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Create a Powerful USP in 30 Minutes

By Judy Howard
Posted Sunday, August 8, 2004

Do you have a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) for your small business? Does your current USP lack clarity and focus? Do you think you do not have time or talent to create a USP? Here is a 30 minute exercise to create a USP or refresh your existing USP.

Do you need a unique selling proposition for your small business? Absolutely! You will not succeed as a small business without having a USP. You may accidentally get some business, but without a USP you will be just another “me too business.”

A unique selling advantage is the soul of your business. It is what is unique about your products or services. It is what distinguishes you from your competitors. It is the one line answer you give when a potential client asks “Why should I buy from you?”

Dominos Pizza distinguished themselves from their competitors by promising “Fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or the pizza is free!” They made a promise (USP) and they kept it. They built a very successful business around their USP.

Here is a 30 minute exercise that can help your develop a USP or refocus your existing USP. Let’s get started. Get some paper and write your answers to the following 10 questions. Key staff persons should also complete the exercise and them combine your efforts into one company’s USP.

(The following elements are areas where differences can be found in most businesses: Selection, price, client assistance, convenience, location, access, product quality, speed, installation, services beyond the basics, warranties or guarantees. These maybe helpful to you as you answer the following questions.)

1. What problem do you solve? Describe in one sentence, the problem you are solving with your product or service.

2. What voids, gaps in service or typical complaints do clients have about businesses in your industry or service area? List ten.

3. What would be a client’s perfect product or service in your industry?

4. List five benefits your client receives from your business solutions.

5. Write a draft paragraph describing your USP—the client’s problem you are addressing, your unique solution and the benefit the client will receive.

6. Look at two or three of your competitor’s websites or ad’s. Write one or two sentences describing their USP.

7. What does your favorite client or supplier like most about your business solutions?

8. Look at other industries, are their innovations or processes in these industries that you could apply to your business?

9. Now rewrite your USP. Write it in clear language your clients can understand. Make a simple message. Make it specific. Make a bold promise (adding little value gets little money; adding great value, gets you big money) Make it stand for one distinctive thing. Write this in paragraph form and also in a shorter one sentence version that can be easily repeated.

10. Start using this USP in draft form. 30 days later repeat the above exercise. Revise your USP based on your experiences. Complete the same process in 6 months and you will have a winner.

Being honest about your USP is your most difficult task. You love your business idea. You love your product or service. You think everyone should love and want it. You need to be brutally honest. Is it different or better than what others are offering in the market place? Is it meaningful to your potential client? Answer these questions honestly.

If your USP does not meet the above criteria, then find aspects of your business, client dreams and expectations, or gaps in your industry where you can meet a customer need that is unique and different from your competitors. Find that aspect of the business where others are not serving or serving the client poorly. Go there and create your product or service. Have the courage to complete this process honestly!

You do not always have to be first to think of a particular USP. But you need to be first to use USP in your business. You want to position yourself in people’s minds as the best with the particular quality in your USP. Every product is different, every service is different. So find the difference and market it. Good luck!

About the Author
© Al Hanzal is the owner of a retail flooring business. He as written several books and national articles on how small businesses can improve their profits.


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