USP – not just another acronym – how to make your business stand up and be noticed

As you start the New Year have you thought about what your Unique Selling Point (USP) is? Remember USP isn’t just another acronym, it’s how to make your business stand up and be noticed.

You need to find a way to be unique and for others, particularly customers, to recognise that at once. Your product or service won’t be truly unique but your customer offering must have a unique approach that instantly makes your business stand up and be noticed. This will give you an edge over your competition.

Take for example a pizza company. Many years ago in the US, a family-run pizza joint in Michigan was looking to find a way to make it stand out from the crowd in the 1960s as one of the family members took over the business. This new owner, Tom Monaghan, was living rough in the store. So he desperately wanted to boost revenue and if things went well, create a franchise. So he came up with a USP – pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free. Bingo! He had found a unique way to make the business – which most of us would now recognise as Domino’s Pizza – stand up and be noticed.

Other companies who have done similar USPs include FedEx (“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”) or Woolworths (“The Fresh Food People”). The message from each is that if you really want your business to be successful, you have to have a clear USP.  The alternative is to compete primarily on price and that really only leads to one outcome…..and it’s not a pretty one!

Here are a number of questions you might consider to develop a strong USP. They are:

  • What are the most important customer problems, challenges and needs that you solve?
  • What would you say are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is the reason repeat clients and customers like your business?
  • Name the distinguishing feature that puts you ahead of your competition?

If you can answers these with clarity, you are on your way to developing your own USP.

A USP can be a few words or it can be whole paragraph.Defining then encapsulating what makes you different, unique, and desirable is more important than the word count.

Remember, a successful USP answers this question: why should a potential client or customer buy from you? When answering this question, promise something special your competitors cannot deliver. You will need to crystallise and communicate your Unique Selling Proposition and it might be grouped under: price, service, speed, selection, quality or guarantee to name a few.

If you examine all these points, you will be well on your way to understanding that a USP isn’t just an acronym – it’sthe way to make your business stand up and be noticed.  If yours is clear, compelling, specific and speaks to how it makes your customers lives or business better, you’ll also be well on your way to winning!

Including all of the right elements into your business plan this year, can make this your best year yet. Check out these free business planning resources for more help.


We are one but we are many – understanding and embracing the different qualities your employees can bring to your business success.

There are times in business when we spend as much time with our work teams as we do with our families. And even more than with families, our work teams include a range of individuals.  The saying“we are one but we are many” might resonate with you. You are likely to recall that saying when understanding and embracing the different qualities your employees can bring to the success of your business.

This is about building successful teams. Creating a cohesive team can give you the edge over your competitors. It is what can structure and boost the growth of your business.

Consider these key questions for 2017: what do you want your company culture to be,what will your team be like, how would you like your customers to feel and how can you create a successful business with your team?

There are a number of factors you need to consider when understanding and embracing the different qualities your employees can bring success to your business and building successful teams.

The first is strong leadership. Your team will look to you for certain qualities such as guidance, growth and decision-making. Equally important is being a leader who has enthusiasm and energy – this embodies the business and people want to follow someone who loves what they do.

Having a common goal is also fundamental to building successful teams. Being clear on your goals and creating a plan on how to accomplish them may well be the single most valuable activity you accomplish in 2017.

Your employees need boundaries and to know the rules of the game. Creating the rules of the game around culture, around processes and around responsibilities will dramatically increase the consistency and reliability of your team’s operation.  Ensuring an appropriate meeting and communication schedule is upheld will then lock in the pulse of the business.

Another key element is having an action plan. Your employees need an appropriate title, a written contract that outlines their job description and explains how they will be supported in their role.

A successful team, in particular one that progresses and achieves great success, will usually give strong support to risk-taking. Breaking with convention and being open to some degree of healthy risk taking is vital for your team to flourish.

Finally, remember to encourage being inclusive while building successful teams. It is important to involve all of your team in decisions, plans and projects or building the company culture. As we said at the start: We are but one but we are many – understanding and embracing the different qualities your employees can bring success to your business.

Do you want to have your best year in business in 2017? Find out more about building winning teams here with this free eBook.