Whether you are in retail, professional services, or any other industry – we have to face the fact that it’s not possible to be all things to all people. As a business, you have to decide who you are and what you will focus on. It’s a process, and the work is never truly finished, as things will always come along that might tempt you to shift focus or change who you are.
Certainly, if you’re a startup, you want to spend some significant time defining who you are as a business up front. If you’re a well-established business, maybe it’s time to grab a cup of coffee and sit down and ask yourself some important questions.
• Who are you as a business?
• Why are you in business?
• What are your values as a business?
• Where do you want your business to be in the future?
• What needs are you meeting for your target market?
• What sets you apart from your competitors?
Businesses are constantly evolving and therefore your brand and identity will evolve too. While evolution is natural for any business, be sure you’re not getting caught up in shiny object syndrome where you’re constantly chasing the next big idea with no real results. Stay true to who you are and try not to get distracted by other ideas that detract from your core identity. If it doesn’t line up with your business identity, then it probably doesn’t make sense for you to add it to your services.
When I first started StoryPath Communications, I had some pretty lengthy internal debates about whether or not I wanted to offer website development as a service. I felt some external pressure to offer that service to small businesses and nonprofits, but I knew it wasn’t a core competency for me. Web design and development isn’t my area of expertise, and frankly, I don’t enjoy doing it. Being true to who I am as a business means focusing on strategy and content and identifying strategic partners to help with web design when needed.
It’s all too easy for entrepreneurs to get pulled in different directions, and that can lead to feeling scattered as a business owner and not always delivering a quality product to your customers. If you try to expand too much and do all the things for all the people, you risk losing sight of what’s most important.
Once you have a firm grasp of who you are as a business, it’s time to carry that over to your marketing efforts. Let who you are as a business shine through in your marketing strategy and content! Whether it’s social media, blogging, newsletter, or your website – embrace who you are and help people get to know your business. If you’re quirky and fun, then be exactly that. If you’re more straightforward and professional, that’s how you should show up online and in print too. The more you show your brand’s identity, the more your audience is going to trust and relate to you.
Knowing who you are filters into your marketing, your culture, how you hire, who you hire, what policies you put in place, and so much more. That’s why it’s important to invest the time to define your business and then apply that awareness to everything else you do.