Whether you are jumping through your hoops or other people’s hoops, perhaps it’s time to understand that business development – and your competitive niche – is not a black-and-white situation. And while we don’t want to be jumping from one side of the fence to the other, your competitive brand position may also involve understanding the amount of wiggle room present in your mission statement, value proposition and how you deliver on what you say you will do.
How do you rate your capabilities, products and services?Are you the bargain service provider or the top of the line firm?Does your company always win the bid based on price point?And you’ve got it down to an art form, I’m sure.
Are you running lean and mean on work flow and cash flow because you are always bidding on the high side of things? Because you refuse to concede anything – whether it be on design, materials, timeline or profitability?
Yes, we all understand how the economy has impacted our price point – and our profitability. But this has happened before. And it shouldn’t always crop up as an excuse for the niche your company may have chosen to inhabit whether by design or by default.
Competitive brand positioning – and I’m addressing engineering intensive companies here so all the potato chip, hand cream and diaper brand managers can read elsewhere – involves understanding the breadth and depth of your product and service offerings. And whether or not each project on which you bid should be evaluated in the same manner as all other projects. And focusing on keeping what you bring to the table in front of current and prospective customers at all times.
Being a real deal firm involves a lot more than agonizing price point or hoping you can mop up based on the same. It involves fine tuning all the variables that comprise what your firm – or you as a single person entity – is all about and why people should do business with you.All the time.Not just because you got lucky or somebody else messed up.
How do you win the projects that you are awarded? Short term tactical projects many be just that: fulfilling the need to reinforce cash flow along a compact timeline with minimal personnel involvement.Sounds profitable to me. Longer term projects may involve a lot of cash outlay and personnel for varying outcomes – not all of them profitable. However, some long term projects can achieve a lot towards competitive branding for yourself and your firm.Especially if your firm understands how to keep your name in front of the public throughout the duration of the project – and afterwards.
Does your firm have a social media strategy? How do you communicate whether you are the Real Deal or just a deal? Because competitive brand positioning doesn’t just happen. And Word of Mouth also means what’s going on via the internet. (Hint: it’s a lot bigger version of literal Word of Mouth)
Even if you have tried it in the past, I recommend taking another look at how social media and internet marketing and networking can supplement whatever other means you use to acquire new business.
It’s all about how you regard yourself – as the real deal or just a deal. And the time and commitment you put into branding yourself as such, so that clients and prospects are on the same page that you are. And by the way, this branding is not fluff or sprinkles on the cupcake. It’s THE cupcake – the origin of your cash flow.
Competitive brand positioning is just as simple – and equally as difficult – as walking your talk on any and every venue and customer touch-point that you are able. You never know who’s evaluating you, even when they are not in buying mode. Their impression of whether you are the real deal or just a deal (and possibly disposable) is just easy as that.
Now that’s something to think about.
To my readers: I will not be publishing my blog for the next two weeks due to travel commitments. Thank you for your continuing readership and astute commentary, especially on LinkedIn discussion groups. I’ll be back in mid-May!