Your unique selling proposition, your USP, is what makes your business stand out from your competitors. You need to decide what is unique, different or special about your business which will encourage customers to buy from you. Here we give you practical tips to develop your USP.

What is a USP?

Customers now have a greater choice in the range of products and services available to them, so you need to be able to show why and how your business is different from others. Think about what is, or can be, different from your competitors. What is unique or special about your product or service?

And it’s not just your product or service that can be unique or special. For example ask yourself:

  • What do you offer that your competitors don’t?
  • What can you guarantee that your competitors are not able to?
  • What are the unique benefits of your product/service?

A strong USP will make your business stand out from your competitors and will help you to target the right customers.

Your USP could be for example:

  • a smaller version of the product
  • additional functions and/or features
  • a standard product in a range of colours or design
  • or a specific after sales service
  • a pricing structure.

Think about the following well known brands:

  • What do you consider to be the USP of a Dyson vacuum cleaner? 
  • What sets McDonalds apart from other fast food outlets?
  • What makes Apple different from its competitors?

Knowing your target audience

The first step in developing your USP is find out about your target market.

When you are developing your USP you need to do if from your customer’s perspective.

  • Why will customers use your particular product or service? What benefits will it bring them?
  • Think about how your business compares with that of your competitors. What are your strengths and weaknesses, who are your competitors? Undertake a competitor analysis
  • What and where are the gaps in the market you are intending to trade in? How can you offer something different?
  • Think about your marketing and advertising - how can you communicate your USP briefly and effectively so that customers can see straight away that you are offering something unique or different?
  • What is special, unique or different about you, your business the products or services that you offer that will make your customers want to come back?


Checklist: Developing your USP

This step-by-step process will help your create your USP. 

How do I keep my USP current?

Although you don’t want to be keep changing your USP, you do need to keep it current. So regularly check out any changes and trends to ensure your USP still stands out amongst your competitors.

Next Steps

Understanding your customers

Understanding your customers is key to attracting them and building profitable relationships. Here are the essential things you need to know about understanding your customers.

Read more

Researching your competitors

Every start-up business will face some form of competition. Understanding who your competitors are and what they do will help you stay ahead.

Read more

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