How to define what makes your startup different

By rotide
Created 21/05/2019 - 12:13
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Whether you're standing in front of investors, a panel of judges, a journalist or a prospect, you need to be able to talk about what makes your business different to the competition. Defining who you are and who you want to do business with is also the first step to attracting your ideal type of client; one that will want to buy from you again and again.

What is a USP?

A USP (or unique selling point) is what makes your product or service stand out, without one you're just joining the crowds. But it can be absolutely anything. Perhaps you're a plumbing company that only hires females and you exist to make women feel more comfortable having trades people in their home, or you're an interior designer and you only work with eco products with the aim of making homes more sustainable.

Your USP defines your niche or target audience. If you're the only company to offer this USP in your target area you have a fantastic opportunity for business success.

So how do you define your USP?

1.     Work out what you stand against

It's often the case that individuals set up their own companies in frustration with how things are done elsewhere. They don't like the policies, processes and values that their employers run their business by and believe they can do things better.

Write down what it was (and is) about the industry that you dislike. And be sure to consider it from your customers' point of view too. What you'll get is a list of issues with the market that are most likely also pet peeves of your target audience.

2.     Find their opposites

The next step in defining what makes your business different is to take the list of things you stand against and reverse them. Why? The opposite of what you stand against is what you stand for.

Give people the opposite of what they hate and you'll soon become very appealing.

3.     Check out the competition

Now that you have some compelling values and missions for your business, you need to have a look at what your competition are saying about themselves.

How do they show their values within their proposition and how does their service represent those values?

This will show you what weighting to give each of the things you stand for. The values that no-one else is using could be the values you make your most important. And those that everyone claims to use, you either drop or you aim to incorporate them into your business better than the competition.

Another way to look at it is, you don't necessarily need to be the only one offering what you do - you just need to be the only one shouting about it.  

4.     Build those values into your service or proposition

5.     Now that you've worked out the values that are core to what you believe in and different to those of your competition, it's time to look at how you can make them a core part of your business proposition. There are three key steps to this:

The last point is so important because it's what gains you trust from customers and potential customers and allows you to build a reputation for whatever it is that makes your business different.

Upmarketry [1] is a digital marketing agency specialising in branding and delivering growth for start ups and SMEs.

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