What is your USP?

USP is a concept first proposed by Rosser Reeves in the early 1940s. It is an old idea-and powerful. The stronger your USP, the faster your business will grow.

USP stands for unique selling proposition. In everyday language it answers these questions for your customers:

·               Why should I buy this or, work with you?

·               What makes you unique?

·               What problems do you solve for me?

Until you as a business owner have solid answers and can communicate them to your customers, you will struggle.

Your USP is a work in progress. I have found that it evolves every year.

The process of developing a winning USP involves sitting down, answering the questions above honestly, and then trying it out. When you meet with customers, email them, and communicate on social media, try out your USP with them. See what the response is. If you get blank looks and puzzled frowns, go back and revise it. When you get it right, you will find that your customers will embrace what you are offering. Your business will grow, and you will have more fun.

Beware of defining your business in the same way as your competitors. Almost all the business owners I talk to list their team as a reason people buy from them. Unless you can give a quantifiable example of why your team is different from others, this doesn’t count. Your competitors are all working to improve their staff as well, and it may come from hiring your team. Staff is not why most people buy from you, but the experience they deliver can be.

Your team can make a difference if you have a training program that develops their skills so that they can deliver a measurably better experience. When you have a training program like that, the experience is different, and your team can be a competitive advantage.

Beware also of price. Unless you are committed to being the low price leader and filling this slot, don’t go here. It is a tough slot to fill. You are always concentrating on getting all costs out of the system. It also forces your margins down. Being the low cost leader is challenging, as others constantly try to take the spot, at times at a loss to them. Remember that there is a whole industry that has developed catering to shoppers who consider Walmart’s prices to be too high.

Develop a solid USP, and you will stay out of the low price wars. You will increase your business at a higher margin. You will serve your customers better and improve your niche at a profit.

So, why do your customers buy from you?

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