Why small businesses need to rethink their idea of USP

By January 5, 2015USP

Have you noticed that USP or ‘Unique Selling Point’ is often reduced to the service or product offered by the business in question? This narrow interpretation of USP, I believe, is more than ready for replacement. A new understanding being, your USP is not just what your business uniquely offers within the market, but what you the owner uniquely brings to the business.

As small business owners we can get caught up in trying to identify our USP within the context of what we offer. For many of us the only differentiating aspect of what we do resides within us. No two businesses are the same, because no two people are the same, but the challenge for every small business entrepreneur is to articulate this difference within their market in a way that is meaningful to their audience.

But think about it, consumers, customers and clients rarely get caught up in what our USP is, the way we business owners do. Even if they do ask the question, ‘Why should I buy from you’ as opposed to someone else offering a similar product or service?’ Difference for difference sake has no long-term advantage unless it brings greater meaning to the customer’s experience. This requires that we know how to articulate our USP in a way that it does.

From experience, many small businesses are unclear about what makes them unique. With so many businesses offering similar goods and services, your difference may not lie in the ‘what’ you do or even ‘how’ you do it but ‘why’.

Like the 1920’s boutique shop that began as grandmas unwanted items, but grew into a business as a means of giving back to her legacy now she is no longer living. It may not be the only 1920’s boutique out there, but the reason for starting is likely to be unique to them.

‘Why you do what you do’ is important because it reveals, not just your story, but whether your business has meaning for you. And this is crucial as it translates into everything you do. Why? Because you care just that little bit more.

We get a sense of this when an organisation pays greater attention to the detail, makes excellence a priority, or gives top notch customer service. These are the wonderful by products of caring because on some level you know your USP is doing exactly what it was meant to; make a difference.

Whether your USP is in the ‘what’ you do, ‘how’ you do it or ‘why’, the emphasis is on the word ‘unique’ and holds the potential to your business success.


Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Miguel Acha says:

    “Whether your USP is in the ‘what’ you do, ‘how’ you do it or ‘why’, the emphasis is on the word ‘unique’ and holds the potential to your business success.” Congratulations for this sentence!!! I have read and listened about USP and ESP, but your sentence explains it very clearly and concisely, making it very useful to develop “uniqueness”.

    This has reminded me a sentence by Jerry Garcia: “You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only one who does what you do.”

    • Destiny says:

      Thank you Miguel for that, we as small businesses can get caught up in believing we’re not different enough but uniqueness is our birthright! I like the quote by Jerry Garcia thank you for sharing it!

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