January is a time for taking stock and fresh starts. This is especially true for entrepreneurs and small business owners who see the New Year as an opportune time to assess their business’ performance over the previous year and map out a winning growth strategy for the next 12 months.
If that task is on your ‘to do’ list this month, we have one simple question that will help you jumpstart a fresh approach to your business and lay the foundation for a marketing strategy that will drive measurable results.
That question is this: What are the problems that only your business can solve?
At first glance, that question may seem daunting. After all you have competitors who offer similar products or services. And that old saying is true; there really is nothing new under the sun.
Yes, these things are true, HOWEVER, what is unique and not replicable is YOU. What do you bring to your business that makes it unique and stand out from a crowd of competitors? What unique skill set do you bring to the table? Or what experience do you have that makes your offer indispensable to your ideal customer? How do your core values influence and define your approach to your business?
When you look at your business through this lens you begin to identify the ‘secret sauce’ – a unique selling proposition that helps you stand out.
Let’s look at an example.
At first glance, Barre3 is yet another entry into the growing and increasingly competitive landscape of boutique fitness. When you take a closer look, however, you quickly see that Barre3 has a distinctive brand identity that makes it stand out from a crowded field.
That unique brand identity is an organic outgrowth of Founder & CEO, Sadie Lincoln’s core values, unique background and life experience. As Sadie herself puts it, “I grew up sitting in a circle surrounded by women who love me. It dawned on me recently that my circle has expanded to include my company. How I’ve raised barre3 is, in many ways, a mirror of how my mother and aunties raised me.”
Growing up, Sadie’s mother and other female mentors instilled in her a “dedication to self-awareness” and a “fierce rebellious spirit”. She credits these values with igniting the drive she felt as an adult to found her own business, as well as the brand identity and mission that define what her business stands for – and what it doesn’t.
As a result, Barre3 does not try to be all things fitness. Instead they focus on delivering a world-class experience around what they value most – “teaching people to be balanced in body and empowered within.”
In everything they offer, from products to services to events and experiences, the Barre3 brand stays true to these core values. Unrealistic ideals are replaced with body positivity, and ‘no pain, no gain’ is replaced with a program that teaches customers how to pay attention to their body and adapt their workouts to accommodate their own unique needs and limitations.
Sure, this approach means that they may have lost some potential customers along the way. But they’ve also gained a loyal and growing customer base that shares these core values and appreciates a brand identity that is authentic and stands for something real.
With numerous business accolades, extensive press coverage and of course, steady revenue growth, Barre3 is an unequivocal success story. But to achieve that while staying rooted in one’s core values, that’s an even more rare form of success, and one that makes going to work each day fulfilling and fun.
You can do that too. Start here: ask yourself how your core values and unique life experiences can help you define a brand identity and the unique set of problems that only your business can solve.
And once you’ve done that, share what you’ve come up with in the comments below.
For more on how Sadie Lincoln’s personal story helped her create the business success of Barre3, listen to her interview on “How I Built This” with Guy Raz.