Find your point of difference – it’s the key to small business success

When a business is asked “what is your point of difference” the real question is “what is it about your product/service/business that is worth attention”. Why should your customer choose you over your competitors that provide a similar service? There has to be a reason, a hook or a story.

Another term for your point of difference is your USP, and you’ve probably heard this phrase many times before... Find your Unique Selling Proposition. Everyone talks about their USP but do we really know what they are? The quick meaning of USP is – it’s a marketing message that makes it super easy for the customers to know who you are and what you stand for. There are many words that can be used to express this such as “best quality”, “fastest service”, “widest range”, “best variety”, “innovative” and so on. All of which is meaningless without a story. A good business can become great when they create stories. Here are 5 simple ways to find out your point of difference and the story:

1.  Original founders.

When was it founded? By whom? What was that person like? (special attributes are memorable). These people can add gravitas to a business, especially ones which need to ground itself historically and quickly. Longines (high-end premium brand) markets themselves as having a heritage as far back as 1945. Rod Laver Arena is an internationally known Melbourne sports centre using the famous Australian tennis player as its namesake – forever adding cache and kudos to its venue.

2.  Original Seeds.

When you first started out what was the one thing customers all said they liked and wanted? Sometimes we lose sight of the core reason we started a business, and often, going back to the very beginning can provide good information. A street food supplier may have forgotten that its customers absolutely love their soups and would line up for hours (if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!).

3.  Individual style or attitude.

If your business was a person, what kind of person would that be? (this is a brand-building question but also works well with USPs). Think about people who are used as the “face” of a company. George Clooney, Richard Branson, Kate Moss, Pat Cash – they have been the style and attitude fronting Nespresso, Virgin Empire, Calvin Klein and Bonds products and services. Personalities lend their existing popularity and unique following to companies to show an aspirational person using the product (prompting the unconscious “I want to be like them” response).

4.  Emotion

Where in your business do you create emotion in people? How do customers gravitate to you? Ask them. You’ll be surprised at some businesses how important this element can be. As people, we like to feel we have invested our money and in return gained something more than a transaction. Think about what added experience the business provides customers where they leave with a “feeling” as well as a product or service.

5.  Disruptors

The tech world is full of them! Life hacks. Body hacks. Dad hacks. It’s a growing trend that isn’t going away. Ask this of the business – does it provide a disruption in the market that will change the way people currently live?

These suggestions are only a small snapshot of how to think differently. It is the same in life as it is in business – we can only be the people that we are and give what we have.

The global market tends now find consumers demanding this sense of authenticity. Of being who you are and doing it well. That’s why it is even more important in business today than in previous times to find what it is to be different. After customers learn what the business is about and what it is “famous for” the possibilities are endless. The USP can be applied to many other areas of operation (not only marketing and advertising) allowing the business to expand and grow in completely unrepeatable ways separate from its competitors. A Business Leader needs to emphatically seek to out that one area that all customers, staff, partners, and suppliers can identify with. Find out what, inside the business is only “theirs”. Then own it. Say it. Live it. Breathe it. That’s how to truly stand out from the crowd.

Could you use help finding your USP? Contact us below or sign up for our Marketing USP workshop next week at Action Centre.

You’ll find having an Action Centre business coach is just like having a marketing manager, sales team leader, trainer and recruitment specialist - wrapped in one - all for one nominal investment. We are the business partner you need without sharing your profits - with over 60 years of collective coaching experience to keep you on track and accountable for your own success.

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