Dear Enterprise Iain,
Can you explain what a unique selling point is? I am driven to despair by this question which my business advisor keeps asking. “You need a USP” she says. “How do I find a USP?” I say. Actually I had to ask her what she meant by USP in the first place. I am now convinced that my business will fail unless I find this elusive unique selling point. Do I really need it?
I share your pain. One of the key features of many business advisors is that they feel the need to bring up management-speak and use phrases like – you know what I am going to say – USP or unique selling point. Very often this is said in a slightly patronising tone. Well, there is good news! My YouTube post (from a few years ago when I had eaten a little less of the delicious chocolate cake - see below) fully explains the miraculous way in which you discover your business USP.
You discover it by accident! Yep, that is right, by accident! When you start talking to people about your product or service you will notice that they will either glaze over and fall asleep or suddenly look interested. The point when they suddenly look interested is the point when you discover your business’s USP.
In my case it was flogging my delicious handmade chocolate cake. As I took round various shops I gave it to the buyer or owner to taste (I think that is called market research) and I watched their reaction and listened to what they said. I was particularly interested in how they compared my product with others. Fortunately, there was a lot they liked. They liked that is was handmade when most other cakes were factory produced so that gave me a unique selling point. They also liked the fact that I used a really high quality chocolate as opposed to the cheap and nasty fake chocolate that was all the rage in the 80s so that gave me another unique selling point.
Any way the point of all these points about USP is that if you sit down at a desk and try to find it you will fail. The only way is to get out there and talk and listen to people.
The World’s first Enterprise Agony Uncle
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