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7 strategies that businesses use to determine their USP


Here are 7 strategies that businesses use to determine their USP.

In a previous article, I talked about how to determine your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) when you have many competitors.

In other words, how do you distinguish your business when the market is saturated?

But first a reminder of what a USP is and why it is important.

Why is a Unique Selling Proposition important for business?

 Your Unique Selling Proposition is what sets you apart from all the other competitors on the market.

If you don’t have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), you cannot run a successful business.

  • Your USP gives customers a reason to choose you.

  • It tells customers why they should buy from you instead of from your competitor.

  • If your USP clearly distinguishes your business from your competitor’s business, it will be easy for you to promote and sell your products or services.

  • A Unique Selling Proposition gives your business an identity that customers acknowledge and interact with. It helps you to build your brand.

Examples of 7 strategies that businesses use to determine their USP

There are various ways to determine the USP for your business. One of the easiest ways for a small or medium-sized business to do so is by focusing on the benefits of your product instead of the features.

To inspire you, here are 7 strategies that businesses have used to determine their USPs when they have many competitors.

1. Be the best in one thing

If you find yourself in a market with many competitors and your business is not #1, becoming the best in one thing is one way to set yourself apart.

Study your competitors to see how they are positioning their product or service and look for something that they are not paying attention to.

Develop that one aspect so that you become the best. Then market the product or service by explaining how it is better than your competition.

2. Use customer feedback to find a solution

No business can satisfy all customers 100%.

Pay attention to what customers are saying about your competitors. Study social media, look for online reviews or spend some time walking around in your competitors’ businesses.

What are you hearing? What are the areas where your competitor is not performing very well?

Once you have determined this, focus on making sure that your business can excel in that particular area. You will then be able to offer your customers a solution that will set you apart from your competition.

3. Do things differently

When you study your competitors, you will often see that everybody is following the same or similar approaches. This is usually because that approach is familiar. It feels comfortable.

Distinguish your business by finding a different way to do things!

Look for something that your competitors are not doing correctly.

Focus your efforts on this thing to show customers how your business is different. Also, make sure to share it in all your marketing and promotion efforts.

4. Use your values to stand out

What do you stand for in business? What are your values?

There are many different values that a business can stand for:

  • taking care of the environment
  • creating job opportunities for disadvantaged people
  • being a women-only business
  • only selling ethically-produced goods

As a business, you can emphasise your values in your marketing. By making your values known, you are standing out from the crowd.

5. Look to industry leaders for inspiration

As a small business, it can be very helpful to look to leaders in other industries to find inspiration.

How are they marketing their business? What marketing strategies do they use? What ways have they found to set themselves apart from their competitors?

Then see how best you can use that same approach or those same strategies in your own business.

Your name may not be Mercedes, Samsung, or Alibaba, but studying their way of doing things may inspire you to try things that your competitors are not yet doing.

6. Offer a better customer experience

One way to win from your competitors is to make it easier for customers to do business with you than with them.

Study the process that customers have to follow when doing business with your competitors.

  • Do your competitors offer various payment options?
  • What guarantees do they offer?
  • What return or refund policy do they have in place?
  • Is there anything that creates a barrier for a customer looking to do business with them?

Can you improve on what your competitors are doing?

Analyse your own processes to see if you can streamline how customers do business with you or if you can remove any barriers that you have found.

Before making any change, don’t forget to check with customers to verify whether what you have found is truly a pain point.

7. Beat your competitor on price

I have added this strategy because there are businesses that use it.

If you are in a particular niche market and you can produce cheaper than the competitors in that market, this may be a good strategy for you.

But, be aware that this is not a good strategy to use when you are selling generic products. See this article I wrote about why competing on price is not a sustainable strategy for small and medium-sized businesses.

At the end of the day, setting yourself aside from your competitor is about emphasising your unique strengths as a business.

Once you have clarity on that, make sure that your USP is memorable, tangible, and customer-focused.

Then use this in your marketing and watch your customers come and find you.

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3 thoughts on “7 strategies that businesses use to determine their USP”

  1. George Tumuhimbise

    Thanks Tonia.You are a great teacher.I wish to continue drinking from your well.
    I lead an NGO in Uganda.Competition for funds has become more political and very stiff.Poverty, deprivation and violence against women and children is on the rise.

    1. Hi George, thanks for your comment, I appreciate it. Yes, many NGOs are struggling to get funding after Covid. We are seeing the same issue in Liberia where I operate my NGO. What might be helpful is to 1) scale back activities and redirect your focus on your core activities and 2) expand your network among international organisations and businesses to align what you are doing with their interests. You will need to be able to explain how your NGO’s activities contribute to their goals as well as show how you have done so in the past (through your results). I wish you all the best!

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