How Do Small Businesses Develop a Unique Selling Proposition?

Entrepreneurs starting a small business need a unique selling proposition for their startups.

What is a unique selling proposition? A unique selling proposition, often abbreviated as USP, is the reason that a business’s products and services are different from its competitors. It is what your business offers that no other business can and the differentiator that sets your business, and the experience of shopping with the company, apart from the competition.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
photo credit: Pixabay

Developing a unique selling proposition is a fairly streamlined process. Follow these steps to begin developing, and show off, your startup’s unique selling proposition.

1. Walk a Mile in Your Customers’ Shoes

Take a moment to review your business plan. You should be able to find a thorough market analysis in it. This covers your target audience and customer base. It may also detail the strategy in which you plan to attract, capture, and retain this audience.

Now, think about your USP from the perspective of your customers. Why do they need what you have to offer? What kind of USP can your business choose that best meets these needs? One example of a USP may be your price point. You may be able to price your offerings at a monthly fee that is $5 or $10 lower than competitors. As a result, customers may be more likely to purchase your products or services because it better fits their budgets.

Whenever possible, walk a mile in your customers’ shoes. Look back to your customer demographics and consider their behaviors, feelings, and habits as you develop a USP.

2. Focus on Your Strengths

What if you can’t offer lower prices as your USP? Don’t worry. That is just one example of a unique selling proposition. Many small businesses ultimately develop their USP by focusing on their strengths and doubling down to be the very best at what they do.

Let’s say the strength of your business is its friendly customer service. Everyone is genuinely kind and works hard to go above and beyond in the customer experience. If this is your strength, you’ll focus on building customer loyalty and increasing positive word of mouth about your business.

Startup founder doing business planning

3. Find Ways to Solve Problems

Part of starting a business means discovering your “why” for going into business. Some entrepreneurs go into business because their company was designed to solve a common problem for its target audience. Or, the business got its start by offering a unique offering that nobody else had and built a niche in the market as a result. (A good example of a business that not only solved a problem for customers, but created its own niche is shapewear company Spanx!)

Take a moment to ask yourself how your business helps solve problems and meet needs. Once you have this answer, you may strategize on as USP that allows you to deliver this solution to customers better, faster, and/or at a lower price than what competitors currently offer on the market.

The more you learn about your customers and their needs, the problems they have and how you can help solve them, and the strengths that only your business has to offer, the more you’ll be able to identify and develop a solid business USP. Over time, this unique selling proposition will allow you to build customer loyalty, establish a clear brand identity, and grow the sales of the business.