Why your capability statement won’t work {+ a tool}


Last week I wrote about avoiding vanilla in capability statements to ensure you feel confident when putting your business out there from a marketing perspective and I received some interesting feedback.

Funnily enough, there was a consistent theme among the questions.

The dominant concern among readers and users of capability statements was whether they actually work.  My answer to that question is yes……and no.

Because of that (but not wanting to labour the point too much), I feel it’s worthwhile covering this topic from a slightly different angle.

Let’s be clear about one thing.  Capability statements are just one tool in your marketing toolbox.  They can be a great tool (not in an irritating ex work colleague tool kind of way).  And if you’re just getting going with your business or personal brand marketing, it might be the only tool, and if that’s the case, it’s just fine.  Here’s why.

Preparing your cap stat (if you’re doing it properly in the way I describe below) requires you to think.  Not just superficial thinking, like the first thought that comes into your head, but real thinking.

What do I mean?  The answer to that question is simple, but not easy.

When I am working with business owners or professionals on their capability statement, I have them complete a questionnaire, which I’m providing to you this week as a free tool to get you thinking  Yes, there are some basic questions about business details and industry sectors, etc, but there are some other useful questions that are used to prompt more than a cursory response.  There are a couple of reasons I do this.

The first reason is that slowing down and taking the time to think is virtually a dying art.  This applies to every area of life.

Image by Dollar Photo ClubThe constant hustle of business and life means we are more than conditioned to keep moving.  Butterflying across the top of things does not lend itself easily to deeper, more considered thought, however it is at this deeper level, where there are fewer distractions, that gold is discoverable.

Consider how much better you feel when you’ve been intentional about anything, rather than rushed something through.  Whether you believe it not, the energy with which you’ve approached that anything is transmuted and absorbed by the recipient.

The second reason I like to take people down this pathway is because they gain an appreciation of the true value of their business (and yes I going to put it out there – an appreciation of themselves).

I call this “digging for gold”, a kind of tongue in cheek reference to my days of working with mineral process engineers (or metallurgists to the snobs among them), who have this wonderful understanding of how to extract gold from rock.

For me, this process is fundamental to producing any marketing material, whether it’s a capability statement, Facebook post, website, content, e-book, whatever.  If you’re unwilling to dig a little deeper, then you sacrifice the opportunity to find meaningful ways to connect with your audience.  You also sacrifice the opportunity to build your confidence.

Marketing and business development are full of hard yards.  It is an area of business that is frequently neglected, but has the potential to make as much difference to business outcomes (revenue, customer satisfaction, market perception) as a tangible product a customer can hold in their hands.

It is truly satisfying to see the lights go on for a business owner or a professional. This can occur suddenly when they have a deeper realisation that “just what I/we do”, is actually real value for their customers or clients.  More than just empty vanilla statements about “highest quality at best prices”, a capability statement written with this intent will be a completely different piece of marketing arsenal because it is a synthesis of considered thought, ideas, and intent.  With this behind it, your capability statement (company profile, business brief, call it whatever you like), can only be one thing – authentically your business / you.

A little bit like standing naked in the arena, this kind of exposure about where you’re coming from (Brene Brown calls it vulnerability) will hit the mark and allow you to connect.

Now, I’m not saying, it’s the answer to every marketing prayer.  It’s not and never will be, but if you’re going out to market with anything less than a document or marketing material about which you can honestly say, “I effn’ love it”, don’t bother going out. This is because a capability statement is just for starts.

What I mean is, your capability statement (or whatever marketing tool you’re considering) is not an end point; it is the beginning.  A malleable working document / website / social media presence, it must continue to evolve, and take on a variety of forms.  Think here, long, short, pictorial, content-based, product/service v. people focused, digital, printed, and so on.  As I mentioned last week.  There is no one size fits all and there never will be and if you’re thinking that way with your marketing or business or life, whatever the format, it might be time to get your head out of your ass.

This is why it’s necessary to get the foundation right, because anything you build on from a solid foundation is going to have strong legs and make strong connections.  In turn, you feel good, it resonates, people are compelled to connect, and so on.

So to be clear, your capability statement will work for you if you’re committed to evolving it according to changing needs, situations, and customers.  This is (poorly hidden) code for: it needs to keep growing, as does your perception of the value of your business and yourself and how that is meaningful for your customers.

It will work for you if you or your marketing others take the time to be intentional and put deeper thought into it and think about it like you’re digging for gold.

However, it won’t work if you’re going to hang your hat on it and never adjust, tailor, re-orient it for different purposes.  If that’s your mindset, think more along the lines of set in plasticine, rather than concrete and you give yourself and your business the best chance of success.

Haven’t started to get your marketing arsenal together, why not start with this questionnaire to get your juices flowing.