Finding a USP (unique selling proposition) for your small business is not always easy. So how about some USP examples to help you with your inspiration?
If you think “Unique? I’m not unique, I do exactly what the others do” or “The only way I can stand out from my competitors is by being cheaper” then I have good news for you!
Every business, no matter the size, can have a USP and you don’t even need to revolutionise the world with your groundbreaking inventions. It is actually a lot simpler than that, like the USP examples below show!
Why it is so hard…
The steps to define your USP sound pretty simple: Have a close look at your competitors and compare them to your own small business. And whatever you are doing differently, that’s your USP. Right?
Well, it turns out to be not quite as easy-peasy as that. That’s why you end up looking for USP examples in the first place. Often, you have lots of competitors and it seems like there isn’t much of a niche left for you. Or you feel like complying with your target audience’s wants and needs forces you to follow the crowd.
But most of all, you feel like there’s nothing about you that hasn’t been done before. Or if there is, then it is, unfortunately, nothing that your potential customers care about.
… And why it shouldn’t be
While these are all valid issues and challenges, they are also majorly getting in your way. The buzz that is being made about the magical USP that turns your small business into the company of your dreams seems to have turned this basic task into something impossibly difficult. And believe me, it’s not.
For example, there is no need to take ‘unique’ too literally. Simply being perceived as the brand that focuses on a specific thing can work wonders, even if your competitors are doing it as well (but maybe don’t shout about it).
Don’t forget that you are the one who defines your target group and ideal client. Focus on what they need (instead of what they want) and you might find a USP that answers a question that people didn’t even know to ask. I actually have a whole post on the idea of reaching customers earlier in their journey here.
Additionally, it’s not just about carving out a specific audience for you. You can find your USP in many other areas of your small business. Let’s have a look at these 8 great USP examples to help you define your USP:
Great USP examples
Sometimes your USP can simply be about who you are. And you don’t need to be a freelancer for that or compete with Richard Branson. It doesn’t matter if you are a motivational speaker, a therapist, a designer, an artist or something completely different.
If you feel like the right people respond to you as a person and end up doing business with you for that reason, you might want to look at this USP for your small business.
Tools: e.g. language, tone of voice, visual style, storytelling, approach, habits, preferences
It might sound trivial, but it can be beneficial to carve out a USP that is inspired by your approach and how you do things.
You should consider this if your products are produced locally or only with organic materials if you skip the chemical bomb that your competitors are using and use a slower, more expensive but environmentally friendly version of it. Or, if you simply deliver a service that is above board in your marketplace.
Tools: e.g. customer service, added value, manufacturing, environment, local economy, handmade products, traditional processes
Interesting links: Five Ways to Deliver Excellent Customer Service
Albeit sometimes short-lived, this kind of USP can attract large numbers of customers if it hits a nerve.
This is about what your clients or customers get from you: Do you offer a free delivery? Or do your services always come with a ‘money-back guarantee’? Take what is most inconvenient or off-putting to your clients and customers and alleviate their pain with a special offer or added value.
Tools: e.g. discounts, guarantees, freebies, customer loyalty schemes, package deals
Examples: Amazon, Pizza Hut, eBay, Slobproof
4. Target group
Look at your ideal client or customer and use this insight to define the USP of your small business.
Ideally, every business should have a specific audience and target a niche. But having that does not automatically mean it’s your USP. So consider turning yours into your unique feature. No matter if you target women, fitness nuts, families or cat lovers – specialise!
Tools: e.g. age, gender, hobbies, diet, interests
Yes, it can be as simple as that: If you’re the only one to offer this specific service or product in your neck of the woods, then that can be a very good USP.
Playing the local card helps to gain trust, it can show people that you care about the local economy or know the area and what people need. No matter if you’re the local property specialist or a taxi company that knows every street and shortcut like the back of your hand, this USP can help you beat the national or even international competition.
Tools: e.g. local knowledge, personal service, fast service, one point of contact, expertise
Interesting links: Spotted by Locals
Now, this is the obvious one among all the USPs: Your product or service may be so specific that it basically is a USP in itself. But even here it doesn’t need to be unique, you could just be the only one shouting about it or finding a way to improve an existing product or service.
Yes, you read that right: A product that is a viable USP could simply be a practical household tool that makes things easier or it could be a service that turns a habit or something that people already do into a business. I, for one, could hug the people who came up with electrostatic dusters or Borrow My Doggy!
Tools: e.g. making life easier, solving problems, meeting demands, increase scale, facilitate
Have a look at your values and causes that are close to your heart, they might be able to give your business a boost as well.
Sustainability, charity, equality, fair trade — there are so many things your small business can support, why not choose one of them and make it your business’s goal? You will attract people who share your interests and offer them a way to help as well.
Tools: e.g. charity, local community, environment, children, elderly, sustainability, fair trade
Interesting links: 10 Ways you can Support a Charity via your Business
Consider building trust in your small business by having the right qualifications, certificates or awards. And even better: Turn them into your USP.
A person who calls themselves a plumber doesn’t necessarily have the expertise to do a good job. If you are struggling with layman competitors or badly trained contractors, it might be worth considering bragging about your own qualifications and achievements.
Tools: e.g. expertise, awards, training, certificates, qualifications, memberships
Interesting links: Award Marketing
Now over to you: Do you have any USP examples that you really like? Think about brands you use or personalities you see frequently – what is their niche? Start collecting more USP examples and you’ll find yours in no time!
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
Define Your USP in 5 Steps [infographic]
What’s a USP, Why Do I Need One & How Do I Get One?
Do You Know Enough About Your Target Groups?
Small Business Brand: What Is It, Why Do I Need One & How Do I Get One?