How to Find Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP, also known as Unique Selling Point)
I know you’re busy. You’ve got a business to run after all! So finding your USP will only take 15 minutes.
Write these three points down on a sheet of paper or word processor, leaving space underneath. (You can answer the questions in any order.)
- A walk in their shoes
- What motivates them?
- What’s so great about the competition?
Understanding your customers’ motivation will help you realize what distinguishes your product or service from others in the same category. Why do your customers choose you over someone else?
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
Money isn’t the only motivator of purchase. A larger competitor might be able to sell their similar product for less because they’re larger. But that’s not the only thing people will look at when buying a product. Take Zollipops, lollipops that promote healthy teeth, for example. Zollipops doesn’t have the popular name that other lollipop brands like Blow Pops do, but they know their customer — someone with a sweet tooth who likes the idea of being able to satisfy their cravings without getting cavities. (And, not an oxymoron–they also offer Taffy that’s good for your teeth!)
Know what motivates your customers.
Why are they coming to you? Why would they want what you offer over someone else’s similar offer? Think of a cupcake shop that sells a variety of flavors vs. a cupcake shop for dog owners, with dog beds under each table and mini dog-treat cupcakes. It will be good to know demographic information such as age, but it will priceless to know what motivates them, such as searching for places they can go without having to leave their dog on the curb.
Understand why they purchase from competitors.
Is it the clean bathrooms, like at Buc-ee’s or because they’re known for their excellent customer service? Is it their association to greatness, like Nike? Or their fast shipping, like Amazon? It’s not necessary to solely focus on big-name brands, but it can be a helpful starting point. What are 2-3 business you look at that are just a few steps ahead of you as far as progress goes? What makes them stand out in the crowd? Start with your daily routine. Are you a Starbuck’s, Dunkin Donuts or Panera loyalist? Do you visit your local coffee shop? Or do you make coffee or tea at home. What are the brands that you choose, and why?
The purpose of this exercise of looking at your competitors is not to nudge your negative inner voice (hush, you are fine!), It’s to highlight of all the untapped opportunities that are available to you, either because they are unmet, or you know you can do them better.
Don’t worry if your USP doesn’t come to you right away; it may take a couple brainstorms. Every business has a USP. When in doubt, ask your customers why they choose you. Tell a friend or family member why you think you’re different. Ask them to repeat it back to you and see if it sounds like what you were aiming for,
Get Out of Your Own Way
If your first thought after reading all that was ”Well there’s really no hope for my business now,” or “There’s no way I can stand out because there’s nothing unique my business,” don’t despair. (And don’t be afraid to ask for help.) And know that even those that appear the most confident may also have identity issues. Let me explain.
One: The competition may not be as stiff as you as you might think.
When your Facebook feed, professional network and Google searches show all the other bakers in your niche, it’s easy to catch a self-sabotaging case of “compare-itis”. You may start to think there’s no room for you to succeed when so many others doing the same thing are already successful. But in reality, there’s just not as many as you think.
Two: It’s not about being the biggest or best.
There are 7 billion people on the planet. That is 7 billion people living in this world that have not heard your story or offer. Sure, there could be several businesses in your niche that are more successful than you, but no one person or company has complete monopoly of any market. There’s always room when you make room. Meditate the word abundance.
Three: Everyone has a story, but only one person has YOUR story.
Period. There may be similarities from shop to shop and owner to owner, but I can guarantee that no other business owner in the world will run their business the same way you do, because your perspective is 100 percent a product of your experiences and values.
Now, once you’ve figured out your USP, send me a message to let me know what’s going to help you stand out!