Positioning: Get Uncomfortably Narrow

A lot of entrepreneurs and freelancers struggle with positioning. 

Often it’s ironic as the work many of us do is to help others communicate, tell stories, and stand out.

Yet, of course, we struggle to do this effectively for ourselves.

Here’s one way to think about it: get so narrow it’s uncomfortable. 

Get so narrow that it’s claustrophobic, nerve inducing. So it almost hurts.

Get so narrow you feel constrained, boxed in, typecast. The shackles and the straitjacket are on, and there’s little room for maneuver. [1]

This matters because once you’ve got there it’s possible to push outwards just a little and see something that’s specific, serviceable, and sizeable. Or more accurately – see somebody, see some people, some companies, some groups. There won’t be many, but they’ll be there, and they’ll be within your field of view.

For small businesses this gives us an advantage. Going the other way doesn’t really work; attempting to squish your mass into a narrow space won’t fit. There’s excess that doesn’t have anywhere to go.

As for trying to be everything for everyone? 

Maybe you can pull it off if you have the time, resources, fortitude and luck, but you just made it 100 or 1000 times harder for yourself.

Instead, start uncomfortably narrow.


[1] Here’s a personal example I suggested to the AMP NYC cohort I’m working with. 

Could I position myself to be the best facilitator of accelerator programs for media & entertainment business owners in NYC?

It’s extremely narrow, but I probably can. In fact, by doing this I’ve probably escaped competition. 

From there, it’s possible to start nudging outwards and finding more people who are interested in what I bring.

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