March 30, 2023

Reader question from Constantin re “Can you evaluate my positioning statement?”

Fellow list member Constantin wrote in to ask for feedback on his positioning statement (shared with permission):

Hi Jonathan,

Soggy or not soggy? :)

I help decision-makers in small and medium-sized enterprises to achieve clarity on success-critical questions.

Kind regards


This is a good start, but I’d call it “medium soggy” ;-)

Let’s start here:

This positioning statement is in the form of what I call an XY Positioning Statement (aka XYPS).

And XYPS looks like this:

“I help X with Y.”

In an XY Positioning Statement, the X is your ideal buyer (i.e., your WHO), and the Y is your ideal buyer’s desired outcome (i.e., WHAT you help them with).

The more specific your X is, the more likely the reader is going to have a Rolodex Moment.

In other words, “decision-makers in small and medium-sized enterprises” doesn’t make me think of anyone I know who fits that description because it’s too abstract.

For example...

Compare “decision-makers in small and medium-sized enterprises” to:

Does anything on this list trigger a Rolodex Moment for you? I’d guess yes.

Heck, one time, I asked my list if anybody knew someone who owned thoroughbred horses, and I got back more than forty affirmative replies!

Once you know who your X is, you can start to solve for Y (i.e., what you help them with) using the specific words that they would use to describe their problem.