Like it or not, it’s one helluva crowded market. And if you’re a business owner, you know this fact better than most.

In the modern world, we are spoilt for choice. Whenever a customer thinks of buying a new product or investing in a service, they have plenty of options in front of them. As an entrepreneur, your biggest challenge is to make the customer choose YOU instead of your competitor. Which is why your business needs what’s known as a USP (Unique Selling Proposition/Point). And it’s surprising and downright woeful that so many businesses don’t realise this. If they did, they’d be getting repeat customers faster than I could say Jack Robinson.

So, what exactly is a USP? It’s the one thing that sets you apart from your competition. It’s what makes your business unique. It’s the one thing your customers can get from your product/service that they can’t from most others in the same industry.

In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you don’t need to re-invent the wheel or be ‘better’ than your customers. You simply have to be different.

WHY do you need a USP? Think about it this way – When your ideal client has so many options to pick from, why should they part with their hard-earned cash to buy YOUR product/service? After all, a zillion others are already offering the same. Unless you can pin-point to your client what makes you unique and different, they’re not going to be clamouring at your door.

Below are 3 tips that will help you figure out your Unique Selling Point.

1) Narrow your target market As they say, there are ‘riches in niches’ (it does rhyme if you say ‘niche’ the American way). If your competitors are providing their product/service to the general public, one clever way of standing out is by figuring out your niche. Once you’ve figured out a narrow segment to cater to, become known slowly as the expert in it. Don’t worry. It may seem scary to turn back customers who don’t fit in with your niche market. But once you become known as the go-to business for a certain market segment, new customers will keep flooding in. I know you love examples so here are a couple. Let’s say you’re in the cake business. Hugely crowded industry as you know. How can you be different? Perhaps, you could specialise in ‘Milestone Birthdays’ or ‘Vegan or Organic’ Cakes. Once you become known in your community, guess who people will be coming to whenever they’re planning someone’s 21st or 50th birthday? You got it! Another example is photographers. Most famous photographers were known by their niches. Think Anne Geddes and you think ‘babies’. So, if you’re in the photography business, perhaps you could specialise in ‘newborns’ or ‘weddings’. You get the picture?

2) Go the Extra Mile! Remember, people don’t buy the product or service. They buy the experience. When a customer is made to feel special, they’ll not only become repeat and loyal customers, they’ll also refer you on to their entire tribe. A little thoughtfulness goes a long way, particularly if none of your competitors are doing anything out of the ordinary to win the hearts of their customers. Pull out a pen and paper and brainstorm different ways you can make your clients feel special. This rule applies whether you work in a product or service based business. How many ideas can you come up with? Could you offer them a cup of coffee, perhaps, while they wait for their hair appointment? Perhaps you could send them a handwritten thank-you note after they’ve bought your service. (In an email-driven world, it’s still very much a delight to receive an old-fashioned thank you note in the postbox).Birthdays are a great time to make your clients feel special. Surprise them with a card or a phone call.

3) Find the Gap If you’re offering the mirror image of what your competitors are offering, your business is not going to stick out in the customer’s memory. You need to find the gap and then fill it. Make a list of all the benefits of using your product and service. Then start putting a line through each of those benefits that are currently being offered by others in your industry. Whatever remains on the list is your USP and you need to start using that information in all your marketing content. If every single point has a line through it, it’s time for some Serious Thinking. Back to the drawing board. Again, pull out paper & pen, and write down ‘What 2 things can my product/service offer that are currently not being offered by my competition?’ Your answer will be your USP.

This may all sound like hard work but trust me, once you figure out your Unique Selling Point, you’ll have customers insisting on doing business with just you and no one but you 🙂

Until next time,

Keep dreaming big,

Nim xo

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