Skip to main content

Powerful Business Planning

Lesson 17 of 20

Defining Your Brand & Position

Barbara Findlay Schenck

Powerful Business Planning

Barbara Findlay Schenck

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

17. Defining Your Brand & Position

Lesson Info

Defining Your Brand & Position

Next thing you have to know about is your competitors and you there are direct competitors these are the people that you go head to head with if you're a realtor it's another realtor uh in direct competitors are those who kind of end run you if it's a realtor it's the apartment building with really good rental rates that are inspiring people not to buy phantom competitors are just people too tired to do anything phantom competitors is a real problem what I say is for a restaurant I mentioned it earlier the restaurant is losing market share to another restaurant so that's their direct competitors they're in direct competitors is the the supermarket deli but also the diet program something that inspires people not to go out and eat that food the phantom competitors is just somebody who says you know what we're just going to eat leftovers we're not going out for our anniversary this year whatever that's your phantom how you stack up amidst your competition is your market share oh I though...

t we went right into market share next I think market shares coming up um what your market share is is your slice of the pie and we might get to a slide with the with the instructions of how to calculate it but basically what you say is how many people are buying it let's see your wedding photographer how many weddings were in your community last year in your market area last year. And then you do some math, you say what percentage of those used a professional photographer? What percentage do you believe? And sometimes it's best guess some businesses have the information you can rely on. If you run a hotel, you can follow room tax receipts and no work backwards and know how much was spent in your whole area on hotel rooms the past year. And therefore, what percentage your hotel got? You know, your market share. But if your wedding photographer you say how many weddings were last year, how many of those we're likely to have had professional photography? How maney weddings did we provide the professional photography for, and you do the math and you say, well, there were one hundred weddings, probably totally unrealistic numbers, but hundred weddings that we think had professional. We did ten of whom we have ten percent market share. And you know what? We want to get that to fifteen percent market share now. Another way to do it, which is kind of a good complementary ways to say how much do we think was spent on wedding photography last year in our community, we know that this guy's rates are very, very high his air higher than ours and we think he probably did thirty percent of them, so that would be this much money and you begin to see what slice of the monetary pie you got because you might not want mohr wedding clients you might want more profitable letting count clients in which case your goal wouldn't be to get what did I say last time? Ten not to get twelve but rather to get ten bigger weddings so by knowing both aspects of the market share what you have in terms of total available numbers on what you're getting of total available expenditure, you can really set some goals after you know you're competent after you know your customers and competition it's really time to define where you stack up and this is your position brandon creative where you stack up and how you're going to convey that and this is your position brandon creative strategy your position is the unique niche that only your business fills in the marketplace. Um you may have a coffee shop that is the only local coffee shop in your town compared to, for instance, the starbucks or a piece or something that's a chain that becomes your niche the only one that features local artists, local musicians, locally brewed coffee whatever that becomes your position you figure out what's your unique meaningful niche what matters to customers that's your position, your brand, your position is the birthplace of your brand. Do you figure out what is your position? What in a consumer's mind makes you different from everybody else? And creates this little niche or little hole in their brain that you can fill? That isn't already filled by somebody else? Because if it's filled by somebody else, you have to dislodge the other person and or the other business and that's a pretty hard proposition. So it's easy to figure out how you're different there's a space in their mind where there's a place for your difference and you decide to seat your business in that place in their brain. That's your position, it's the place where your brand is born and your job then is to place a promise which is your brand about your business in that little niche and what your brand is. And this is this important as what marketing your brand in my definition is the promise that you make and keep and that people trust it doesn't matter that you think it's your promise, it matters that they think it's your promise because your brand you build your brand, but it lives in your consumers mind so what matters about your brand is what do they think about you? Which gets back to that thing of you are what google says you are they are looking you up online what they see and they believe is your brand so as the brand builder it's your job to make sure everything they come in contact with supports the point of differentiation that you want them to believe and the promise you want them to trust and what I tell you minus I make things easier now I know this is complicated but let me tell you people do month long course of stanford offers courses on business plans you're getting it in two days so this is easier trust me cassie brand sir about trust ok, now your creative strategies the formula that upholds your position and brandon all communication that's the only way you're going to gain the awareness and trust for this position is to consistently do everything the same same personality everywhere not that one day you're really funny and flipped and everything else in the next day you're really, really serious that confuses people you and your communications and your environment and your customer experience need to be completely consistent all the time for instance the position this isn't three examples of position oh no it's an example of this this one has one business plans kit for dummies I just use my own book you start with your name this is the template you add your distinction and you add the market description. Business plans. Skip for dummies is the easiest, most self contained. Do it yourself resource for brand new, expanding businesses of any size. The brand takes that position and turns it into a set of beliefs and meaningful promise. A set of beliefs that a meaningful promise that customers can associate with your name. Example. Creative live. And I took this off their web site and then the promise your name plus the promise. Creative life empowers you to unleash your potential by bringing the world's greatest experts directly to you live. Now, the minute that they this this really sets their internal standard. They want to make sure that anybody who's standing up in front of you has some sense of background that allows them to be called an expert. They know what to say no to without breaking their brand. In some ways, your brand not only empowers, it empowers your business to stay on track because everything you do, you say, well, I just said I was the easiest. This is sound easy, so templates I know that as soon as it gets confusing, I have to drop in a template because I promised you easy that's, my brand, your creative strategy, direct the development of all your communications that tells the purpose how you prove your claim because you can't assume that they're just going to believe you have to prove it and the mood and tone that you'll always do it in. So you say our target audience the purpose of our communications is to convince our target audience he dropped that in that we are the your distinction easiest best on ly one that does this for the primary for those seeking this of them we will prove our claim by and you describe how your distinction is believable and true, which is why you see everybody producing a book producing an e book having a blood something that gives them something to point teo and said I written a book on this I've given fourteen presentations on this people are building up their resumes, particularly in the freelance and sola preneurs world too provide themselves with the distinction that can cause people to trust them. The mood in tone of our communications will be and here's where you drop in the mood that you'll always present that becomes your creative strategy and any communication any customer experience that you start to plan has to uphold that if you are decorating your studio you say what personality did we say we were because there's nothing worse than breaking your brand when they walk when they first meet you everything that they were told is inconsistent with what they get, so it is worth it to know your purpose how you prove your claim, the personality that allows you a consistent, creative strategy that built your brand into that little position that only your business has in their mind. Any questions with solid diebold. Everybody over an example, and this is out of one of the books. So it's not a photography business, but I pulled it out of a book because I didn't. I know that you are all in so many different places I just pulled isn't. This is a place I call glass houses it's a window, we window cleaning, glass houses, window cleaning, my just made opening. Our communications will convince affluent residents in our hometown, so they now know they're not going to try to talk to anybody who is in an affluent resident in their hometown, they have not expanded their market yet. This is their market that our business name, glass class, glass houses, window cleaning is the easiest, most immediately gratifying way to beautify their homes that's the benefit they deliver, we prove our claim with guaranteed streak free service, four months rescheduling reminders and great kant contract rates so customers and never have to think about their windows after the first call. Our communications are straightforward and clean, just like our service that they now know any message they put out that's complicated doesn't work. They're going to be straightforward and clean everything they put forward, they know they have to have streak free service or they've broken their brand, they know they have to call back every four months. This helps them set up an operation that's that khun support, that you need to have something like that for your business after you have that you outlined the marketing strategies you're going to use to get it all out there, following your creative strategy, building your brand and achieving your goal, and objectives and marketing has what's called the four piece these air the disc, these of the strategic avenues that marketing goes it's also called the marketing mix the's air the four things you juggle two fit in all the actions you're going to use to achieve your goals, price, product, place and promotion, and really, this is distribution, but a million years ago, they started calling a place for the for peace under products strategies. You sit down and you say, ok, this is our goal, we want to increased sales by twenty percent or increased by profitability by twenty foot every year goal is and every business is different. How will you present products to win those sales? We're going to do it online, we're going to do it online because we're going to save some sales costs or whatever we're going to reach a broader market by whatever you decide how are you going to present your products which products will you emphasize and that helps you decide ok we better clarify are profile for the buyer of that particular customer will you introduce new products or packaging how will you bundle or unbundle your packages and I put those both in there because sometimes you gain more sales by bundling and sometimes you give gain more sales by unbundle ng will you introduce products features or functions will you introduce or emphasize quality assurance is their service products sometimes service policies sometimes that's all it takes domino's built you know quite a reputation on thirty minutes or less and then they couldn't hold it anymore and they instead now they're saying we're taking more time to build a better pizza or something like that but but the thing is they changed their strategy that's okay at least you know your product strategy and will you introduce trial offers or some other thing to get people two beyond that just thinking about it stage everybody should put their business through this test pricing strategies what is your pricing level philosophy? Answer this for your business do you want to be the high priced option the least priced option the midpriced option that's called your pricing level philosophy and how do you price do price by the hour by the project by the product no matter what you have to calculate particularly small one person, businesses need to calculate their prices based on what it's costing them personally to provide the time required to create the product. But more and more businesses they're trying to sell by the project so they're not bound to how many hours it takes, especially if they know that they can keep doing it more and more efficiently. If you're selling your time by the hour and you're doing it more and more efficiently, you keep making less for each delivery and that's nice for the customer, and certainly you do want to pass along some advantages, but it be nice if some of that could go into your bottom line so the more you price by the project, the more you allow yourself to do it faster and still benefit from the savings. Or do you price by the product? A jeweler and artist might simply price by the product? Not simply it's, not simple at all. What's your purchase approach how do they reach your business? Do you offer pricing purchaser payment options? Sometimes that's all it takes to put them over the edge is to say, and we'll finance it, you can lay it away, whatever sometimes. That's, if you're finding that that they're not buying because there are barriers to being able to buy, sometimes you can put in some options. Does your pricing cover cost plus profit plus shrinkage, which would be anything that, like anything from stolen, two broken and returns bad debt and airs? Those things happen, and so you need to factor into it. How much typically do we waste a year, and how are we going to put factor that into our prices so that when something does get broken it's, not a total loss to your business? It's already been factored in? Do prices benefit from supplier relationships? And this is where sometimes you could figure out a lot of cost advantages by reworking your supplier relationships. And are you planning to change your promote your pricing, purchase and payment options? Because if you're making changes along this route that are important to customers, and that becomes a promotional strategy to get that word out, skier is that all of a sudden change from season passengers does not just season passes, but tuesday only passes or whatever that would be a payment, a pricing change that becomes a promotional opportunity in terms of purchase of pros that's really an issue of how do customers by do they buy one time? Do they buy frequent purchase with ongoing refills, subscription annual multiyear contracts freemium to premium you've seen this slide before but this is the point where you say do we want to shift emphasis this year in order to achieve our goals? Do we want to change or how our customers by and you therefore package up accordingly and promote that to shift them to what you want them to buy that happens to match something that they will find attractive. You also need distribution strategies or place strategies. Will you introduce her alter your delivery options? Well, you figure out a way to do subscriptions. A couple of you have talked about subscriptions free shipping and returns. I mean cz apples, you know has made this basically a backbone of their differentiation and it works. I mean, I feel for other online choose sellers because it's so easy to buy from them in spite of the fact that often they're more expensive. So sometimes things like that can get you away from the pricing crunch that somebody called there pingtan yesterday about will you introduce or alter your distribution channels? Example when you boost up online while you figure out some affiliate relationships while you figure out distributor retail relationships will you find new ways to get your products out there and will you alter your distributor relationships? Sometimes you can bring in new distributor partners re negotiate arrangements, training incentives otherwise in many ways I consider the person who the cell phone provider I consider that a distribution option that they figured out ways to partner with people you can bet all those places that they are advertising within partnering with now know more about them and would be more apt to send back once you know those things you plan your promotion strategies and this is where marketing feels like marketing which communication approaches will you use to reach your target audience and that doesn't come down to what you want to use it comes down to what are they using um what you use direct or email these air called one to one versus mass media mass media is if you need to reach the masses than you buy ads in publications that reach the masses you by you know your local television is mass media within your within your market within a geographic area television reaches everyone that's mass versus one toe one if you can go one two one that's always the cheapest way direct mail is one toe one social media is one toe one because although when you blasted out it's reaching everyone each person gets it individually and can interact with you individually networking might be your entire approach we're going to go to chamber of commerce meetings and we're going to introduce ourselves until we meet this being accounting from the three new small business clients that we want this year you figure it out based on those objectives and what you're trying to get out, what's it going to take to do it, maybe publicity, maybe publicity's the only thing you're going to do this year and you're going to react to everything that comes through. Lauren told me that the number of people that are contacting her, even from talking here is amazing. So you look for opportunities get your message out that maybe your marketing simply letting people know developing awareness, maybe your marketing for this period and then once enough people know you say are enough people converting, okay, then conversion becomes your effort for the next period, which media channels will best reach your target audience? And the probably the most frequent question I get in this arena is people asking me, which social networks should I be using? It is frightening, I mean, every day there's something different and and you can only be so many places. I really believe that linked in facebook, twitter, our and google plus are particularly important because they're so optimized it's so easy to those of the ones that show up, and it gives you more controllable up datable places, but in terms of interacting with your customers, you need to ask them, what do you use? If I had a hair salon, I would ask every customer I have, do you like text messages? Would you like it if every time I have free you know cancellation I tweeted it out and let you know are not treated today I am beyond let you know in case you want a fifty percent off or whatever I would not let that our go unsold I would figure out but I wouldn't do it until I knew that they want my text messages but you know find out what does your customer want? This is again the beauty of small business you can ask them do you like facebook feeds it so you know so few come through to your feet because of the way they're funneled out by facebook would you like to subscribe or does that bug you I mean find out from them what they want tell them all I want to do is get you information so that whenever we have something coming up that's time sensitive or particularly interesting I know you get it that's what I want but what do you want let him know they will love you for asking especially an environment where most people are just barraging them with stuff which media channels and will you attend trade shows events et cetera this is part of promotion you need to know are you going to do that? Because this takes a lot of advance planning you don't decide spur on the moment for the moment to attend an event and expected to be worthwhile um, still on promotion status strategies, will you increase involvement in review and rating sites and programs? Will you begin to seek recommendations or endorsements to influence your target audience? What you develop greater web presence and interaction with your target audience? What you develop promotional and sales literature? What I want you to do is go through these kind of questions and start to say, what are we going to do so that you can take the next step and outline your marketing tactics based on all of those answers you only need to decide a few things when it comes to distribution. What are we going to do this year? Are we going to make any changes? Maybe the answer is no, but if the answer is yes, then you need to plan tactics around it. What are we going to do about promotions? What products are we going to promote? What pricing or we're going to promote? What changes are we going to make? You need to make your your tactical plan around it. These air, the actions you'll take to implement those strategies after that, you have to set a marketing budget and everybody wants to know how much you should spend and there is no answer. Sorry to say it, there is no answer. It depends on the nature of your business business to business businesses spend less than business to consumer because it costs more to reach many people than it costs to reach a few people. It depends on the maturity of your business a mature business can get away with a lot less marketing expenditure than a start up which has to spend on everything to get me that everything is necessary to gain awareness. It depends on your market area a really concise market area is much much easier to reach than a really broad market area and therefore one is less expensive you khun budget less with concise more with higher depends on your competition the less you have in your marketer the less the fewer direct competitors, the less you can spend and the more the higher and if they're coming it also depends on the level to which they're spending if you have very aggressive competitors it's very easy teo get swallowed unless you amp up yours has ramp up yours as well and it depends on your objectives if your growth goals are very low, you can spend less if they're high, you can spend more there's really four ways to set your budget one is best guess what you think you should be spending? You might guess that's not my favorite one is competitive parody keeping up with the joneses you know that your competitors spending about this doing about this, you're going to try and keep up with them one is percentage of sales like that's what I hear all the time what percentage of sales should we market and man it goes from one to fifty percent depending on all of these things or it goes goal oriented budgeting also called zero based budgeting which we talked about with a brand new business they zero based their revenue this assumes you're doing nothing and you're going to start from scratch this year. What do you need to do to accomplish what you need to accomplish this year? We want to go to a trade show that's one of our objectives this is what it's going to cost we want to reach but we wanna develop published e three times a year that's going to take investing in a media center online that's going to cost us this much because we're going to get some professional help in professional graphic materials to put in there you go through a new build a zero based budget based simply on your goals, your objectives, your strategy and the actions you intend to take this year but you can't do that until you know your goals, objectives and that's what this section's really about after that you outlined your marketing action plan you give yourself a marketing agenda, what are you going to do? What key events you're going toe? You're going to support what actions you're going to take budget deadline and responsible party you delegate where you can but no matter what you hold someone's including your own feet to the fire to say this will happen or we won't meet our objectives and then you think long term you say what are the one to two major new opportunities we're going to think about this year for next year and it might be something that in planning strategically you decided you weren't ready for and somebody wrote in about that terror is really thinking about when was she launched either she'll launch this year if she could get a feasible or she'll put it out a little further and put it into a long term that's what that's what your marketing plan is and you write it down in your business plan you summarize your marketing strategy, give a summary this is not where you tell everything because first of all, you really don't want to reveal your marketing plans. This is really inside information for your business, but you do want to provide an overview of your marketing situation your target customer including if you're going to feature a particular product line as your focus this year, what is the profile of that segment and customer? Here come the competitive arena or what you're up against competitively your brand and creative strategy and your marketing strategies and key actions you don't have to go into detail but you do need to go. Generally. What are you going to do this year? We're going to change some prices, and we're going to reintroduced one product that we think will do the following and that's it. After that, you down to the nitty gritty of assembling and using your plan.

Class Description

Tens of thousands of new small businesses are started every year -- does yours have a concrete plan in place to ensure it succeeds? Join marketing strategist and small business advocate Barbara Findlay Schenck for an introduction to fast-track business planning.

Throughout this course, you’ll learn how to write and implement a business plan by clarifying your goals: how much time you have to devote to your business, how many people need to buy your product, and how much money you’ll be able to make. You’ll also learn how to set up your business legally and legitimately -- without dipping into your personal finances. Barbara will also cover the marketing and finance skills every small business owner needs to know.

By the end of this course, you’ll have a smart, strategic plan for starting, managing, and growing your business.


a Creativelive Student

Really looking forward to this course with great anticipation to learn how to put a comprehensive business plan together for a full-time & part-time wedding & portrait photography business, what are the important steps involve to create a business plan and what all should be included in such plan, when or if you should amend your business plan, should you have two business plans (a simple plan & a very detail plan).

Christina Majoinen

This course was great. I'm at the very beginning stages of creating my business, and this course really helped me to think through everything I need to plan for.


Great class!!