What Is A USP?
Your USP is your ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ It is something that sets what your business has to offer apart from the competition. There is nearly always someone else who is selling what you have to sell, but if you can add something extra, something unique, you will hold the key to making more sales in the palm of your hand.
Why Do I Need One?
There has never been a more exciting timeto start and run a business in than the time we are experiencing right now. The internet is still in its infancy (remember, we’re really only 10-15 years into tapping it’s power) and already it’s proven what kind of powerhouse it’s been for commerce.
For the first time in the history of man (and woman!) a global business can be built in minutes and start collecting payments that same day – all for an incredibly low and easily accessible fee. Anyone with a laptop, internet connection, and some start up ideas can begin to build their own global empire – starting right now.
There is however a bit of a double edged sword to this kind of accessibility and democratized business landscape.
You see, just as the real power in the internet as a tool for business is that anyone with start up ideas can build a business, the downside is the exact same – anyone with start up ideas can start a business.
This has caused competition for the marketplace like never before in history, and means that your entrepreneur ideas need to be bang on or you’re going to be eaten alive by the competition.
Most businesses get it wrong, and think that if they sell at rock bottom prices, they will beat the competition, but this can lead to huge problems. Why? because as you lower your price, you move into a different market. Lower prices often mean less profits, and quality can suffer as a result. Less profits will cause the business to struggle with every valuable tasks such as delivering customer service and marketing, and you could end up causing the company to close down altogether as a result.
There are a couple of things you can do to not only make sure you thrive in the midst of all this competition, but also future proof your business.
Be contrarian – go against the grain.
For each and every opinion or way of doing something out there, there are a million other ways of doing the same thing. Often an industry will slow it’s growth and stagnate because it collectively buys into a certain way of doing things, and as soon as you join the lemmings you can kiss any competitive advantage goodbye.
What businesses who find themselves in this situation need to do is find a ‘Unique’ way of defining their product or service in the industry, setting them apart from the competition.
For instance – right now the health and fitness industry is all about diet and exercise. The current view on this industry from the consumer angle is ‘You need to have that perfect diet and exercise your brains out, or you’re going to stay a fatty’ Well the reality of the marketplace is that people are busier now than they’ve ever been, which cuts down the amount of time they could spend shopping for the right food, then preparing and cooking it, let alone slugging it out in the gym for 2 hours a day. Most people just can’t identify with what he marketplace is pushing as the solution.
Now, lets look for an example in the health and fitness industry. Instead of pushing the ridged diet and exercise routines, flip the conventional route and imagine for one minute if you did a bucket of research and found that if you could make just three small changes in your diet and follow a superfast work out in a fun and enjoyable way for a few minutes a day tops you could still shed the pounds. Don’t you think that business would take off and have a pack of people beating down its door to pay for the product if you shared your story?
Look beyond ‘industry standard’
Look into popular industries and find a route to market that is ‘beyond the norm’ Instead of selling the cupcakes, sell themed decor packs for bakers. Instead of sugar laced cakes, experiment and find a way to create a vegetable based cupcake, full of vitamins and goodness that still tastes sweet as.
Recycled products are an excellent starter point – instead of creating something from recycled products, why not start an info channel dedicated to showing the audience thrifty ways of recycling everyday household products, turning them into something useful and saving money?
Of course, these are only examples I have created for the purpose of demonstration in this post, but I am sure that with your passion and flair, you can brainstorm something pretty unique, that provides a solution to the consumer.
How To Future Proof It (A Quick Test)
As simple as it may seem, believe me, it will take you some time to develop your Unique selling proposition.
Once you think it’s developed, future proof your business idea and ring-fence your USP against the following 4 essential questions…
- Will it save the customer time or is it Convenient?
- Does it provide value for money or save money?
- Is your product or service a solution to a pain, a need or a want?
- What is Your Unique Angle?
So now you know the drill, go ahead and create your USP. Be contrarian with your entrepreneurial ideas, and your start up business will flourish. Create a unique solution for your customers after researching their pains, their needs and their wants, and I guarantee you will outsmart the competition and your business will be well on your way to making it’s first million!