A ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ (USP) is something that many businesses have but it would be true to say that most don’t know they have one. When you follow the simple steps in this article, you’ll be able to identify your USP and will probably find that you have more than one. Without a clear USP then your ability to focus on your market, conserve advertising and promotion dollars and, most importantly, write your Business Plan, is almost non-existent.
You may have heard about a thing called your ‘Differential’, as well as other things, your USP describes the difference between your business and your competition.
A Business Plan without a USP is like a ship without a rudder
It is extremely important that you should include your USP in your Business or Marketing Plan, you can be sure that if you are looking for funding or a bank loan, the providers of the cash are going to want to know what sets you apart from your competition and it had better be good.
Example: Bakery & Coffee Bar
Let’s say you decide to open a Bakery and Coffee Bar. There is some close existing competition and so you do some research and find out the following:
What the competition does
- They open at 7 a.m. and close around 4.30 p.m
- They offer a range of coffees and tea
- They offer freshly prepared sandwiches and rolls
- They offer a special order facility for birthday cakes
What they don’t do
- They don’t offer today’s newspapers
- They don’t offer an email your order service
- They don’t offer office catering for special presentations etc.
- They don’t donate left over stock to a food bank or similar
Your opportunity is to do what they don’t do and in the process establish your ‘Unique Selling Propositions’
Here’s what you do (You can still do the things your competition does as well if you choose to…
- Open at 6 a.m. for early morning passing traffic and close at 6 p.m. to service customers on their way home from work
- Offer 3 copies of each of today’s newspapers
- Offer an email your order service
- Offer office catering
- Donate left over stock to local charities/food banks
The list can go on from here but the advice would be, don’t do it all at once. You’ll find a competitor matrix very useful in this process.
Once you have defined what your USP is, you need to set about creating some words and maybe images around each USP that you define.
Basic rules for a USP:
- It must be something that you know is true and you believe in it
- It should create some form of emotion in the reader
- It must communicate instantly just what the USP is about
- It should be specific
- It should be concise
- It should have real meaning
- An important note A Unique Selling Proposition’ does not mean a ‘Permanent Unique Selling Proposition!’ Always have something up your sleeve to offer your customers and that way you will have the leaders advantage and have something to release in response to a competitors latest move.