If you’re on this page and your business doesn’t have a PVU, you’re exactly where you need to be.
These days, a PSU is critical to your business. Gone are the days when you could trust there to be no competition. Now you have to make sure that you can stand out from the rest and that your customer knows it.
A USP is a unique selling proposition (or sometimes known as a unique selling position, or a combination of the two). And it’s a short (less than 90 words) concise statement that you can tell someone exactly what you will get out of shopping with you that you can’t get from the competition.
This is essential because if your customer doesn’t know what he’s doing … why would they try to find him?
You can’t talk about USP without mentioning the one that put Domino’s Pizza on the map:
“Hot, fresh pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.”
This tells you everything you need to know about them. This was done at a time when pizza delivery was slow and unreliable. You had no idea when your pizza would arrive and by the time you got it, it would be cold. This IP is clear, concise, and addresses a need that was lacking in the industry at the time. A need that is important to your customers.
Do you remember why you started in business in the first place? Most business owners notice a need in an unmet industry and start a business to meet that need. Why did you start your business?
There are a couple of ways you can differentiate your business from the competition. There is a price, to be “different” or to become more specific.
Pricing is the obvious way to set yourself apart, but I urge you to try something else. Unless there’s a reason you can offer a low price that your competitors can’t match, you’re looking for trouble. All it takes is someone to come in and make less profit for you to lose your job, and there is no glory in being second cheapest.
Positioning your business as “different” is a much better way to do it. This can be things like offering a larger selection, a better warranty, more convenience, better performance, etc. Find something you can do that none of your competitors can. (Or something no one knows your competitors are doing … but make sure you know for sure what your competition is doing!)
Being more specific is also a great option, especially with the internet and the fact that you can now easily run a business across the country from the comfort of your home. What I mean by ‘more specific’ is taking a section of your existing customers who have something in common and positioning yourself as a solution just for them. An example of this would be a lawyer who specializes in elder law, an engineering company that works specifically on motorcycle engines, or a health food store that specifically sells to hockey players.
A great way to do this would be to find a bias in your existing customers and target all of your marketing directly to that niche. All customer lists have some kind of bias if you look hard enough. Perhaps most of your clients are of the same religion. Maybe everyone drives the same type of car. If you can find your bias, you have already been unconsciously attracting these clients, now you can consciously pursue them.
In this day and age, if you don’t stand out from the rest of the competition, you won’t be able to take your business to the next level (unless you’re very lucky … and a business isn’t something that should be based on luck).