Entrepreneur and author Eric Ries said:
"Start-up success is not a consequence of good genes or being in the right place at the right time. Success can be engineered by following the right process..."
A critical first step in the process of starting any business is to stake out your startup position by clearly articulating that position. That sounds easy enough. Unfortunately, because it sounds easy, many entrepreneurs don't take it anywhere near as seriously as they should. As a result, they hastily put together a positioning statement that puts them on the wrong track.
Here's a simple way to create a startup positioning statement for your product or business:
By answering the following questions, you can create a positioning statement that will help you set yourself apart in the mind of your prospective customer. So, as you proceed, always keep your prospective customer in mind.
- Who is your target customer?
- What need do they have that your product fills?
- What is your product name?
- What is your product category?
- What is the key benefit of your product?
- What is the competing alternative?
- What is the primary differentiation between your product and the competing alternative?
Using the answers to those questions, you can fill in the brackets of the following template:
For [your target customer] who [need your product fills], [your product name] is a [your product category] that [key product benefit]. Unlike [competing alternative], [your product name] [primary differentiation between your product and the competing alternative].
So, a positioning statement for a new social media site called “Twaddler” might look something like this:
“For social media users who have more to say than 140 characters will allow, Twaddler is a social media platform that gives users more space to express themselves. Unlike Twitter, Twaddler provides users up to 280 characters to share their thoughts.”
Admittedly, this is a kind of silly example. But I think you get the idea.
It's important to point out that, although your positioning statement is for internal information and use only, it sets the tone for the business and product development activities that follow, so resist the temptation to gloss over this step. You'll be glad you worked through it later on.
What has your experience been? Have you worked out a positioning statement for your startup?