• Marketing and sales

Having a unique selling proposition is overrated

Futurpreneur | October 16, 2012


Dominik Loncar, CYBF Entrepreneur-in-Residence, dloncar@cybf.ca

Many start-up businesses think that by being so different than the competition they will be successful.

There is nothing wrong with having a unique value proposition provided there is a market for it and people are willing to pay for it. And please don’t say you have no competitors – it only tells me you haven’t done enough market research.

I prefer the words ‘compelling value’ over unique selling proposition (USP). People buy for various reasons and they’re not always because the business is unique (just ask yourself why you go to a convenience store).

Here are other possible ‘compelling values’ to consider for your business:

  • Do something ten percent better than your competition (deliver it quicker, offer better quality etc.);
  • Focus on an underserved target group/area with an existing product or service. For example, you could offer eco-adventure tours, that traditionally young people buy, and target baby boomers;
  • Offer a similar product/service that is more convenient or quicker to buy. Just think of some of the online businesses.

At all costs (pun intended), avoid selling on price (there are some exceptions) – it’s the worst compelling value to start off with!  I’ll write about that in my next blog.

So, by all means offer something unique, but don’t underestimate the power of a simple compelling value you can deliver well.