How many times are you asked, what’s your Unique Selling Point? Bankers and Investors will ask you, Marketeers and PR Consultants will ask you – some may even help you search for it! But when you really analyse it – is there such a thing as a Unique Selling Point?
Unique – The only one of its kind; without equal; Unparalleled. Can you really say this is true of your product or service offer? Even if you settled for a watered down definition of Unique such as Uncommon or remarkable, does this apply to your enterprise? I would wager it does not. Your gadget may work faster than its counterpart; your shop may stock items that your local competitors do not, and whilst they may give you a competitive advantage this is not a USP.
I would suggest there is only one, truly, unchallengeable aspect of your Business that is unique and that is YOU. As the American anthropologist Margaret Mead put it “Always remember that you are absolutely unique – Just like everyone else”. I find that individuals consistently do not give sufficient consideration to themselves within their enterprise and the overwhelming influence that they have on whether it is a success or a failure, and the various levels in between.
I have reviewed hundreds of Business Plans during my career ranging from the good, the bad and the downright ugly and the better ones show detailed SWOT analysis of the business, thorough and accurate research of their competition and comprehensive Market research – all of which are appropriate and necessary. But when it comes to the part that will make or break the plan, the individual(s) behind it there is rarely so much detail. Yes, I see CVs detailing past experiences and educational achievements but what about the bits that really matter?
Have you ever completed a SWOT analysis on yourself? What would it tell you? Do your strengths complement what you are trying to achieve and could your weaknesses result in failure or a lesser degree of success? Without true personal drive, self-confidence & self-management and without honestly appreciating and seeking out the help you will need, you are unlikely to be giving the Richard Bransons of this world any sleepless nights.
Of course, when it comes to looking at the business, I look for the Wow factor within it. What is going to make somebody stop what they are doing or purchasing with somebody else and switch their allegiance to what you are offering. This can be a combination of factors, but without the You S P at the heart I would have my doubts.
Bob Shimmon, Business Loans Manager