In the work I do with coaches, consultants, and experts, I always begin conversations with this exploratory question:

What do you want to be known for in your business?

I use this question a lot. For keynote sessions at conferences. When sitting down one-on-one with a client, or talking to someone new for a discovery call on the phone. I’ve even asked it on social media once or twice.

I ask this question—which is ultimately pressing you to really determine what makes your business unique—because in one seemingly simple question it forces you to identify:

  • the core essence and values of your brand
  • your unique selling proposition (USP)
  • your unique value proposition (UVP)
  • how you spend your time as a business owner
  • how you will differentiate yourself from your competitors and show you the path to how you will stand out

So, I want to ask you the very same question today:

What do you want to be known for in your business?

Take out a piece of paper and jot down the first few ideas that come to mind.

Now, it’s okay if this question stumps you!

It’s quite possible that you’ve never thought of what you want to be KNOWN for in your business. Coaches & consultants often think in terms of service—how we solve problems for our target audience. We can easily answer what we do (“I’m a life coach,” or “I run a leadership coaching program”) but answering what we want to be known for is a whole other beast.

Let me walk you through the process of discovery here.

Last month, I spoke at an association meeting in New York City.

I handed everyone a sticky note and asked the question: “What do you want to be known for in your business?”

A few people started jotting things down right away (maybe you would do this too).

The eyes of several others glazed over, thinking. I waited and gave everyone time to really think about the question.

And do you know what happened when they began sharing their answers? The room lit up with possibilities and energy! Excitement cut through the air.

Here are some examples of thrilling ways in which the business owners in that room came up with about what they want to be known for. A simple exercise, and they were able to identify what really made their small business unique—they just had to be asked the right question!

  • An event planner shared that she wanted to become known as the go-to person in New York City and Long Island for bar and bat mitzvahs that incorporated highly-detailed personalized pieces into the events.
  • An architect stated that she wanted her firm to stand out online as the top Passive House Design experts and designers in the United States.
  • A physical therapist shared that she wanted to be known for the individualized therapy attention that is given to her patients, in private rooms, at her office. Not just “great customer service” (which is vague) but individualized therapy.
  • Two women who own a jewelry company wanted to be known as a lifestyle jewelry brand, focusing on sharing their pieces, as well as the vivid art and culture in New York City.

Notice a couple things in their answers:

  • Identifying what they wanted to be known for brought them directly to their ideal customer. Not a generic, large audience. The result? More of the people in their target audience will hear what they have to say—their messaging won’t be lost in all the noise online.
  • Thinking about what they wanted to be known for identified a focus on specific niches within their industry (like Passive House Design) that already made their business stand out from the competition. This points a clear path towards nailing their messaging so that everyone remembers them not just as “an architect” but as a specialized architect with a unique skill set.

As a marketing strategist and business growth consultant this question is GOLD–for both the work I do with my clients, and for the coaches and consultants in our business retreats and in the Content Personality Club.

Once there is an answer to this single question, it will frame everything that happens in your brand going forward.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Revision or creation of a mission statement
  • Marketing materials that attract the right prospects
  • Topics for live events
  • Basis for establishing thought leadership
  • Tone to use in content and social media
  • Clarity on brand personality and values
  • The tone and structure of your email marketing efforts
  • What your lead magnet should be about

So now it’s my turn to ask you: What do you want to be known for in business? What makes your business unique? What is your differentiator?

Once you know the answers to these types of questions you are ready to fly.

And if you’re stuck with a blank sticky note maybe you need to step back and figure out what really brings you JOY.

If you’re ready to expand your business (while experiencing more joy, more revenue, and more time off) then we challenge you to fill out our Business Expansion Scorecard.

It’ll help you figure out your next best step—and clarify for you what you really want to be known for!