As a business owner, it’s absolutely essential to identify, articulate and market your unique selling proposition (USP). It’s the exclusive edge that elevates your business in the minds of customers.
Your Unique Selling Proposition
A unique selling proposition is the hallmark of your business. It’s something that is easily identifiable and clearly communicated.
While your USP could vary widely depending on your industry and the competition, universal factors that will help you define your USP can be identified by asking these key questions:
- What are other businesses doing today that makes them successful?
- What gaps are there in the market?
- Are there any trends emerging that look to fill those gaps?
- Is there something that no one else is doing?
- Could I add value by adding on a product or service to my core offering?
- What do customers want/expect when dealing with a company in my industry?
- Are their expectations being met?
- Could we positively surprise them by making a change to how or what they buy?
- Are there other partners (businesses or internal resources) that could help me make a positive change and stand out from the crowd?
Your product or service
- What is my core product or service, and why is it better than my competitors’?
- Can I articulate why my product or service is better in two sentences or less?
- If this was the only thing that a customer knew about me, would they want to do business?
- Based on what’s different about my product or service, would customers be happy to travel outside of their geographic area in order to be my customer?
By answering the above questions, you should be able to identify gaps and opportunities in the market, as well as narrowing down your USP.
The questions above are designed to provide context for a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis considers your business' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and allows you to evaluate all aspects of your business, including your USP.
Draw a 2 x 2 grid similar to the one above and write five to six bullet points for each of these four areas:
Other questions that you may want to use to guide your analysis include:
- Is one of my strengths a marketable USP?
- How can I proactively respond to threats?
- Could I turn one of my weaknesses into a strength?
- Is it possible to turn threats into opportunities?
Small Business Case Study: Squad Gym
After working for over 5 years as a personal trainer, Renee saw an opportunity to improve the standard gym operating model which lacked a sense of community.
Envisioning a community gym where people would feel welcome and comfortable. Renee and her business partners founded Squad Gym, with all business choices guided by the focus on community.
By integrating a café and smoothie bar into the gym, and serving locally sourced coffee and healthy snacks, Renee satisfies the desire of her customers to socialise before and after their workout.
Renee makes it her priority to be in-touch with her customers’ needs, and has removed the floor to ceiling mirrors in order to reduce the competitiveness which can discourage gym-goers.
By understanding the industry, her competition, and her customers’ needs (through a well thought-through SWOT analysis), Renee was able to plan out a business strategy that amplifies a positive unique selling proposition. Customers sense this authenticity and connect with it, and Renee’s business has gone from strength to strength.
How does this apply to you?
Having a unique selling point is fundamental for every business that wants to grow. Businesses that understand - and proactively improve - their USP are the ones that more effectively gain traction with customers and have a greater chance of success.
Nat is the Communications Manager at Valiant Finance. She has a double degree in Journalism and Law, and a background in the fintech space, hailing from Asia's largest fintech hub, Stone & Chalk.