Unique Selling Proposition: What Makes You Different?

by Bhavesh

What makes you different? This article addresses the core component of a Unique Selling Proposition: Why should a client choose your business over your competition?

Is Your Business a Safer Investment than a Slot Machine?

The data may surprise you!

If you had $100 to invest, where would you put it, in a new business or in a slot machine?

According to Doug Hall, the CEO of Eureka! Ranch, the slot machine is a safer investment! Here are the odds of success for a new business or a new idea from a big business: big company (2 year survival): 25%, small company (5 year survival): 25%, venture capital selected idea: 10%. Compare this to the fact that, by law, a slot machine is guaranteed to pay back 32% of the time!1

It’s funny, today the advice and expertise available to us is unprecedented in the known history. Yet, the rate of failure of businesses is the worst ever. In 1961, less than 50% of the new businesses failed. In 1972 the percentage was a little over 60%. In 2000, 98% of new businesses failed!1

What’s going on? Where are we going wrong in managing our businesses?

1 Source: Jumpstart Your Business Brain!, Doug Hall, Clerisy Press

Unique Selling Proposition: What Makes You Different?
Unique Selling Proposition: What Makes You Different?

Why We Create "Me Too" Unique Selling Propositions

And what to do about it

The answer is simple: We have lost confidence in ourselves.

Let’s face it, the more we trust the experts to run our businesses, the less we trust our own gut and instinct. And there in lies the problem.

May be that’s the reason why most of us try so hard to be just like our competitors.

It’s absolutely crazy when you think about it. We start a business all excited with a great idea. It’s unique, it’s different and it gets our juices flowing.

We do some marketing. Then we realize that people are not responding to our marketing. Not as much as we like any way. So we add a new service or product to our business that our competitor is selling. Then we repeat this process, over and over again.

Pretty soon, people can’t tell us apart from our competitors. We look exactly like them! Worse, a part of us starts to die. We start killing our passion just to survive in business. Pretty soon, we don’t like our business. Still, we feel that we don’t have a choice. We have to keep going just because there is no other way to stay in business.

Is there a way to return from this path?

Well, there is. And the answer is simpler than you think. But it’s going to require some courage.

The answer is simply to go back to the design table and figure out what makes you different from your competition.

Think about this question: What is one thing that your business does that no one can do in the world, no matter how hard they tried?

Tough question. But the answer may be simpler than you think. The answer may be simply to get back to the time when you started the business.

So take out a pen, some paper and answer the following questions:

  1. Why did you get into the business you are in?
  2. What (and whose) problems did you set out to address with your business?
  3. What are you most passionate about regarding what you offer?
  4. What part of your product or service gets your juices flowing? Why?
  5. What do you offer the world or the marketplace that nobody else can or does provide?

Answer these questions and you will notice that your energies start flowing a little quicker. A part of you starts feeling alive. If you feel like you want to keep going, don’t stop.

If you need more questions to stimulate your thinking, send me an e-mail by following my contact info and I will send you a worksheet we use in our workshops.

Further Study and Reference

On Creating a Meaningful Difference
Jump Start Your Business Brain: The Scientific Way To Make More Money

Doug Hall shares data-proven methods that can make sales, marketing, and business development measurably more effective.

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

'One of the most important communication books I've ever read. I highly recommend it!' - Spencer Johnson, author of "Who Moved My Cheese?" and co-author of "The One Minute Manag...

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant

Written by the business world's new gurus, Blue Ocean Strategy continues to challenge everything you thought you knew about competing in today's crowded market place. Based on a...


Discover Your Difference

At Awayre Business Coaching (ABC)
Being different requires courage. As business leaders begin to delineate a meaningful difference for their businesses, emotional blocks come up that prevent uninhibited exploration. It's easier to be with the crowd; it's a bit more difficult to take a chance and stand out. At Awayre Business Club, we guide our clients through such roadblocks so that they can carve out a truly meaningful difference for their businesses.

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In this article, we address the single and unequivocal component that ties all the pieces of your business together into a Unique Selling Proposition: You!
In this article we address the most important piece of creating a Unique Selling Proposition: What your clients get when they do business with you. ((What's in it for me? (WIIFM))
Updated: 03/04/2013, Bhavesh
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katiem2 on 05/18/2012

Sales is a very important art to master, I feel we can all benefit from understanding the value in selling yourself and your business. It ranks up there with public speaking skills. Thanks for keeping us informed and educated.

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