Guiding from The Center

smileatworkWhat is it that you do for a living?

What is the gift you bring?

A critical component of a successful business is defining the actual value that you provide – that element that enchants your customers and keeps them coming back to you.

When I first met Cassie, she was quite sure her business was solving a very specific problem for her customers. As a bookkeeper, she was relieving her clients of tasks they did not want to or did not have time to do. Her business tagline summed up how she saw her current positioning, “Watching your money to save you time.”

Cassie had been in business for 16 years. Recently two of her regular clients had sold their businesses. Cassie needed to go out looking for business for the first time in several years. She wanted to begin a marketing program and asked me to help her with the positioning.

To provide the context for beginning the brand positioning process, we looked at Cassie’s birth chart and the chart for the date of incorporation of her business. This gives a good foundation for understanding motivation and style of both the person and the operation, and in this case, yielded worthwhile insight.

As we discussed charts, one thing in particular excited Cassie. Both charts showed a marked orientation toward relationship. Discussion around this opened Cassie up as she described how she loved her client interactions and saw herself as more of a partner than a service provider.

Every one of her key clients had been with her for 8 years or more and, as Cassie knew their businesses and financial needs inside out, they often called her for advice or to talk over more than just the financial side of things.

While a functional positioning like saving time and taking care of finances seems okay at first blush, it neither separates you from your competition nor sounds particularly exciting. It serves quite well as part of the value proposition, but it is not strong as a positioning.

Most important in this case, it did not fit with the value of Cassie’s gift. As we talked about this, she saw she needed to move beyond functional into something higher.

The positioning process we worked on included defining her ideal prospects, refined the definition of her category from simply “bookkeeping.” We worked out her value statement, and, working from the higher idea of an honorable relationship, moved the intent of what Cassie wanted her target prospects to know about her brand from the functional timesaving to serving a bigger idea.

It came from who she is and how she wants her business to be known. Then we found her a new tagline for her business:

“Supporting your tomorrow.”