What is Your Unique Selling Proposition and Why You Need a USP

Unique Selling Proposition Identifying your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is one of the most challenging features of being an Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner. Why is this? What is a Unique Selling Proposition, and why is it important?

Mashable reports that there were over 500,000 startups in 2012 and based on various headlines, that number is set to to rise significantly before the end of 2014. With those huge numbers in mind, and adding them to the 23 million small businesses in America alone, it becomes critical for business owners to clearly identify what makes them unique.

What is a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a statement that explains how your business is different from everyone else in the same market. What makes you stand out? It tells your customers how and why you are in a better position to meet their needs instead of your ‘competition.’

Can you see why it is “one of the most challenging features..?”  As a business owner you know what you do; you do it well, but it takes time and diligence to determine what makes YOU different from everyone else. What gaps do they fail to cover that you cover? What need do you fill better than anyone else?

Why You Need a USP

Whether you refer to others who provide similar products or service as competition or ‘coopetition’, they will always be there. In fact, if you were the only one providing a particular product or service, that would be a red flag that you may not bee in profitable market.

You need a good USP that will stay in the minds of those in your market so that they will think of you when they need your service or products. This must be clearly and concisely articulated so that it will contain the biggest benefit that your clients and customers will receive from doing business with you, as well as an emotional reason to do business with you.

Why include an emotional component? Because until your customers are emotionally connected with you, you do not have loyal customers and your goal should always be to build the relationship with your clients and customers so that they remain loyal to you.

What are the Elements of a Good USP?

  1. A good USP is memorable so that it sticks in people’s mind. This way they think of you first when they need your products or service.

  2. It addresses specific needs, solves their problem, and makes the lives of your target market easier.

  3. It connects with your customers and potential customers emotionally as it addresses their fears, frustrations, worries, and desires.

Remember that while a clearly defined Unique Selling Proposition is an asset in a crowded market, you also want to use your USP to establish your brand in the minds of your customers and potential customers.

Do you need help developing your Unique Selling Proposition, I can help you solve that problem.  Contact me at http://yvonneajones.com/contact-me/ or send an email to yvonne [at] yvonneajones [dot] com so we can schedule  time to talk and I’ll also send you a copy of my report.

Time Management Tips for Entrepreneurs: Manage Yourself to Manage Your Time

Time Management for Entrepreneurs“Time management is really a misnomer – the challenge is not to manage time, but manage ourselves.  The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” ~ Stephen Covey.

Time is the great equalizer.  We all have the same 24 hours in each day. What makes the difference is how we use the 24 hours we’re given. You probably could think of quite a number of persons who seemed to have accomplished a great deal in their lifetime, and often in a short time. They did this within the framework of 24-hour days.

Are you discouraged with how little you seem to accomplish while others seem to accomplish a great deal more in a short time? If you do, you’re not alone as I’ve felt that way at times. What are some things that could be holding you back?

Seeking perfection. One person will spend 30 minutes writing a great blog post on a topic in their niche with which they’re familiar.  They lay the facts out in a clear, concise way that appeals to their target audience.  The other entrepreneur will spend two hours doing the same thing.   Did the person who took longer write a better post?  Perhaps they wrote more details with the goal of having a perfectly written article.  But did the additional time bring more value to readers?  A personal assessment would determine if this was so, but striving for perfection when no one expects it of you could cause you to be less productive than you could be.

Lack of organization: Disorganization is a huge time-waster. Searching for papers, documents, etc. is great waste of time – yours and others. There is no question about it that to make good use of your time, you must stay organized. No fancy storage system is required, but having a specific place for certain things will allow you to find them immediately when you need them rather than running around searching here and there, frustrating yourself, and wasting precious time. Your lack of organization may affect others so that you end up wasting their time as well.

Taking on more than you can manage: Most of us have a natural desire to help others, and we also have a problem saying, “No.” We often take on much more than we can comfortably handle and find that by saying “Yes” to too many things we actually become unproductive. How is that possible, you may ask? The answer is simple: Time spent on one thing is time away from another. This goes hand-in-hand with the questions small business owners and entrepreneurs should keep asking themselves, “Is what I’m doing taking me closer to my goal?”

If the task is something that could easily be done by someone else, and is not in line with your goals, whether these are personal or business goals, and is actually robbing you of time you had scheduled to work on these goals, it is not an effective self-management decision.  In order to practice good self- management, you should have a plan or strategy for the various aspects of your life and sticking to your plan in order to reach your goals shows a measure of self-respect.

When you manage yourself to manage your time no one can tell you exactly how you should do this since everyone’s circumstance is different. Further, there are people who can set schedules and live by them, while others like to go with the flow.  However, it’s important to remind yourself that to the extent to which you practice good self-management it’s to that extent you’ll make good use of your 24-hour days, be productive and reach your goals. 

Incorporating these time management tips for entrepreneurs can help you make the most use of the portion of your 24 hours that you allocate to your business on a daily basis.  And don’t forget to include time to have FUN in your business!

Many books have been written on the topic.  Here is a Kindle book you may find an easy read: 10 Minute Time Management by Ric Thompson.

Relationship Marketing: Essential Key for Customer Loyalty and Retention

relationship marketingThe success of your business depends on customer loyalty and retention. If you have been in business for any length of time, or have been observing successful businesses, you recognize that relationship marketing is an essential key to customer loyalty and retention.

Television, radio, and newspaper ads all have their place, and are still effective for many businesses. However, for small businesses especially, impersonal advertising cannot be the primary way for communicating with your customers, and consumers in general. Customers do not want to be spoken to. They want to be spoken with and be made to feel that their voice is heard when they do business with you.

Large and small businesses recognize that having a personal relationship with the customer is what makes the difference in the results they experience. This, in fact, is what sets them apart from their competitors. The removal of “us” and “them” and replacing it with “we’ encourages a partnership so that customers feel they have a vested interest in the business.

3 Reasons Why Relationship Marketing is Essential to Your Business

Profitability:

  • In their book, Leading on the Edge of Chaos, authors, Emmet C. Murphy and Mark A Murphy noted, “Depending on the industry, reducing your customer defection rate by 5% can increase your profitability by 25 to 125%.

  • In a survey conducted by Dimensional Research key findings of the study illustrated that customer service not only affects revenue, but has a long lasting impact, with customer service ranking as the No. 1 factor influencing how much a consumer trusts a company.

Build Trust:

At a time when people seems to have lost trust in big businesses, it’s more important than ever to develop the personal relationship with customers so that they clearly understand that you, as the business owner, genuinely care about their welfare and not just see them as a means to a profitable end. Ian Gordon wrote in Relationship Marketing, “”A meaningful relationship starts … when supplier and customer see that it is in their interests to get together for the long term.”

When you make your customers feel that the relationship is one of a partnership and you depend on them for their support, it in no way diminishes your role. Instead you increase the level of loyalty that your customers will give to you. The reality is that in our social world, customers know the level of power that they hold, and if you can harness that power to support your business, it puts you in a favorable position.

Create Your Own Research Team:

Who better to get feedback from than the persons who are already using your products or service? Research can be expensive and time-consuming. It can also be less than accurate if you’re not targeting the correct demographic or pyschographic market.

Your loyal customers and clients are in the best position to share with you ideas and suggestions as to how your product or service could be better and the impact changes and enhancements could have on their lives.

This is not a new concept because large organizations are using this strategy. Starbucks, for one, created a website: My Starbucks Idea where their customers can share their ideas and comment on the ideas shared by others. Genius! They even show the ideas that are being implemented. Can you see how this type of relationship would endear you to your customers and build customer loyalty?

So, would you agree that relationship marketing is an essential key to customer loyalty and retention? It takes time to get a smooth-running system in place, but the returns will be worth it when your funnel is filled with loyal customers and clients.

I invite you to visit my website and download your copy of “STOP Losing Your Best Customers: Time -Tested Tips to Grow Your Business with Customer Retention.”

Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below this post. Thank you. 🙂

Why Define Social Media Goals for Your Business

social media plan for businessFor the most part, small business owners and entrepreneurs recognize that social media is no longer just an option; it’s a necessity.

One of the most significant benefits of social media is that it can be used as a marketing tool. However, in order for it to be an effective tool you must determine your purpose and define social media goals for your business.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is one way to attract customers and prospects and you can do so strategically by building a relationship with them and providing value. At the same time social media platforms allow you to deliver superior customer service in real time, and remove barriers to communication and problem-resolution.

Key Factors to Consider

1) What are the main advantages you want social media to provide for your business? For example, if your main objective is to increase sales and revenue, then your goal should be to improve your brand positioning and awareness.

Create consistent, authentic content that gives people an in-depth look at what you can offer. This will also help to build and improve your online reputation. Companies that consistently update their content and check in with their followers are typically thought of as a reliable business, and therefore are more likely to attract followers.

2) If you want to convert your social media followers into paying customers, you’ll not only want to provide valuable content, but consider offering incentives, such as free samples, service coupons, or anything else that would give people a reason to become paying customers.

Create a Goal List

A goal list may simply be a spreadsheet that you can refer to from time to time. This will outline the milestones that you want to achieve from using social media and a plan to achieve those goals or milestones.

Having this simple step in place before you get started will help you define your social media goals and the process of reaching those goals will be more clear-cut and attainable. While social media can be advantageous to businesses, without proper planning it can become confusing, unfocused, and a huge time-suck.

Do you have a Social Media Action Plan in place for your business?  Would you like help to develop a strategy to make the most of your time on social media and grow your business?  You’re invited to contact me and schedule your complimentary Breakthrough Strategy Session by filling out the quiz on the Home Page or through the Contact Form.

3 Ways to Know What Customers are Saying About You Online

 

know what your customers are saying about you onlineDo YOU know what your customers are saying about you online? It seems that the frequency with which small and large business are coming under attack from negative publicity is increasing. Perhaps they appear to be increasing because they make the news and spread across social media rapidly. How about the thousands of small business and entrepreneurs whose story may not come to light quickly?

Managing your online reputation is one of the most important elements of online marketing success. Small business owners from all different types of industries are realizing just how much social media and online reviews can affect their ability to generate new customers, as well as keep their existing customers.

It’s important to keep track of what customers are saying about you online so you can manage your online reputation and adequately adjust elements of your company to better fit the needs of your customers.

But how do you do that when the world wide web is so huge? It can be a daunting task! The good news is that there are ways to acquire this information through current technology.

Here are three of the easiest ways to know what customers are saying about you online so you can gain control of your reputation:

Google Alerts

 

Google has a powerful tool that sends you emails every time a new page or result is posted about you, your business, or uses certain keywords or topics. You can easily subscribe to Google alerts through RSS and track everything that comes up about your company. This will let you know when new information is posted that mentions your name, your company’s name (or any other parameters you setup), such new articles, press releases or reviews.

 

BoardTracker

 

As I dug deeper into the topic of Online Reputation Management, I discovered that large chunks of the information released about companies, include small businesses, come on message boards. It can be difficult to manage the activity on forums and boards, however, there is help. BoardTracker is an application that was created to keep track of any mentions of your company on any discussion board or forum. This will allow you to address negative complaints or posts and to build a better dialogue with your customers.

 

Remember that huge ‘snafus’ can be avoided if customer concerns are addressed promptly and in the correct way.

 

Social Media Alerts

 

With the increase in social networks, many business owners are finding that these sites are some of the most influential when it comes to their online reputations.

 

To stay on top of what people are saying about your business on social media, sign up for alerts for each platform that has this feature. You can also use hashtags to see what’s being said about your company on social media sites.

 

These are just three starting points for businesses that are serious about getting to know what customers are saying about you online. Keeping track or monitoring is an important element, right after you assess what, if anything is already out there.

The TRUE value in staying on top of what is being said about your business lies in how you handle your findings. Will you take actions that will further improve your reputation?… or will you simply ignore them?



These and other points will be discussed during my interview by Gary Loper on Thursday, April 24
th, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. To get the call details, register at http://ow.ly/vXCil. The title of the discussion is “Assess, Monitor, and Take Control – Strategies to managing your online reputation.