The Key to Setting Your Business Apart From the Competition

Having a “unique selling proposition (USP)” is key to setting yourself apart from competitors and building a profitable business. If someone asked you, “Why should I buy your product or service? How would you distinguish your business from your competitors? Do you have a clear, concise and compelling brand experience that differentiates your business from competitors?

[Related: Young Entrepreneur Turns Class Project into Successful Kids Transportation Company]

In an oversaturated market, an effective USP can make your brand irresistible to customers. Here are six questions to help guide your USP:

  1. What are the features of your product or service? Make a list of your features and include details such as how the product is manufactured, delivery, price, and functional characteristics.
  2. What makes your product or service unique? Convert your features into benefits. Then compare benefits with your direct competitors. Do you have a unique story that adds value to your product? Are there any aspects of your product or service that cannot be easily copied–this may be your competitive advantage.
  3. What are your customer’s pain points and how does your product or service help solve their problems? Understanding your customers’ needs and daily challenges as well as what motivates their behavior and buying decisions provides the foundation for developing your USP. “You have to understand that not every customer in your industry is your customer, and that’s OK. The riches are in the niches, anyway,”says Gwen Jimmere, CEO of NATURALICIOUS, a line of natural hair products for adults and children. “Figure out who your niche customer base is within your industry and target them heavily. For example, with NATURALICIOUS, we know that everyone who wears their hair in its natural state is not our customer. Our customer is someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time or money on her hair, but she wants it to look and feel amazing and be healthy. She doesn’t want to go through a lot of trial and error with a bunch of products. She wants something that works, and something that she can use on the entire family. Our customer, in general, is not someone who enjoys buying and trying a wide variety of products on a regular basis. We know this and we’re OK with that.”
  4. Does your service or product meet an emotional need of your consumer? Identify if your business helps customers feel safe, save time, money etc.
  5. What’s in it for me? Why should I buy from you, now? Your USP should drive the development of your advertising and marketing campaigns. All of your marketing efforts should include a succinct and clear statement, which includes your brand promise and customer experience. For example, NATURALICIOUS makes natural haircare products, but their USP is a simple system called the OooLaLocks Hair Box that does the work of 13 products in only four steps. The system is proven and guaranteed to get you from wash to style in less than an hour–saving the customer time and money. Here are few more USP examples:
  • Federal Express: “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.”
  • Domino’s Pizza: “Domino’s Pizza: Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.”

In a nutshell, your USP should communicate a unique experience that compels your customers to take action.

Are you a business owner? What is your unique selling proposition? Share with me in the comments below!