Business

Your 5-step process to craft a strong, personal USP

A USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is a short pitch that focuses on differentiating yourself or your product/service/business from that of your competition.

And given that competition in all industries is getting more intense (and not just at a local level), with most customers also wanting to make faster decisions before understanding what makes something or someone different from the other, it’s crucial that all entrepreneurs, business owners and job seekers understand how to craft a USP that stands out from the crowd.

Your USP is a highly valuable short one or two sentences and can be used in various places, where appropriate – in your website and marketing materials or in conversation.  It will also help you deliver a more focused and coherent marketing strategy and messaging platform for yourself and your business.

I provide you with the 5 key stages that you should go through that will build your USP. But note that coming up with a killer USP will not take just a few minutes. It may take a while for you to get your head around it and you’ll almost certainly change it several times from your first attempt.

Indeed, the chances of getting it right straight away are slim to none.

But if you focus and take your time over it, it will pay you dividends.

STEP 1: Brainstorming

Look into your background – jobs, careers, hobbies, activities, volunteer work, unique life experiences, whatever you just love to do. Write them all down.

Delve into your past. Do not leave anything out.

You now have a long list of everything that YOU have unique insight and experience in that others don’t.

Do not discount anything at this stage.

STEP 2: Develop brainstorming

Go through each of the things on your list and write down the experience, skills or traits that you’ve gained from each one.

Yes – every one. Don’t leave any out. Even the ones that you think are the most benign or unexciting.

It could be anything from the time you trekked through the Amazon rainforest or the time you won your college skateboard championship or your experience from working behind the bar in your local pub.

How did they help you develop into the person you are today?

How have they changed you?

Have others benefited from the traits or skills that you have gained?

STEP 3: Which of these traits makes you valuable?

Go though each of the skills or traits you’ve written down and highlight which ones would be the most valuable to the person or company you’re attempting to attract.

Now, build on that by underlining the highlighted ones that also make you the most unique.

STEP 4: Draft your USP

Start drafting your possible USP, using the most distinct skills and traits that were revealed in the prior stage.

Think about the benefits and value you bring to the person or business you’re projecting to.

Your USP should not be too long.

Pick ONLY one to two things that make you MOST uniquely valuable. The first version you write won’t be your final one and you’re almost certainly going to want to write different versions. So, play around with it and take your time.

The following is a VERY rough template to get you started. Once you fill in the blanks, you’ll still need to change and adjust to make it personable.

“My/Our experience in [your background/life experience] gave/taught me/us [skill/trait], which makes me/us uniquely able to [how does that skill or trait make you stronger/better/more valuable for clients/bosses]”

Your USP should be just one or two sentences MAX.

STEP 5: Refine your USP

If you’ve written down a few versions of your USP, pick the one that makes you most unique – the one that makes you stand out above your competition.

But this is not the final version.

It is a good idea at this point to refine it.

Rewrite it in different ways. Then step away. Go and do something else or even leave it overnight and when you come back to it, edit it again.

The idea is to make it as compelling, insightful, impactful and clear as possible.

But remember – your USP is not just about you – it is about how your experience can benefit your target audience.

A USP isn’t just a couple of lines of persuasive text on your website. It can define the entire brand voice and messaging of your business. It can determine the positioning of your products or services. It can show how you’ve got the edge over your competitors.

There are various ways you can sell your products, but your USP is the overarching idea that positions you and your brand to enable you to make those sales.

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