Do you know what your business REALLY sells?
Believe it or not, there are a ton of small and midsize companies — some who have been around for years or decades — that don’t know what business they are in.
How is is that possible? I know what MY business sells, you probably know what your business sells, so what’s the problem?
Obviously, all business owners know where their paychecks come from and are able to comprehend the things they did to earn that money. But many have a great deal of trouble effectively (or concisely) communicating what they do in a way that makes sense to potential customers, which is only half the problem… If you’re not communicating well with people, you’re not communicating well with search engines either.
For example, you might ask a business management consultant what they do, and they would probably answer, “My company consults with firms in a variety of ways, we work with your sales and operations to streamline processes, improve revenue management, and we coach your business leaders on how to get the best and most profitable return on your investment in human capital.”
We’ve all heard a speech similar to this in conference rooms and networking meetings and most of us, honestly, don’t know:
- What this person is really good at,
- Who he/she really wants to work with,
- What success actually looks like.
In fact, it feels like they’re trying to tell us they do a little bit of everything.
Alternately, some folks might use a slogan or a tagline to answer the “What do you do?” question, like “We pull pages out of the big business playbook to make small businesses succeed.”
Although blessedly shorter than the first statement, this is obviously a step backward. Bottom line: if you and I can’t figure out what this person does for a living, it’s a good bet Google won’t either.
But what if that management consultant were to simply say something like, “We help small businesses optimize their cash flow.”
That’s not only concise but also specific, benefit-driven and relatively simple to understand, as cash flow is a well-known term among business owners. That short sentence also doesn’t force the consultant to change anything about their business — adjusting sales practices, operations, and human resources are all ways that a business might optimize their cash flow and it’s easy to talk about them all while framing them underneath the cash flow umbrella.
At the end of the day, messages like these are among the little things that can separate a business from its competition, that demonstrate a business with a deep understanding of the term “unique value proposition”, that help a business make meaningful connections with prospects, and enable success on search engines.
Think about it: it’s difficult to market your business effectively when you don’t understand what business you’re really in. Figure that out before you roll out your next round of marketing or the next version of your website… You’ll be glad you did.