What’s my U.S. what….?

You may have come across the acronym USP before, but if you’re not familiar with business, have had no idea what it stands for. First and foremost, a USP is a Unique Selling Point (or Proposition to some). Fundamentally, this means something that helps you stand apart from competitors. This may give you your ‘competitive advantage’ – your advantage over your rivals.

This can come in many shapes and sizes, but a lot of the time, companies try to express it in a simple slogan showing how they do things better or differently from others. A good example is Subway, whose slogan, ‘Eat Fresh’, implies that their product is freshly made; giving them the edge over competitors who may sell pre-prepared packaged sandwiches.

In order to identify what makes you unique, you need to analyse your business and concept and ask yourself a few questions. If you’re first to market (so no competitors yet exist), your USP is obvious as the very nature of you creating this market makes you unique. However if you’re entering a market with existing competitors, ask yourself a few of these questions:

  • What do you do? Is there a key service which you offer which others don’t?
  • How do you deliver your business? Is there a special way in which you conduct your business, maybe quicker turnaround or free delivery?
  • Who are your customers?  As well as age and interests, location could provide something new; do customers exist in other parts of the world that do not currently have access to the product?
  • What does the consumer want? Do they want low-cost or high-quality, or do they want a ‘personal touch’ when buying the product.

Hopefully within those questions, you’ll find something unique about you. If you don’t, analyse your competitors and ask consumers who currently buy their products what ‘extras’ they would want or what they wish could be provided which is not currently on offer. Your USP could in fact be you, and your experience and knowledge within the sector.

Unless you’ve unearthed an untapped market, chances are you’re going to be competing with more established and experienced rivals, making it absolutely crucial that you can attract customers by standing out from the crowd.

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