Find Your USP and Standout Amongst your Competition

Business USP

There are 1.2 million small businesses in Canada as of December 2019. Differentiating against your competition is more important than ever.

If you haven’t yet, you must find your unique selling proposition – or your USP. What is a USP? I’m so glad you asked! It’s the one thing that makes your business better than your competitors. It’s the key benefit that your customers get when they shop with you over the competition. To find your USP, think about what your business does well and what your customers want – it should fall into both of those categories.

Here are Five Ways to Find Your USP and Standout Amongst your Competition


1. Have a Narrow Niche

If you’re looking to serve everyone, you’ll end up serving no one. As Blue Kite points out, this is especially accurate with service-based businesses. By trying to serve a wide range of customers, you actually make yourself harder to find by the customers who actually need your product or service. Plus, you’ll end up spending more trying to do so.

For example, if you were an artist, you wouldn’t market yourself by saying you can create any type of art. By proclaiming yourself to be an oil painter, people will more easily find you in a Google search, and they’re more likely to trust your skillset.

2. Solve Your Customer’s Problems

You created your business because you have a killer product or service to sell. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to complete with all the others who are selling something similar. Instead, you have to show your customer how buying your unique product or service will solve the problems and pain points they’re facing. This might look like the marketing and messaging around your product – or it’s in the way you deliver it.

Consider this example: Lululemon sells athleticwear. Sure, people need clothing to workout in – but what makes Lululemon different? Early on, they recognized the need to incorporate technology into athletic clothing. Prior to this, athletic wear didn’t have the same performance-driven materials and functionality that it has now. Lululemon saw a need within the industry: people were tired of paying for workout gear that shows sweat, fights movement and doesn’t hold up over time. While they technically sell activewear, they’re also addressing the larger issue of user-friendliness. By doing so, they’ve earned a cult following that will pay top dollar for “Holy Grail” leggings.

3. Offer Stellar Customer Service

Every company says customer service matters to them – but do they prove it with actions? A customer’s interaction with an employee can make or break their opinion of your business and determine if they’ll become a repeat customer. If you go above and beyond for your customers, not only will they shop with you again, but they’ll be more likely to tell their friends about your business as well.

Let’s look at Nordstrom – a retail company known for excellent customer service. There are a few standout stories, like the woman in North Carolina who lost the diamond from her wedding ring while shopping at her local Nordstrom. Security employees saw her crawling on the ground, looking for it and joined in the search. Ultimately, a building services employee cut open the bags on the store’s vacuums and found the diamond inside one of them.

Stories like these make Nordstrom synonymous with great service. But it’s in the details where they make excellent service happen every day, no matter how minor the transaction is. Nordstrom employees walk you to your destination when you ask for directions, rather than pointing across the store and expecting you to find it yourself. They bag your items carefully and bring the bag around the counter, directly to you. They offer in-store tailoring and free stylist appointments.

What can you do to go above and beyond for your customers? Can you create a more personalized shopping experience for them? Save them time? Empower them? These are the things that don’t go unnoticed.

4. Surprise and Delight

Have you ever ordered from a small business and gotten something extra with your purchase? Whatever you can offer as an unexpected add-on will “surprise and delight” your customers and make your business more memorable. Some businesses add in free stickers, while others add samples of their other products, like sample size cosmetics.

Tim Horton’s is an excellent example of this. Although they’re a large corporation, they consistently aim to pay it forward to their customers – something you don’t often see when companies reach their size. They’ve offered the Roll Up The Rim To Win program (now Roll Up To Win) for years, where customers can win a freebie of some kind just for getting their usual coffee. This surprise and delight marketing program is now iconic. Additionally, they participate in various free coffee and free donut days. By making these small gestures to give back to their customers, they create an emotional connection with the customer, and the customer is more likely to make more purchases with them in the future.

5. Focus on Your Craft

One of the hardest parts of having a small business is feeling like you need to have a hand in every aspect of it. It makes sense to feel that way, but it doesn’t always provide the best results. It can lead to overworking, burnout, and less than perfect work. But to stand out against the competition, your product or service needs to be perfect. You need to hone in on your craft and be the best at it.

So don’t be afraid to ask for help! Hiring a professional to help take smaller tasks off your hands can be a game-changer. Whether that’s administrative tasks, marketing, or social media and content creation – hiring a virtual assistant allows you to put your focus on the most important parts of your business (not to mention saves you a ton of stress!)

Standing out amongst your competition doesn’t have to be complicated. A few small steps can make a world of difference. Narrow your business down to a specific niche and focus on being the best in your category. Find ways to go above and beyond for your customers. Your customers will take note and be more inclined than ever to tell their friends about your business and shop with you again.


Lara Mctavish

Virtual Assistant & Content Creator

Hi, I’m Lara. I’m a Virtual Assistant, Content Creator and Founder of Virsolara Solutions. I help my clients implement systems, build workflows, organize data and create content that boosts sales and gives them peace-of-mind.

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