Defining Your Company's Value

Make sure customers understand why your company exists.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the November 2001 issue of . Subscribe »

Every day, provides you with information to help you start and run your business. Whether it's articles, tools, books or just inspiration you're seeking, you'll find it within the pages of BizStartUps, and you'll walk away with some useful piece of information that will help you run your business smarter. Now, I must ask, are you convinced that BizStartUps is the place to get your start-up information?

Chances are, you're not. What I wrote above is dangerously close to being a poorly written bedtime story: interesting enough to make you listen for a few minutes, but not interesting enough to compel you to stay up and hear the ending. And as you snore away on your keyboard, you're dreaming of anything but Bored into sleep, you're dreaming of how much more interesting your own marketing message is.

While everything I said about BizStartUps is true, you will only believe me if you verify for yourself that BizStartUps is the place to get your start-up information. And you will only go about that verification process if I've delivered my message convincingly. To take it a step further, you will only tell your friends good things about BizStartUps if you click around and find valuable information. And if you don't, you might tell your friends to avoid BizStartUps.

Contributing writer Nick D'Alto will tell you all about this marketing phenomenon in "8 Ways to Make Your Start-Up Message Contagious." As you'll see, viral marketing-getting customers to deliver your message for you-is a powerful weapon in your promotional arsenal. That much is clear. But there's something else I'd like you think about as you read D'Alto's article: What message are you trying to communicate?

When you're starting a business, it's very easy to get so excited at the possibilities-the idea of being your own boss, the ability to fulfill a personal dream, the thought of creating something unique and lasting-that you overlook the obvious need to construct a purpose for your company in the minds of consumers. I say "construct" because the purpose of your company won't necessarily be obvious to anyone else but you. You need to build on your passion-the foundation of your business-until you've fashioned something customers will readily recognize as valuable. Don't expect them to flock to your doorstep if all you can offer is, "Well, my friends think it's a really cool idea..."

Once you have a solid message to impart-one that instantly tells consumers why they should care about your company's offerings-the viral marketing part should come naturally. And before you know it, your customers will be doing most of the marketing legwork for you.

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