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Standing out from the crowd - 5 steps to defining your USP


Standing out from the crowd - 5 steps to defining your USP

Ali Golds

Finding your unique selling point (USP) tends to go one way or the other – it’ll either be really obvious, or take some time to work out. Often that depends upon your industry, the level of competition, and the technical capacity of your product/service where appropriate. If you have developed something new to market, your USP is pretty straightforward; if you’re one of a huge crowd doing a similar thing, it’s going to take a little more time to mark out your differentials. 

Devising your USP

1.    The process of pinning down your USP starts with your target customer. Who are they, why are they interested in what you sell, and what needs does your product/service meet for that customer?

You’ll need to write down as many of the answers to these three questions as you can; no matter how outlandish they may seem. They all have a part to play – and remember, you are the expert when it comes to your business, so should know more about it than anyone else.

2.    Next, identify all of the needs that your product or service could meet for your customers. What was your reasoning for starting the business in the first place? What gap in the market had you identified that others, perhaps, hadn’t? Or weren’t fulfilling properly? These are potential USP’s.

3.    Once you’ve identified your customer particulars and the needs that your product or service is fulfilling, you need to move on to your competitors. Who are they? What do they do that’s great? What do they do that’s not so great? List your top five competitors, write down the needs that you identified, score your competition out of ten on each factor, and then take a good look at the scores. I always recommend clients to find their competitors weak-spots, and exploit them for an easy, quick win. Remember – just because a business appears to be successful, it doesn’t mean that they are doing things right or to the customers’ satisfaction. There’s always a chance for you to take advantage of that.

4.    Once you have identified where your business stands out as different, having removed from your list the areas in which your competitors excel, you have the beginning of your USP. You’re likely to have found a number of potential selling points, so take the opportunity to run them past some customers or, if you aren’t yet trading, a business adviser or mentor for their opinion. The point of a USP is that it’s unique, in this case to your business, so make sure that whatever you finally choose is exactly that.

5.    Take your final USP, and hone it down until it is one sentence (and less than 10 words) long. It should be short, snappy, evocative and pique your customers’ imagination. 


Want to know more about how to develop your USP? Get in touch today to book your FREE discovery session!