Positioning is an exercise in exclusion.1
And this can be scary.
I find most of you understand the reasoning behind a thoughtful positioning strategy for your business; you even recognize and admire other companies who have sound positioning of their own.
Yet, you rationalize away a more narrow positioning for your own company.
You won’t commit.
Until recently I’ve believed it to be a fear of commitment that separates Just Another Landscaper from the well-positioned companies.
Digging deeper, I now believe it is really a fear of missing out (FOMO).
“I don’t want to box myself in,” a client shared with me recently.
Translation: Limiting who he chooses to work with and what he offers will thus limit his ability to grow his business.
This is a myth.
Picking a lane isn’t limiting. It’s the first act of empowerment we take as a creator. 2
A mistake in logic many of you make is translating “narrow” (as in your positioning) to mean “small” (as in the size of your company).
BrightView is the largest landscaping services provider in the United States with revenues of $2.2 billion in 2017.3 They’ve successfully positioned themselves, focusing on “commercial landscaping”. TruGreen is the largest provider of "residential lawn care" services in the country with revenue over $1.3 billion.
More narrow yet, Dragonfly Pond Works specializes in "lake and pond management", currently with five branches serving seven states in the southeast. This rapidly growing private company will top $5.0 million in revenue in 2018.4
No sound business strategy is ever created without sacrificing something, whether that be the customers you choose to work with, what services or products you offer them, or where you choose to do business.
To this point, a box is exactly what you need.
No box means no strategy, no boundaries.5
Crafting a compelling positioning for your company (i.e.- boxing yourself in) requires tremendous courage.
This is why well-positioned companies, like Dragonfly Pond Works, are admired by their peers: At some level you understand the immense courage they have shown in carving out their unique niche.
Can you show the same courage?
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1. Direct quote from David C. Baker, The Business of Expertise
2. Direct quote from Ryan Holiday, Perennial Seller, pg. 57
4. Information provided by Dragonfly Pond Works
5. Direct quote from Tim Williams, Positioning for Professionals, pg. 48