What Does a Unique Selling Proposition Mean, and Why is it Important?

In your travels as a business owner, you may have seen this term before—unique selling proposition, or USP—and wondered what it meant. More importantly, you might have wondered if it held any importance for you as a business owner, and if it was yet something else you needed to learn about, and somehow incorporate into your business. Here are a few reasons why you need to understand what USP is, and why it is important to your business that you are familiar with it.

Your unique selling proposition, or USP, is the feature, or service—the “thing”—that makes you unique, and sets you apart from others in your industry. If you have not determined what your USP is, then you need to stop everything you’re doing, and take some time, and determine just what it is about you, and what you offer, that distinguishes you from, and maybe even puts you head and shoulders above, your peers and competitors.

If you are struggling with this step—determining your USP—there are some things you can consider, that might help you. Start by quantifying the benefit of your products or services as specifically as you can; customers who are looking for what you have to offer will be drawn to those who can articulate how what they have is as good as, or better than, the competition.  This is not the place to create your mission statement; rather, for your USP, you want to be as specific and as detailed as you can, in regards to such assets as quality, guarantee, selection, service. Of particular significance, be able to describe your USP in a few brief sentences.

Understanding your USP will automatically begin to dictate how you present yourself to your customers and prospective customers, and will help you to create your brand. In general, your USP will fall into one of four categories: Either you will be the price leader in your industry, or you will differentiate yourself by doing something better or different than others, or you will focus on a certain niche, or you will create increased value (also known as Extra Value Proposition). You want to, as clearly as possible, let your potential customers know why they need to invest their money with you, and you want to continue to make it clear to those who have already invested with you, why they should continue to invest with you.