Whether you are just starting up or have been in business for years, your business must have a unique selling proposition (USP) – that something that sets you apart from the rest.
Business coach Amanda James says the only way to obtain success is to understand what your business can offer customers that the competition can't. "You need to develop and nature your USP over time. This is your distinct advantage or benefit that sets you apart from the competition. As business and times change, your USP should be rethought and adapted."
James says the most important step to determining your USP is research.
1. Research the competition: Critically analyse the business model of your competitors. What are they offering, at what price? What are their business hours? What is the make-up of their clientele? Once you have analysed their business practices, it will give you a better understanding of what you are up against and what you need to do to offer the customers better options.
2. Research the consumer: Find out what your consumer wants. Conduct surveys and talk to people. Find out what they would like, when, where and how. Then capitalise on this information.
3. Research the business: Find out how much capital is required to establish the business. How much will your expenses amount to? What are your short-term and long-term goals?
"Once you have done this research, determine what you will offer your clients that will set you apart from the competition. This can include better quality, prices, selection, service or speed. When choosing a USP, don't try to out do your competition in all aspects of service. Choose one gap in the market offering and make that your main focus. Then make sure you deliver," says James.