Many businesses today find it hard to hit the ground running simply because they have a hard time offering customers something new. It is this very reason why going into business without developing your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a huge mistake. Get the message right, however, and you can stand leaps and bounds above your competition.
A strong USP will help potential customers quickly understand why you are the best service for them, whether you sell the best product, or the cheapest, or anything in between.
Finding your USP
Your USP will come to you only when you have a clear understanding of who you are as a company and, more importantly, who you are hoping to attract to your business. That is why every great USP begins with your audience. You need to get to know them and their shopping habits. It could mean using reports other companies have put together; it could also mean hitting the ground and interviewing as many people as you can.
What makes you stand out?
By knowing who your competition is and what they do, you can truly understand what it is about your company (or service) that makes you stand out. It could be a trait you have that the competition doesn’t, or it will have to be something that you change. You won’t always “find” your USP, but you will find what it could be. Remember it is always okay to change your business model to add more value before you launch.
Looking to the future
Your audience and your competition can help you define today’s USP, but if you want to stand the test of time, you must look towards the future. You must know your industry, and you must know the key trends that are emerging. Take Cloud computing, for instance. Along with mobile it has emerged the victor for productivity-based business and is expected to be worth over 500 Billion USD by 2020. To win in this market, you have to do more than simply reselling licenses.
If you operate under Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider Program (CSP) without using an indirect provider like Bytes.co.uk to help you with the billing platform and support services, you are missing out. You need to be able to provide more value to your customers than your competition, while also keeping costs as low as possible. It could include partnering up with other companies, so it’s key to know your options.
Testing your USP
It is a huge mistake to assume you speak for your customers. This is why once you have narrowed down what you believe your USP is after analyzing your audience, product and services, and your industry, it’s time to test it. Get out there and talk with your customers. Have them pick out the best company based on its USP: yours, and two of your competitions. If you fail to meet the mark on most of those quizzed from your target demographic, you know it’s time to go back to the drawing board. If, on the other hand, they pick you, you’ve got your winning USP.
Your USP should be prominent. It should feature in all your advertising and your core values. It is what will attract your customers to you, rather than your competition, and you want to stand by your USP proudly.