I love being a small business owner. I love that this little business is an expression of who I am and what’s important to me. It allows me to express my strength with words, make my own decisions and learn from the journey. However working out my unique value hasn’t been a walk in the park. In fact it has taken me over four years (no joke). Just when I think I’m close to understanding what my unique value is, ‘it’ seems to slips through my fingers like a jellied eel.
I learnt my first very important lesson; four years ago after leaving my full-time job; until you understand your unique value you don’t really know who will value you.
We are sometimes encouraged to do things backwards and shape ourselves around what we think people want. This approach works for a while but we find ourselves having to shift what we do to meet changing demands.
What if we developed a brand that had its foundations in what’s important to us? The values that hold our brand together also hold our businesses together. I say this because it is so easy to get caught up with what people say you should be doing, this can have us compromising on our values and taking us away fom why we got into business in the first place.
What I learnt in those four years was that my unique value isn’t helping business owners write their words but helping them identify what their unique value is. The phrase ‘you teach best what you most need to learn’ comes to mind.
Let me remind you of three concepts that we often hear in the business community, especially in relation to communicating our businesses; your ‘Why’ your ‘USP’ (Unique Selling Proposition or what I like to call Uniquely Special Perspective) and your ‘Story.’ All very popular concepts but what do they really mean for you as a business owner?
Let’s take myself as an example.
My ‘story’ is the struggle to make a living doing what I love and my ‘why’ is wanting to help people do just that because of my experience. My USP is an ability to put the clients unique value into words in a way that speaks to their audience.
Let’s put it simply (taken from my upcoming book ‘A Simple Voice’):
Your ‘why’ is the difference you want to make through your business. Your USP is how you specifically achieve it for your client and your ‘story’ is how you achieved it for it yourself.
I’m so glad I’m still learning!