Every business needs a reason for their customers to buy from them and not their competitors. This is called a Unique Selling Point (USP). Your USP can be identified by completing the phrase 'Customers will buy from me because my business is the only...'
Your USP can change as your business or your market changes, and you can have different USPs for different types of customer or product.
- a stationery shop could offer a free same-day delivery service for its business customers within a local area - an effective USP for businesses that need fast delivery
- the same stationery shop could offer a 5 per cent discount to businesses that spend more than £500 a month - this would be a USP for cost-conscious customers
- the stationery shop could also make sure it offers the most comprehensive stock of artists' materials in the area - a USP for local professional or amateur artists
All of these USPs can be effective because they are driven by what the customer looks for when making a buying decision.
Reviewing your USP
It's a good idea to review your USPs regularly. Can you tailor your products or services to better match your customers' needs? Consider asking your customers why they buy from you. This will tell you what they think your USP is - this may differ from what you think your USP is.
It's also useful to check constantly what your competition is doing. Remember - if your competitors are doing the same, your USP isn't unique any more.
Know your legal responsibilities
- Do you need a licence?
- Get the right business insurance
- Comply with the law when providing goods and services
- Know your customers' rights
- Distance and online selling rules
- Understand pricing legislation
- Buying goods from outside NI
- Selling goods outside NI
- Storing or using personal information
- Pay your business rates
- Understand staff contracts and your responsibilities
- Taking on contractors and subcontractors
- What you need to do about health and safety
- Know your legal obligations on pensions
Understand tax and VAT
Sell and market your products or services