The Positioning Manual for Technical Firms - More leads for your dev shop

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The Positioning Manual for Technical Firms - More leads for your dev shop

Complexity: 6 Rating: 6

It's also an example on how to market a text well. There's quite a lot to learn about PR just from the table of contents included on the website:

Chapter 1: Why Position Your Company?

You’ll learn:

    The situation you’re probably in:
        You’re playing “catchup” because you started working for yourself with little or no preparation.
        Landing new business is an afterthought, a struggle, or both.
        You operate from a position of weakness in rate/fee negotiations.
        Your business is treading water with no growth or meager 10 or 20%/year “cost of living” rate increases.
        You almost never say no to work
    Why you need a “product”, even if you’re 100% a services business. (p8)
    How positioning accelerates your business development.
    Why saying yes to clients is killing you (p13)
    The 5 reasons you’re suffering a feast/famine cycle in your business
    How positioning helps move your business out of “water-treading mode” (p12)
    How positioning helps you avoid nightmare clients (p13)

Chapter 2: Who This Manual is For

You’ll learn:

    This book is for owners of technical services firms like programming consultancies, web or digital agencies, independent consultants or freelancers, people considering make the leap to self-employment, and self-employed people who need to be making more money within 12 months and can invest 6 months of effort to lay the foundation.
    Why this book will give you a world-class ROI on the time you spend reading it (2 hours cover to cover or less)

Chapter 3: Understanding Positioning

You’ll learn:

    What it means to “own a word in the mind” and how this relates to positioning your business. (p20)
    What Volvo has to do with your business. (p20)
    The three things positioning does from your perspective and the two hugely important things it does from your client’s perspective.
    The Positioning Rule of Thumb: the one rule that simplifies any question about how to position your business.
    How to use the specificity-value curve in your business.
    The 5 ways to justify higher fees or increase demand for your services. (p24)
    How to develop expertise more rapidly than your competition. (p26)
    The problem with focusing only on firms located in Nevada. (p28)
    Why your positioning must change over time.
    The best time to position your business.

Chapter 4: It’s Gonna Hurt

You’ll learn:

    The 4 fears that can shut down your efforts to benefit from positioning.
    Why your personal brand can cause problems with positioning. (p37)
    Why your creativity is actually a threat to increasing your profitability through positioning.
    Why expanding your skill set to the bleeding edge, networking, simply demanding higher rates or fees, a fancy new web site will fail your business better over the long term.
    The 4 approaches that will help you get better clients and higher fees without positioning.
    What happens when you start saying no to good, profitable clients.
    The self-reinforcing feedback loop that helps you overcome imposter syndrome.
    What TED Talk speakers can teach you about positioning.
    The terrible “shrinking brain syndrome” and how that affects you.
    Why you’ll have to give up “on the job learning” and what you’ll do instead.
    How to prepare yourself for the episodes of loss aversion and analysis paralysis that you’ll face when positioning your business.

Chapter 5: The Narrow Focus Strategy

You’ll learn:

    The one change you need to make to implement the Narrow Focus strategy.
    The situations where word of mouth will help you and the much more common situation where it won’t.
    What happens when a small manufacturer, a dentist, an attorney, and a delivery truck driver go bowling together.
    What a beachhead market is and why you want to find one pronto.
    The difference between sales-driven company and a market-driven company.
    The number one source of information that high-tech buyers reference.
    Why pragmatist buyers are your best ally, and how they will try to help you if you position yourself correctly.
    Why some clients like to be “owned” and how you can make that happen.
    How the Narrow Focus strategy helps you gain “insider status” and how that gives you an edge over your competition.
    How to gain a trust advantage that helps you increase rates and win more desireable projects.
    How to use the “nobody got fired for hiring IBM” effect to your advantage.
    The similarities and differences between audiences and market segments. (p61)
    Market segmentation criteria that matter, and ones that don’t. (p62)
    What Fortune 500 CEOs and cancer support group participants have in common (p63)
    An easy hack to help you figure out how specific to go in your positioning and how to avoid going too specific. (p69)
    An implementation checklist with:
        A list of who should and who should not use this strategy
        Research TODO items to help you verify that you’re on the right path
        Checklist items to help you choose the appropriate level of risk for your business
        A dead-simple formula to jump-start your positioning statement
        Validation techniques to further reduce risk before you make any changes to your marketing
        Specific TODO items to help you update and re-orient your marketing to match your new position
    Case studies showing you how other self-employed developers have executed the Narrow Focus positioning strategy:
        Web design services for a tiny audience: creative female entrepreneurs who are using their web presence to build and sell to their own audience.
        Marketing education & consulting for handmade soapmakers.
        Interaction design for independent, stable, bootstrapped businesses that need great software.
        Interior design for boutique medical practices (surprise! This case study shows that not only software developers can use positioning!)
        WordPress sites for membership businesses.
        Maritime emergency response (you’ve got to see this one. It shows a fantastic example of a powerful, clear, and focused “visual hammer”/”verbal nail” combination.)

Chapter 6: About Categories

You’ll learn:

    How categories are used to organize and subdivide markets.
    Why you need to move past 1-dimensional categories.
    Why you need a “verbal handle” to go with your category. (p103)

Chapter 7: The Category Leadership Strategy

You’ll learn:

    The one thing you have to do to implement the Category Leadership strategy.
    A simple tool to help you estimate market size. (p109)
    What percentage of a market segment you need to own to claim a leadership position.
    The things that will change and the things that won’t change when you become a market leader.
    A formula for estimating the addressable size of a market segment. (p111)
    Why what seems like a small market segment to you is probably too large. (p112)
    The 5 benefits that market leaders enjoy. These benefits work to reinforce their leadership position while also making it easier and cheaper for them to acquire the best clients.
    The kind of free stuff that market leaders routinely get.
    Who should use the Category Leadership strategy and who should not.
    The 4 tactics that help you move into a market leadership position.
    The 5 “unbillable” activities that market leaders tend to engage in. (p116)
    An implementation checklist with:
        Research TODOs, including 4 strategy questions to help you identify new leadership opportunities.
        Validation techniques to further reduce risk before you make any changes to your marketing
    Case studies showing you what the Category Leadership strategy looks like in practice:
        A pricing strategy consultancy that has a client list with a phenomenal number of Fortune 500 clients on it.
        A conversion-focused copywriting business focused on startups.
        An agile development shop that has achieved a clear leadership position.

Chapter 8: The Category Pioneer Strategy

You’ll learn:

    What to do if the category you want to become a leader in is already “owned” by an incumbent leader.
    What large companies do all the time to circumvent competition and how you can adapt this approach to your business.
    What you can learn from agile vs. waterfall development to help you position your business. (p131)
    The 5 evergreen patterns for creating new value or pioneering a new category. (p132)
    Understanding how service bundling or unbundling can help you pioneer a new category.
    Understanding how positioning as an insider or “localizing” your services can pioneer a new category. (p133)
    How the changing technology landscape and the emergence of overseas talent markets can help you pioneer a new category.
    Understand how much time and effort you’ll need to pioneer a new or divergent category.
    What kind of business the Category Pioneer strategy is ideal for.
    An implementation checklist with:
        Detailed descriptions of how service bundling or unbundling works. (p139)
        How altering your service presentation can help you create a new category.
        How the emergence of new technology, new social forces, or new financial forces may create a new functionality segment for you to move into.
        How you can differentiate from the existing leader in an existing category to pioneer your own category.
    Case studies showing you what the Category Pioneer strategy looks like in practice:
        A fast, limited scope service that focuses on fixing conversion rate problems rather than creating an entirely new design.
        A service that borrows techniques from public relations professionals and combines those with evergreen SEO best practices to create a new category and automatic category leadership.
        A marketing agency that uses a unique approach to conversion-focused copywriting to pioneer a new category.
        An audio editing service that created a new category for their services, positioning them as the de-facto leader in that category.
        A business coach that positions himself as an audience insider to own the new category he has created for himself.

Chapter 9: Combine Two Strategies

You’ll learn:

    When it’s ideal to combine two positioning strategies.
    The most common, lowest risk way to combine multiple positioning strategies.

Chapter 10: Selecting the Right Strategy For Your Business

You’ll learn:

    What your gut feelings can tell you about choosing the right positioning strategy. (p170)
    Why positioning strategies are necessarily provisional. (p170)
    The ideal positioning strategy for a generalist firm.
    The ideal positioning strategy for a firm already focused on a specific audience/market segment.
    The most suitable positioning strategy for a firm currently in or close to a leadership position.
    The most suitable positioning strategy for a very experienced firm in any current position.
    For common patterns for moving from least to most risky positioning strategy.

Chapter 11: Developing a Positioning Statement

You’ll learn:

    The two basic positioning statement formats you can use.
    Why you need to just be simple, clear, dogmatic, and blunt when crafting a positioning statement.
    How going after the pain can help your positioning statement.
    An idea for testing multiple positioning statements with no expense and very little time investment. (p181)

Chapter 12: Go Forth and Read the Benefits of Correct Positioning!

    Wherein I wish you well and invite you to contact me if you get stuck at any point. 🙂