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What is a positioning statement and why do you need one?

A positioning statement defines who you are and what direction you are headed in. For an individual this may be who they want to become, and for a business this is the focus and purpose of why they are a business. A positioning statement is also referred to as an, "Elevator Speech."

A positioning statement is going to clearly define your purpose to your employees, your competitors, and your consumers. It is going to be clear and to the point and answer to your listeners why you are unique in the field or market you are in. You positioning statement needn't be a slogan or a catchy rhyme that will help people to remember you through silly phrases, but rather it needs be purposeful and to the point so people not only remember who you are but what your goals are and what you feel you can accomplish.

In an elevator speech you would prepare answers to who you are, what you do, who you work for, and how you can help others. Generally in an elevator speech you will answer these questions in sixty seconds or less using more of an actual speech form. You will answer these questions by not stating directly what you do, but indirectly by stating how what you do differs from what others in the same field do. For example, rather than saying, "I am a farmer," in an elevator speech you would say, "I grow whole and organic produce to help the public get higher quality and more nutrients out of what they are eating."By indirectly answering your listeners question you would set yourself apart from other farmers and show your own uniqueness and why they would want to purchase their produce from you rather than another farmer.

A positioning statement can be, but does not have to be, so long as to follow the pattern of a speech. A positioning statement can be a simple one line statement that will help people to remember your business and what its focus is. For example a day care owner may wish to adopt the positioning statement, "Home Sweet Daycare: A family away from home." Thus expressing what they do, take care of children, and what their main focus will be, creating a home feeling environment for those children.

A positioning statement is important to adopt to your business because it will help not only you but your employees to know what to focus on and where you are headed. It is a good idea when first starting your business to sit down with your coworkers and co-owners and discuss what your positioning statement should be. Together you can express your individual ideas on the company. You can discuss why you have started the company and what your eventual goals for the company are. As individual you may have different perspectives on what you want your consumer to know and to believe about you and it will be to your advantage to understand and combine those perspectives to make a more rounded statement.

It is good to not only have one meeting to discuss your positioning statement, but rather two. Having two meeting will allow time for each of you involved to step away and rethink your ideas with everyone else's ideas in mind.

Once you have decided on a positioning statement, whether a one liner or an elevator speech, it is time to share it with your employees and your consumers. From that goal or focus point your business can move forward with one purpose in mind each of you helping to accomplish one goal.

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