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159 - Is Your Company Positioned by Accident?

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As an advocate for women business owners, I provide resources and valuable content on my website – all free of charge. Please take advantage of this relevant advice, compiled and edited specifically for women in business. You can also download my free eBook, Road to Results.

We begin the New Year with a fresh approach, continuing our weekly newsletters but substituting the first newsletter of each month with a long-form article based on critical issues and questions I’m often asked by my clients. The first of these articles is shown below. I welcome your feedback!

From improving cash flow…. to increasing staff productivity…. to scaling for growth, these periods of transition — and so many more — provide both challenges and opportunities. Managed effectively, change can become a productive force for growth. The Block Group harnesses that potential, bringing together the people, resources and ideas that build results.

Patty-W-Block-Small-2All the best! 

Patty Block

©The Block Group Inc. All rights reserved.

Building Solid Companies That Move Forward


Do I Have An Accidental Brand?

Many small businesses struggle to define and differentiate themselves in the marketplace, so their positioning often happens by accident.

Positioning your company starts with a specific state of mind. As author William Arthur Ward frames it: “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

Have you clearly defined how you want your company to be perceived and then worked toward that end? When you allow others to define you, your goals and objectives become skewed in the wrong direction.

How Do I Know?

These early warning signs are among the most common concerns we hear from women business owners we work with. How many of these resonate with you?

  • Can potential referral sources explain what you do?
  • Do friends and colleagues send you referrals that don’t fit your target?
  • Do you struggle with clients you wish you could fire?
  • Do you try to be “all things to all people”?
  • Is your staff confused about the future and direction of your company?
  • Do you spend so much time putting out fires you can’t focus on strategic issues – for your company or for your clients?

What Happens Next?


Ignoring these early warning signs leads to serious consequences. How many of these are you already suffering from?

  • Is your revenue unsteady?
  • Do you lack good business leads?
  • Is there confusion in the marketplace?
  • Do you experience high staff turnover?
  • Do you have unprofitable client accounts?
  • Is your company reputation suffering?
  • Is your emotional stress level over the top?

How Do I Fix This?

There are two main components to positioning your company: perception and strategic direction.

The way your clients perceive your company is your ‘brand’. ’Brand’ is not what you tell your clients - that’s marketing. ‘Brand’ is what your clients tell their friends.

Positioning your company in the market may start with some market research, so you understand your environment. If you haven’t done this exercise since you started your company, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Once you understand the market, start by defining your values:

  • What is important to you?
  • What do you want others to believe about you?
  • That you operate with integrity? That you honor your commitments? That you put clients first? That you foster a balanced workplace?

Your values translate into behavior, which become your standards. For example, I’ve taught my children to always do the right thing, even when no one is watching. So it is especially gratifying when I hear my kids talk about workplace ethics and how they did the right thing.

Craft and send intentional messages that position you and your company. These messages can be conveyed by word, images or behavior. The key is consistency, which builds trust.

Next, focus on your company’s strategic direction. Develop a roadmap to achieve your company goals:

  • If you know where you are and where you want to be, why aren’t you already there?
  • What are the obstacles keeping you from reaching your goals?
  • How can these obstacles be mitigated?

Can You Give Me An Example?

One industry that has changed dramatically over the past ten years is advertising.

A longtime client had built a successful advertising firm but when we researched how her company was positioned in the market, she realized that the perception was that she only handled retail advertising, like high-end cosmetics.

In fact, she worked primarily with industrial companies, which was much more profitable, but was less visible than the consumer advertising.

Working together, we crafted messages to better position her company in the industrial market and redefined her strategic direction to focus on a very specific niche: mid-market oil and gas service companies.

We then crafted her business development efforts around this market, changing the perception & dramatically increasing the profitability of her company.

When crafting your vision, be sure to factor in market realities. Do your research, ask insightful questions and be receptive to new trends and ideas. Be the realist and ‘adjust the sails’ to meet the challenges of a changing marketplace.

Now What?

When you position your company as the solution, you differentiate your company from the competition in relevant and meaningful ways. Then, delivering a compelling message and building value in the marketplace, you can take every opportunity to reinforce this with each interaction, both spoken and printed. You can also back it up by highlighting specific features or benefits and using strong testimonials.

As a small company, you have an advantage in spotting trends from real data and real market experience, and making decisions that you can implement quickly. This gives you a competitive edge, especially against larger companies that often struggle with bureaucracy and chain-of-command. Ensure you put your values and strategic direction to work for you!

Business Coach in Houston

Patty-W-Block-Small-2

All the best! 

Patty Block

©The Block Group Inc. All rights reserved.

Building Solid Companies That Move Forward

Building Blocks