How to Define a Solid USP

Let’s face it, your startup is probably entering a crowded market. To have any chance of success, you’re going to need a solid USP. The problem is, settling on a unique aspect of your business isn’t actually as easy as it sounds. What can your startup offer that no one else can? If you’re getting a little hot under the collar about how to define a solid USP, don’t fret. Innovate UK is on hand to offer some help.

Step #1: Pick a Target

“Know your audience – know what they care about, know what matters to them and what makes a difference to their lives – only that way will you understand which are the problems that are worth solving, where you can make a difference and where you can truly do something new and innovative” – Mark Johnson, Head of Digital Marketing, KTN.

Every business has a target audience, this isn’t what we’re talking about. Saying “women aged 18-30” just isn’t enough. You need to delve deeper to find a USP. Look at the beliefs and interests of your demographic. What are their buying habits? How would they purchase your product/service? Can they get it elsewhere? Why would they pick your brand? If you can find an answer to these questions, you’ve got a firm grasp of your USP. Don’t forget this information when you’ve settled on a unique selling point, it’ll be seriously helpful for marketing your product.

Step #2: Solve a Problem

“For many technology based companies, it is critical to avoid focusing on the development of the technical solution before first getting a real in-depth understanding of the problem to be solved. Talk to customers. Reduce their problem statements to simple jargon free language. Test the problem from the different stakeholder perspectives and quantify the potential impact.” – Darren Ragheb, Head of Business Development, Centre for Process Innovation.

We see it so often in business, startups focus too much on the resolution without first understanding the problem. You need to undergo full and exhaustive research on the problem itself. Only when you’ve grasped why it exists can you start on your journey to a resolution. Trust us, if you aren’t solving a real problem, you’re going to waste lots of time and money.

Step #3: Demonstrate Unique Benefits

It’s worth putting a lot of time and money into showing people why they should buy your product. If you’re unsure about this, let recommendations speak for themselves. Run a free trial or offer some samples in return for feedback. When you get that feedback, use it to maximum effect. Never underestimate how powerful recommendations can be. If you still can’t find a USP to communicate, look back to why you started the business. You saw an opportunity, explain that. Often a business’ story can become what makes them so unique.

Step #4: Get Paying Customers

“Validation ASAP is essential to see if your business has got traction. Get out there with your product or service and make sure people actually want to buy it” – Stefano Marrone, Managing Director, Nuccobrain.

If you’re able to get early adopters of your product, you prove there’s a need. Once you’ve demonstrated a desire in your sector for what you’re offering, you can begin to understand why. Never underestimate the need for marketing your product. If you’re seeking investment, a loyal following will make your proposition far more attractive.

If you’re interested in more startup tips like this, subscribe to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel here. Additionally, you can follow @InnovateUK of Twitter.

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