai, love the letters, but I’m going after small businesses with my marketing!”

Please pause for a moment and consider the scope and complexity of your goal here.

In 2010 there were 27.9 million small businesses in the US(Source: SBA.gov, https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/FAQ_Sept_2012.pdf)

What’s a ‘small business’? Under 500 employees.

That’s 27.9 million small businesses from many different industries.

If you’re marketing yourself to “small businesses,” you’re setting yourself up for a long, uphill challenge.

The challenge? Standing out!

How can you even stand out in that situation?

You can’t.

When you spread your marketing so wide, when you’re trying to reach everyone, you end up diluting your marketing message and reaching no one.

Picking a target market/niche for your positioning and marketing is about focusing your marketing efforts on a specific, small market.

To use the comparison that my Excellent! friend, consultant, and educator in arms Phillip Morgan (https://philipmorganconsulting.com) shared with me:

Positioning is about making yourself a big fish in a small pond

When you focus your marketing on a specific, small target market, you’re marketing yourself in a smaller pond.

This means it’s easier for you to:

  • Learn your target market’s language
  • Understand your target market’s needs
  • Establish your authority as an expert
  • Identify “Expensive Problems” plaguing your prospects

As you become the big fish, you become the natural choice for your prospects.

Don’t accidentally dilute your marketing message by focusing on everyone or too many people.

Focus on a small, specific market.

What should you do?

When in doubt, ask yourself, “What industry am I trying to reach?”

Is there a particular type of industry that comes to mind that you want to work with? That you enjoy? Focusing on a small industry will be much more helpful with your marketing.

Pick a specific industry. Have conversations with ~10-12 people in that industry. Do they work with consultants? On what types of problems? How do they find consultants?

This market research will help you decide which industry to pick for your target market and positioning.