Small Business Marketing: Define your Value Proposition
In an article that appeared on the Washington Post, Denice Peterson laid out some strategies for small businesses looking to compete for and win valuable contracts. One of the tips she gave was for business owners to define their value propositions in order to differentiate themselves from other businesses in their space.
Specialization can make it easier for businesses to compete. Where small businesses fit in when completing contracts is usually within a specialized role that their client is not able to handle internally. Therefore, a jack of all trades may not be in as good a position to compete as a specialist with a lot of experience taking care of an essential function. Expertise is a large part of a business’s value proposition and a niche wherein they have a lot of expertise. That being said, many times a company that is originally looking to hire a specialist may give them more business after establishing a good working relationship, so there is nothing standing in the way of small business owners using a specialization as a marketing draw while at the same time offering a wider range of services.
What other value does your business bring to bear? Expertise in a specialized area is valuable, but there are most likely other tangibles that a small business has on its side that can help it to stand out to win potential contacts. Evaluate the core efficiencies of your business so that you can better enumerate them to interested clients. That being said, be sure to only list as positives things that your business is really able to deliver, otherwise you could be digging yourself into a hole that it will be difficult to come out of both financially and reputation wise. A failure to deliver is a lot worse on the part of a growing business than declining a project that is not able t be completed logistically.
Define the value proposition with the help of your existing business plan. The business plan a small business owner has is the road map to their success, and should be treated with the respect that it is due as such. If you are looking for ideas about how to characterize the value of your business, then this is a good place to start. In addition, keeping a business plan up to date allows for business owners to present it when they should need it and reflect on the changes that their business is undergoing in order to ensure that things are moving in the right direction.
Photo Credit Steve Snodgrass on Flickr