The next 2 blogs in this series are intricately interwoven in more ways than one. They are Latitude and Longitude.  In a navigational sense the two are related to the exact positioning of a ship or location So for example Dublin’s co ordinates are 53.35° North of the equator and  6.26° West of Greenwich

When we talk about business we need to know exactly what we are positioning ourselves in relation to. Is it our market? Our competitors? Our pricing? Or indeed our actual geographical position? What will the consequences or advantages of choosing that position be.

In the 450 words I have I cannot do justice to both Latitude and Longitude so you have to wait till May for a longitudinal blog suffice to say for now that while Latitude is about the breadth of any undertaking

Longitude was invented to understand time and how it relates to our daily lives.

Latitude, as a measure of what we do in business, has many aspects to it. First as I said it is about where we position our business. Second and perhaps more important it is about how wide we can spread our reach. Lastly it’s about room or freedom. Let’s look at these more critically.

Position wrongly and you hand the advantage to your competitor and perhaps really pay the price. Position properly and the reverse is true, you take the upper hand. The best example of that would be the obvious one: pricing. Price wrong you drive your desired customers into the arms of the competitor Price right you do the reverse.  That’s not to say price cheapest. It is about the value you offer.  I’m not the cheapest mentor on the market but I promise you: that if I cannot find my fee in the money I save you or in the increase in profit after 3 months then there is no fee.  That’s Price positioning. We should also be looking at Value positioning, Target customer positioning – making it more attractive to buy from you for your preferred customer and almost deterring the ones you don’t want. There are lots of other positioning criteria but you get the idea.

This leads me to the idea of how far you can reach. There is a limit to what any business can do well. That is about what you as the business leader can manage within the limits of the resources you have.

This is where lots of business owners say I will create the biggest widest space I can and try to Hoover up all the opportunities within it.  I suggest stop take your time, look at which opportunities will give you the greatest return on the time, money, effort, advertising or marketing investment.  That could be a financial return or a personal satisfaction return or in any currency you want – Money, Time, Making a difference, Brand awareness or any one of myriad other things.

As we reach week 3 of this seasons dragons den; even that could be the perfect positional platform. Some people go on the show not for the money but to get awareness out there on a national scale. You couldn’t buy 12 minutes of prime time TV for 250 grand.  It is a great example of finding a method of broadening your latitude way beyond what you could achieve alone.

The caveat if you do something like that is, can I deliver to all the people who might respond. What latitude of support do I need to put in place  in case it works.

To end this month I just want to remind us all why we became self employed in the first place. For most of us it was about, breathing space, liberty, autonomy, freedom to choose. These are all Synonyms for latitude.

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