By Adrian Swinscoe, Director At RARE Business

Too often in their business planning and marketing blurb, do start-ups, businesses or new products or services claim to be unique without really testing whether they are or not.

Understanding your uniqueness (USP — Unique Selling Proposition) will not only help in defining your competitive advantage but will also provide a really strong basis for your marketing.

Why is this important? It’s important because it is overlooked by the majority of businesses and, so, to define it will give you an immediate advantage over your competitors.

The main reason that the majority of businesses haven’t defined their uniqueness is because it’s not easy and takes work and honesty.

Here’s a 7-step process to help you get started:

1.What people do we serve?

Define your target customer. Who are you aiming at? What sort of person buys your product or service? Male, female? Age? Income? Interest? What sort of language do they use? Think carefully about this until you can create a clearly, defined picture of your customer.

2.What problems do they have?

Think about your target customer’s problems. What are they? And when do they occur? In order for a customer to buy from you, it must be at the right time and place.

3. What needs do we satisfy?

Think about how you resolve those problems. What solutions could you come up with that could address your customers problems. Remember, it’s about them and what they need NOT what you CAN do for them.

4. Who is our competition?

Think about who you will be competing with and in what markets. Can you learn anything from the marketplace and what is happening around you. Are any of your competitors doing something similar? How is it being received? How could you do it better, more efficiently etc?

5.What makes us different?

Think about why your customer would choose you over a competitor. Look for uniqueness. Think of how you can take a regular, competitive solution and put a new twist on it. Do you cater for a unique niche? What’s special/different about the way you deal with your customers?

6.Why should I believe you?

Think about why your customers should trust you. Can you guarantee your solution to their problem? What happens if a customer isn’t happy? Would you give them their money back? Would you replace the product? Would you spend more time to finish the job? Any of these consequences could easily be turned into a powerful proposition that builds trust.

7.So what?

Think about reality. This is, probably, the most important step. There have been countless occasions that unique businesses have been started that have failed. It’s not about producing or delivering something that is truly unique, it’s NOT about creating something that will possibly be used but focusing on creating something that will
probably be used.

How are you unique?

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