- To grow your business, prioritize both positioning and growth. Think about positioning as micro — you want to focus on that first — and growth as macro, something that’ll come in the long term.
- To approach your business’s positioning and growth, follow three pillars: Know what you want and why you want it, dynamically assess your business to stick to your priorities and be consistent.
- To set your priorities, ask yourself: “Who are your people? Where are they trying to go? How do you help them get there?.”
To build and grow a business — and make bold business moves — prioritizing both positioning and growth is essential.
Positioning is a key element to your growth strategy. It’s all about marketing your product or service in a way that stands out from others in the industry.
Here’s how Lawrence W. O’Connor, a digital marketing coach, explains it on an episode of The BOLD Business Podcast:
“I think of positioning as micro, and I think growth is macro. You need positioning first, and then you can focus on growth — so prioritize them both. It’s bold because…it’s saying you’re willing to have a short-term and a long-term vision for what you’re doing.”
Lawrence says, if you don’t strike a balance between these two strategies, it’s going to be tough to get where you want to go.
Finding the Perfect Interplay of Positioning and Growth
How do you strike this balance between positioning and growth?
O’Connor, along with Justin Winter, CEO of Boostopia, and Bart Rupert, a skilled business strategist and investor, outlines three pillars to follow.
Pillar 1: Know What You Want and Why
Before any new venture, you need to know what you want and why you want it — that’s called motive (or you can call it a goal or mission). This helps you understand exactly your positioning so you can show up to your business, peers, stakeholders and customers.
It’s important to set this motive before you get started, even if you think it might change along the way.
When O’Connor struck out on his own in 2015, he recognizes in hindsight he didn’t have much of a business strategy — but he did have a mission, and that’s what kept the business going for a few years.
“Having that mission, you wake up with every day saying, ‘OK, I know what I have to do today — how’s that going to manifest?’…That was really special,” he says.
If you need help determining what you want to do and why take Winter’s advice: Spend time researching.
“The value from that time investment and trying to make a better decision pays itself back over making a faster subpar decision,” he says. “Wisdom is knowing where you’re at.”
But be careful. You don’t want to spend too much time researching. There’s no need to spend weeks making a small decision.
Rupert channels Nike’s motto here: Just do it.
“You got to step out there, you have to make it happen,” he says. “You’re never going to be able to accomplish this sitting on your couch streaming Netflix…You’ve got to be able to step up, take a little bit of risk, put some time into it and make it happen.”
Pillar 2: Assess Your Business and Stick to Priorities
Once you know what you want and why you want it, it’s time to assess your business. Consider the SWOT method:
- Strengths of your business.
- Weaknesses of your business.
- Opportunities in the market.
- Threats in the market.
You’ll then be able to smartly align those elements and determine the best way to make an impact with the money, energy and time you have available.
Winter is a pro at this. Before starting his support operations platform, Boostopia, he did what he could to get as much experience as possible in all aspects of customer support by working face-to-face with customers. He even worked as the first customer support agent at his own company.
This let him fully understand the role, where there’s room for improvement and what the company could do differently. This is what strategic growth is all about.
From there, set your priorities. To do this, O’Connor suggests asking: “Who are your people? Where are they trying to go? How do you help them get there? If you can say those things, you are golden.”
Once you’ve got your priorities set, it’s important to return to them regularly. Set up time on your calendar to evaluate them each week. That leads us to the third pillar…
Pillar 3: Be Consistent, Because Consistency Builds Resiliency
Once you align your goals and priorities, you can start carrying them out consistently. The more consistent you are, the more opportunities you’ll find to build relationships and build your business. That leads to resilience.
When O’Connor started his business, he admittedly didn’t know what he was doing, but he vowed to publish new content online each day. It wasn’t easy, but he made it happen, and that helped build his audience and sustain him for several years.
To focus on growth — and really stretch your limits — Rupert suggests thinking about your “success cube,” a metaphorical measurement for how much success you can hold in your life. He explains some people have large success cubes, and other people have small success cubes. When your success grows, your cube expands — but that doesn’t happen naturally, Rupert warns.
“You can’t just talk about it and have it get bigger,” he says. “You’ve got to actually have experiences that allow you to prove to yourself that your success cube can expand.”
So how do you do that? Start discussing what you want, set your priorities and consistently take steps to expand your success cube deliberately and consciously. The more experiences you have, the more knowledge you gain and the more success you’re capable of bringing into your life.
Want to learn more about the intersection of positioning and growth? See what else O’Connor, Winter and Rupert had to say in our podcast episode, “The Interplay of Positioning and Growth in Your Business.” And don’t forget to subscribe to The BOLD Business Podcast for more insights on leadership and success.
Photo credit: Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash