HSCS-007 – What do you want to be known for?

March 2, 2009 by  

Every one of us should be able to instantly dictate we want to be known for. It’s a critical part of your core identity, your business goal, your personal brand identity, and your professional essence.

Welcome new listeners. Each week we look at simple strategies and tactics that may have been overlooked by you and your team. Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we get lazy. Perhaps we never heard of them before. Point is we’re hear to share information to do business better and become more successful. I’m not trying to sell you anything. The only thing I ask in return is your feedback. Comment on the blog. Record a voice message.

So, what do you want to be known for?

Sounds simple? But it may not be easy to answer.

I was recently advising an IT consulting business owner about his overall branding. Truthfully it was scattered and unfocused. So we tried to isolate what he wants to be known for from all that he can offer. It became apparent that he can’t be known for all. So we whittled the selection down to the core offerings. It may vary for anyone. But essentially it came down to what the majority of his clients needed and what he could deliver/support exceptionally. Everything else became upsell, cross-sell and added value. Once that distinction was made, the marketing materials become clearer. The communication points essentially wrote themselves.

I was at a recent networking event. One by one we each stand up and introduce ourselves to the group in 30 seconds or less. It’s a great exercise because I find myself continually honing my elevator speech to streamline and emphasize what I want to be known for. It’s not easy. I hate public speaking. I used to get terrified, even speaking in front of a small conference room of people. But over time and practice, I manage the anxiety. Ultimately I just remind myself that we’re all here to make connections. No one wants to see us fail.

Here are some typical examples of the introductions I hear each week:

  • A few introductions are usually mumbled, half-hearted, rushed statement:
    “Hi, I’m Jim. I have a _______ company.”
  • The more seasoned professionals and business owners say something along the lines of:
    “Hi, I’m John Jones. My company is ________. We provide ______ services to _____.”
  • The worst (IMHO) are people like this:
    “Do you have dreams? I make dreams a reality. If you want to be successful, come speak to me.” — Just comes off as incredibly arrogant and probably an aggressive MLM person. Not that all MLM is bad, but some people get too swept up in the cult of personality.

So I asked a random sampling of professionals what they wanted to be known for and in most instances no one could give me an immediate answer. They had to think first and formulate a thought.

Quite frankly, every one of us should be able to instantly dictate we want to be known for. It’s a critical part of your core identity, your business goal, your personal brand identity, and your professional essence.


  • “The best pizza in Somerset, New Jersey.”
  • “Our customer service is second to none in the email delivery industry.”
  • “We’re #2. We try harder.” (Avis)
  • “I’m the most affordable publicist for small business.”
  • “I help business owners become more successful.”
  • “We save business owners an average of $18,000 per year on their bookkeeping and payroll expenses.”
  • “We found mistakes on 87% of the tax returns we checked.” (H&R Blocks claim)

See where I’m going with this? Take some time. Itemize your strengths and weaknesses and define what you want to be known for.

  • Be clear
  • Make it memorable
  • Demonstrate value to the client

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2 Responses to “HSCS-007 – What do you want to be known for?”
  1. Pete Aldin says:

    This has been my biggest problem in business for the past 4 years: not only defining what I do but defining it in terms of an offer others can take up. As I listened to you speak, I finally got the first part of that equation. Now I just have to turn it into an offer. 🙂

    I know you've helped a number of businesses define this for themselves Roland. Keep it up! I hate not being clear and I'm gonna change it!!!!

  2. Awesome feedback Pete. Thanks for inspiring and keeping me motivated.