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Developing your unique selling point

Your unique selling point includes the competitive factors that differentiate your product or service from other companies’ offering. It’s the reason people will buy from you and not another business, so it must be clear and well defined.

Making your business stand out is crucial. It’s unlikely you’ll be the only business providing your product or services in your market.

Look for things that make your products or services stand out from the crowd. These could include being:

  • first to the market
  • most reliable
  • exclusive outlet
  • highest quality
  • cheapest
  • most economical
  • easiest to use
  • locally made (when everyone else doesn’t)
  • organic (when everyone else isn’t)
  • made from sustainable materials
  • healthiest
  • environmentally friendly.

Remember, customers can buy just about anything online from around the world, so offering something that’s “unique” isn’t easy for New Zealand companies.

You could focus on what’s unique about your business, eg guaranteeing you’re the cheapest supplier or the brand consumers trust most. All these features help to build your brand and should feed into your marketing and sales plans.

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Getting a great USP is the key to getting customers to buy from you — not the competition.

Getting a great USP is the key to getting customers to buy from you — not the competition.

How to develop your USP

Finding a point of difference and refining it into a profit-making business requires work.

Take these steps as a starting point:

  1. Write down what you know about your target customers. Good starting points are what they do, what motivates them and why they buy. Think about your personas — fictionalised profiles of key customer types.
  2. Write down what you do that your target customers need — these are potential USPs, eg you want to sell lunch to office workers, so offer online orders and deliver to their desks.
  3. Remove USPs your competitors are already doing well — remember, you want to be unique.
  4. Match potential USPs to things your business does well.
  5. Interview target customers — say 10 to 12 — about which of the potential USPs best meets their needs.
  6. Establish a customer feedback system, monitor what comes in, then ask yourself if the USP:
  • is unique
  • is clear
  • fills a gap in the market
  • is something you can deliver

The next step is to start planning how to turn your USP into a viable business.

How to create a business plan

Use this tool to test whether your business idea is feasible — and check for potential risks before you go full steam ahead. This will help you get an idea of whether your idea for a business will make enough money to cover the costs and show a profit.

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