Before you start your business, it is vital that you understand what makes your idea different from every other business out there. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you come up with a completely new idea. Some businesses just do things ever so slightly better than others. It is often a small tweak on an existing, established model that can make all the difference.

Google is a perfect example of a business that is only slightly better than it’s competitors. When first released, it was amongst other search engines such as Lycos, Yahoo, AltaVista, Ask Jeeves and others. The difference that Google had was that it had a unique interface, which was extremely simple to use, and it returned relevant results far quicker than any other interface.

The net result of this for Google was that they clearly positioned themselves as the dominant search engine, and in turn built a massive business that has significant influence over the internet, and indeed mobile telephones and tablets now. In fact, Google is often used as a verb instead of “search” when people refer to finding some information online… and like Hoover, this is always a very good sign of a strong brand! The same can be said for eBay, as people will refer to “eBaying” items rather than selling items online.

Establishing a unique selling proposition can sometimes take a lot of creativity and thought. For existing small businesses, it’s not unheard of for the business owner to not actually know what makes them different from everyone else! To market your business effectively, and to communicate the value of your business and / or products to your customers, you do however need to be able to describe your unique selling proposition in a brief but clear manner, which is sometimes known as your “elevator pitch”.

By Carl Reader, author of The Start Up Guide and The Franchise Handbook