One of the earliest questions you should be asking yourself as an entrepreneur is: “Why should customers care about my product or service?” In business parlance, your unique value proposition is what sets you apart from your rivals. It’s the secret sauce that makes your product something people should pay attention to, and want to purchase from you.
Before you can consider trying to sell your product or service to anyone else, you need to sell it to yourself. This consists of mapping out why your product matters, and effectively pinpointing what makes you unique. If you can’t achieve this, you can’t hope to market yourself effectively. To help you craft a unique value proposition, we’ve put together the following five tips.
If you’re staring at a blank page wondering where to start, your target audience provides the perfect jumping off point. A lot of rookie entrepreneurs fall into the trap of thinking they’ll be able to sell to everybody. This simply isn’t possible. If you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll ultimately appeal to nobody. Instead, zero in on your ideal customer. Research everything about them, from their gender, age, and income, to their weekend hobbies, musical tastes, and what makes them tick. Use this to craft ideas for how to pitch to this ideal customer in the most effective way.
Gaining a similar knowledge of your competitors will allow you to identify areas of the market they aren’t covering well, and possible weaknesses you can exploit. Take a look at their entire business model, from their mission statement, to their staff, and even their core product. Identify what they are doing well, what they aren’t doing well, and find areas you can improve upon. If your competitor has a brick and mortar store, go there and observe how customers behave. Even consider asking them what they like, or don’t like about your competitor’s business. You can only hope to set yourself apart if you know what’s been done already, and how you can do it better.
What Is Your ‘Why’
It’s not enough to know what your product does, or how it does it, you need to identify why your product is needed. Try to figure out one key aspect of your product that can help others. Think of something your product does that others don’t. Is it a time saver? Is it more affordable? Even consider creating a spreadsheet containing your competitor’s product and your own. Cross off the things they do, that you’re also hoping to do. Find unique aspects of your own product and champion them. Every business thinks they have the best product, but this useful exercise will allow you to zero in on exactly what you do that’s special.
Against The Grain
If your product is one that goes against the grain, or bucks a stereotype inherent to a particular industry, you can use that as a powerful part of your unique selling proposition. Say, for example, you wanted to open a gym that catered exclusively to novice weightlifters and fitness enthusiasts. Placing this fact prominently in your advertising will resonate with people who may find going to the gym intimidating, instantly creating a powerful marketing tool and unique selling proposition.
We’ve spoke about championing the things your product does that others don’t. However, it’s also possible to look at this from the other direction. Does your product not do something your competitors do? Perhaps there’s an unwanted ingredient or feature your product doesn’t have that your competitors do. Maybe your product cuts down on waste, or it simply costs less? In summer, many of us turn to a fan to keep our homes cool. Unfortunately, the noise involved can make their use problematic at night when you’re trying to sleep. Dyson recently entered the market with a range of bladeless fans, achieving the same effect, with none of the noise.