If you were to ask me to name the most important thing you can do to grow your business in 2011, I would probably tell you to figure out who you are and who you want to be when you grow up. Sure, I might suggest you develop deeper relationships with your customers through social networking and other tools. But just like it’s difficult to have a romantic relationship without having a strong sense of self, the same is doubly true for business.

We define positioning as the one simple statement that sums up who you are and what makes you unique. It’s important that your differentiator is a meaningful one. I often joke that New Thought Marketing is the only consulting firm in town whose founder is a red-headed, half-Persian female. That’s unique. It’s different. Heck, it might even be memorable. But is it MEANINGFUL? Of course not.

And here’s the kicker: if you don’t define yourself, your competition will define you. The minute one of your competitors claims to be the “fastest,” you are by default, slow. The minute they claim to be first to market with something, you are behind.

Once you have a good handle on who you are, it makes it so much easier to develop strong, effective marketing pieces. We build everything around communicating that differentiator in both words and visuals.

Sometimes, this is difficult. Often, you do the same thing as your competitors, only you’re “better,” or have better people, etc. Dig deeper. If you really do have the best talent, then you must have a great story behind how you’re able to attract and retain such top folks. Maybe your positioning strategy is hidden in that story.

Tomorrow, we’ll give you some examples to get you thinking.