November 1st, 2010

What are the USPs of your business?

What makes you so special?

That's what customers want to know, that's what investors want to ask.

If you don't know what the Unique Selling Points of your business are, then you could be in serious long term trouble.

Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance

While many businesses start with an excellent short term strategy, many fall down when playing the long game against growing competition. Chasing profits is the first mistake for many.

Identifying a clear and sustainable market is the top priority. After all, why would a sports shoe specialist be selling ladies high heel shoes? Deviating from the core product range could spell disaster further down the road by diluting the company's brand image.

What Is It?

Confusion is the biggest conversion killer. Many brand names are instantly associated with product ranges. In some instances, like Hoover, a brand name is often substituted for a product name.

But the most important thing about your business will be its name, which will become instantly associated in the minds of your customers with the products you sell and the services you offer -whether customer facing or business to business.

Here are a few examples:
price culture - a price comparison site
sport shoes - a sports footwear specialist
Bob's Second Hand Store - second hand goods store

With a niche and a name established, many young business draw inspiration from the leaders in their market. But instead of creating a distinct self image, all too many are drawn to imitating the successful businesses they would like to be.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

It's also a great way to get a budding business killed the minute it's out of the gate. Not because the 'inspiration' sues the new company, although that has also happened -but because the smaller, younger company tries to imitate the bigger, older company with its limited resources.

It's like Bob's Second Hand Store trying to compete with eBay.

Bob's Second Hand Store will never be able to offer the same range of compete on price. So in order to succeed, Bob has to use a different tactic to eBay, perhaps by focussing on a specialist product range and providing superior information and advice while being competitive on price.

There are many hidden opportunities that the big business names have been forced to overlook in their pursuit of profits from generic consumer channels.

So What are the Unique Selling Points of Your Business?

Do you provide better service? Do you have a better range? Are you targetting a specific demographic?

How will you encourage customers to buy from you instead of the big brand names? -Through your unique selling points of course.

These are reasons that people should buy your products and your services. You could be cheaper, you could stock only the very best products, you could simply be a specialist with a strong presenation.

There's are all feathers in your cap and strings to your bow. So while it's prudent to draw inspiration from the leaders in your market, it's also important to assess their weaknesses and mop up any opportunities they have missed.

Contrary to popular belief, there are endless opportunities to be discovered online, in the high street and even through the many business and social networks.

Good luck with your business, plan ahead and remember that it's not about being the biggest, it's about being profitable.