Last Updated: January 22, 2014
The golden question that you, as a business, need to answer to your potential customers is this:
”Why should I choose to do business with your company, over all the other choices I have, including the choice of doing nothing at all?”
Put into a food and beverage perspective, this is the question that any guest will ask before stepping in:
“Why should I eat at your place versus any and every other restaurant today?”
The classic and most discussed success USP in the American food market belongs to Domino’s Pizza. Their USP is:
“Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less “
This is a simple and straightforward USP, immediately communicating the value that Domino’s Pizza provides. During the 90s, fast pizza delivery became commonplace but back before in the beginning Domino’s was the first to successfully use this slogan and the only pizza joint to have this unique delivery promise.
Some clients tell me that their business simply has no USP. In most cases that is not true as there is always something special about each business. However, I have met commodity products that really do not naturally possess a USP. In these cases, we will need to manufacture a USP. Create a USP for your business immediately, in terms of better service, better product or a better deal than competitors. You need to create this value add for your clients that no one else does.
Here is the simplest, shortcut way to figure out what is your company’s USP if you’re having problems:
Bring your biggest clients out to dinner. Prod and ask them what is it that makes them come back to do business with you, rather than your competitors. The answers will guide you to creating your USP. You will want to record the interview.
Questions you typically want to ask include:
“Why do you buy our product?”
“Why do you not buy our competitor’s product?”
“What do you like about our brands? What don’t you like about it, and why do you still put up with it?”
“What problem does our product help you solve? (for F&B, perhaps a place to go for special occasions, or a fall back when the family can’t decide where to eat)”
Compile the answers and you will definitely find something similar among the answers of your clients. Then you can start to piece together a USP that will attract the same type of customers.
Be smart about deciding what your USP is. Many times, the first thing small retail outlets try to compete on against the bigger players is price. However, if you want to go cheap, you have to sell mass amounts of volume and have a cheap enough production method to be profitable.Most small companies are unable to do this because of inferior distribution channels and lack of economies of scale to the larger competitors.
Companies end up not profiting or even making a loss trying to compete on price. Big companies can simply lower their prices even MORE, wait for your company to run enough deep losses into bankruptcy, and then dominate the market completely. You simply do not have enough resources to compete in this field of attrition.
If you are a small firm, going niche is the way. Narrow the battle to something your company is absolutely marvelous at and can win. Narrow it down, not broaden. For retail, it’s usually better service, superior product quality or more close-knit relationships with their customers. Large MNCs like McDonalds couldn’t possibly know their repeat customers by name, but your small diner restaurant could.