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Unique Foundation

I subscribe to a very expensive data service. This is the type of service the national chains use to determine where they are going to build. I use it for small business. I also use it completely backwards.

Take a store like Starbucks. They know their USP: Their Unique Selling proposition. They understand that they offer a tightly managed daily experience to people who are; generally orderly and seeking consistency, actively employed and in a hurry, have a need to express their membership in a group. Many brewed coffee retailers could also claim this, but Starbucks only wants these people.

Starbucks uses products like ESRI to find locations between where these people live and where they work. They know their unique offering to the market.

Every try to lounge in most Starbucks? It’s not really as comfortable as most local coffee places. It’s also not hugely friendly for kids either. This means they are not very concerned about people serving as parents or with lots of free time as their core customer.

What is your core market? You may have never thought of this before. Looking for more customers? Pick a market. Do something completely unique for a population near you. Change the experience, or the products that do a good job of connecting with your neighborhood, or the people who drive past your business. With a little promotion, you will start growing, if you are truly unique.

This is where market research comes into play when I work with a small business owner. Chances are if you have an existing business you already have your location. Using the research I can tell you what types of people leave nearby, how much they have to spend and even things like how much they will spend on Budweiser or Disneyland.

By knowing this, you can begin to understand how you could become more appealing to a group of people. This is what the USP is all about. Do you have a USP?

The popularity of the term “unique selling proposition” has caused it to lose a large part of its definition. Today’s modern meaning, it seems, is more akin to “selling proposition.” We have seemingly lost sight of the most vital word.

Unique. Unique. Unique. What are you willing or capable of doing that others in your category won’t or can’t?

To most business owners, this is a question they love to answer until they fully understand what we mean. Things such as dedication to good service or quality are certainly admirable, but they are not unique among competent businesses.

Selection, variety, speed of service, or price, in lieu of anything else, can be a USP, but each of these qualities or claims must be substantiated with particulars. If you deem one of these to be your USP, you need to be ready with detailed examples as proof. Nothing is as ineffective as unsubstantiated claims.

No company is as forgettable as the one similar to all the others. To communicate a different and better way of doing business is your fundamental goal.

What makes you Unique?