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The Entrepreneur's Simple Guide to Business Concepts Here are quick phrases to help clarify and solidify terms that many people get confused.

By Jim Joseph

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Positioning is one of the hardest marketing concepts to not only understand, but to do right, as I detailed in my recently-completed series. It's very conceptual, highly theoretical, and mostly emotional. Not everyone does well with that combination.

It's also very confusing, especially when it's not well crafted and when coordinated with other parts of defining your business and managing and marketing it. It occurred to me that perhaps I should take a step back again, and show how positioning is different from other parts of your business plan and other elements you are thinking about for your business.

Many people continue to get positioning mixed up with other business concepts, so here is the entrepreneur's guide to business concepts, with simple definitions of common elements of a business plan -- quick phrases to help clarify and solidify terms that many get confused.

Related: Start With a Simple Business Plan and Grow It as Needed

We'll begin with where I started: positioning.


The space you want to occupy in your customer's mind when they think of your brand. While your positioning should remain consistent over time, it should also evolve with your business and the marketplace.


Your core purpose -- why you started the business. This should rarely change.


A lofty ideal of what your organization does. It's not the "why" of a mission but more a "what" you do to accomplish that mission.


The principles by which you run your business. If you have business values, and you should, you also need to communicate them to your customers.

Related: 4 Things Entrepreneurs Should Think About That May Not Be in the Business Plan


How you represent your business and how you talk to your customers. It's one thing to have a voice, but it's even more important to consistently apply it in all that you do.


What you are seeking to accomplish in a given year. You are likely to have multiple objectives that change frequently over time.


How you plan to accomplish your objectives. You are likely to have multiple strategies for multiple objectives.


Specific programs you put in place to fulfill your strategies to accomplish your objectives. Tactics should be constantly changing to keep up with what you have to get done for your business.

Oh, and one last one.


The backbone of American business and economic growth. "Nuff said.

Related: Richard Branson on Developing a Vision for Your Company

Jim Joseph

Marketing Master - Author - Blogger - Dad

Jim Joseph is the chief integrated marketing officer and president of the Americas for New York-based communications agency Cohn & Wolfe, part of the media company WPP Group PLC. He is the award-winning author of The Experience Effect series, teaches marketing at New York University, and is on the board of directors for the number one branding school in the country, The VCU Brandcenter. Joseph's new book, Out and About Dad, chronicles his unique journey as a father during a unique time in our cultural evolution.

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