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How to find your USP

Usp – it’s what makes you stand out from the competition right? But how do you hone it?

USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition – it means, what’s different about you as a company, your products, why should anyone care? What do you have that your competition doesn’t have?

Why is it important?

You’re not going to be the only one offering what you offer.  Unless you are coming up with a completely unique product or service, there will be somewhere offering something similar to you and generally not far from you either. So creating your USP is really important.

So firstly look at yourself and your company. How can you make yourself stand out?  A good place to start is to look at your values. What’s important to you and your company?  Why did you start out? What difference are you trying to make?  How are you going to treat any staff, suppliers, your local community?

Being able to put your stamp on your business and get customer behind your ‘why’ will help create branding, mission statements, marketing & public relations.  Everything essentially that you put out there to convince people they want to buy your products, work for you and collaborate with you.

Your why will be different to your competition, because essentially it’s a very personal thing to you and your company.

Next you can look at your offer.  How it is packaged, what is the price point, what’s the quality, what will they get for their money?  This is another way to differentiate from your competition that will feed through all your communications.  Are you a high ticket, quality product with some prestige, or a value driven product?  This will also effect who you market to, are you selling to the jet set bunch who buy expensive products, or the more discerning buyer who likes to get a bargain?

Each have their own value, but being able to map this out at the very beginning will give you a good solid foundation to build your communications on.

Having a strong USP will help your customers save time when wondering whether to buy your products.  They’ll instantly know if you’re the brand for them or not.

Do I really need a USP?

Well yes you do!  Firstly, you’re going to have done a lot of work on pricing and positioning, so that piece of work will definitely need to be done.  But more than that, if you can’t nail down what’s different about you and you can’t communicate that to your potential customers why should they care about your products?  If you want to stand head and shoulders above your competition and get people excited about your company, you’re going to have to give them a reason to.

A company without a clear USP can get easily lost in the greyness of business, terrified to stand up for what they stand for, they got lost in amongst all the other competition and give me no reason to pick them above the next company that comes along.

If you are going to put a lot of effort into starting a business, why be the Fried Chicken company that steals KFC’s logo, looks a bit like them, but not quite and sell average and a lot of the time not very tasty chicken? If you want to be a fried chicken shop, go free range, give customer information about your farmers, give your coating something extra, choose bold different branding – stand out amongst all the fried chicken sellers, tell people what it is about chicken that you love so much!

If you’re going into business strive to be the best.  The best is definitely not like all the rest!

I work with small business owners helping them discover their uniqueness and put it into effect across all their communications, find out how we could work together!

This blog was put together after being asked to be part of Natwest's new business advice offering 'Content Live' - you can see the full article here.