In the first part of this article, we looked at the initial considerations when it comes to hiring [...]Read more »
Often, whether you know it or not, the primary reason you set up a business is because you could do something that bit better than what’s out there. You can offer that extra bit that will set you apart from your competition. Now, you probably never called it that but it’s something that every SME must define at some point. A recent meeting spelled it out to me that many SMEs have a bit of trouble with this crucial exercise.
Just a few months back, I spent an hour with a building contractor. They wanted help getting business from their website. We all have a meeting structure and I’m no different. I always ask the same two opening questions when I meet a new client….
- Who is your target market?
- What is your USP, what sets you apart from all your competitors?
I found this client particularly interesting- his answers were:
- Who is your target market? – he provides the service nationally but would like to do more work locally. He can get work in the wilds of Cork or Donegal but not on his own door step.
- What is your USP, what sets you apart from all your competitors? Here, he paused for a moment. ‘Ahem, don’t know’, he answered quickly. I knew for a fact he did know but maybe he did not see why I needed to know.
Now I had this information I took a look at his site. It looked nice and was quite user friendly but he was reinvesting in a new site with some great interactive elements that ensured the user understood the key elements of what he provided – but still no sign of a USP.
So I dug and I dug deep. After a little while, he told me all I needed to know….. yes he did build houses,…..yes they were energy efficient houses just like all his competitors but……. he also used particular timber frames and materials that immediately gave a home owner a higher rating in a BER cert before they even called a BER assessor out. Bingo.
What’s the moral of this story? You know your USP already. You just need to get it out there and emphasise it in all communications. You need to shout it from the roof tops so potential clients know what it is.
Now, if you don’t know what yours it, I’ll leave you with a small exercise. Jot down some notes on these two issues.
- Talk about the benefits not just the features of what you do/sell.
- Sell products or services? What is different about your product or service? – Why would I buy from you over your competitors? And it does mean that you are cheaper, what additional value do you bring?
When you’re finished, define your USP and start to spread the word. Remember why you got into business in the first place – because you could do something that bit better than the rest.