One of the first things successful business owners do is clarify their unique selling proposition (USP). That is, what is it about the service or product that you offer which makes it more compelling than anything else out there?
Fundamentally, it answers the question, “Why should I buy from you?”
I have noticed, however, that many business owners struggle to pin this down. Or more precisely, they struggle to pin down a USP that is actually unique and compelling. And doing this is essential.
The result is that their marketing produces only a trickle of leads, their product development and expansion is haphazard and directionless. The company is constantly yo-yoing as the business owner feels like they are spinning plates while simultaneously putting out fires.
This begs the question, how do you check whether your business’ USP is clear and useful?
I encountered a diagram like this sometime ago and I adapted it to create some simple tests you can use to do a quick check on the strength of your USP.
The Grey “Doesn’t Matter” Zone
The first test is the easy one: the grey zone just doesn’t even matter. I mean, who cares what you and your competitors are both doing well if no one even wants it?
First Test: Does your consumer want it?
If no, then why on earth are you doing this? Drop it. Forget about it. It’s taking up valuable headspace.
If yes, continue on.
The Red “Fail” Zone
The next test is the red zone and if you are sitting here, then there should be big alarm bells ringing! If your competitor is serving your customers’ needs better than you are, then something definitely needs to change!
Second Test: Does your competitor do it better?
If yes, then this is certainly not your USP – if anything, it’s theirs! You either need to choose a different USP to focus your business on, or up your game and do what you do better so that you can outstrip the competition.
If no, then you can proceed to the next test.
The Yellow “Unsafe” Zone
The yellow zone is where you are almost there, but this is an unreliable proposition that could slip into the red zone at any moment. You see, if both you and your competitor are satisfying your consumers’ needs, then how are they making the decision to go with you or with them?
Third Test: Are your competitors doing it just as well as you are?
If yes, then you may use this as your USP, but stay cautious. You are deep in the battleground here. Any step backwards is a step forwards for your competitor. Be innovative. Be attentive. Know your customer inside out and sway them to you for emotional reasons, because logically there is quite possibly no difference between you and your competitor.
If no, then…
The Green “Safe” Zone
Congratulations – you are in the green zone! You do what you do better than any of your competitors, and your consumer is hungry for your solution. Your USP is sound.
You should now be focusing your niche and avatar around this USP, choosing your lead magnets, and refining your brand strategy around it. You should be structuring your products & pricing and even your company culture around it. Using it as the foundation for all your decision making will help you steer the boat of your business in a direction of growth and profit.
Does your USP pass these tests? Or are you in need of a USP upgrade? Let us know in the comments below, or let us know any techniques you have for identifying your business’ USP.
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