Unique Selling Proposition: What It Is & How to Develop a Great One

Jeff Hoffman

Published: May 03, 2023

As a sales person, you need to have the utmost confidence and belief in the product or service you’re selling. If you don’t believe in your product, it’s likely the prospect won’t believe in it either. 

unique selling proposition

With that in mind, how can you speak confidently about your company and product?  A well-crafted and rehearsed unique selling proposition. 

In this post, we’ll explain what a unique selling proposition is, how to write one (with data and expert advice), and examples from real businesses. 

Table of Contents:

What is a unique selling proposition (USP)?

How to write a unique selling proposition, examples of unique selling propositions.

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A unique selling proposition, or USP, is a tool salespeople use to communicate the key factors that separate your product from the competition and why you’re the best possible solution for your prospects based on their unique needs.

A unique selling proposition, or USP, is a tool used by salespeople to communicate the key factors that separate your product from the competition.

An effective USP communicates your brand’s values and differentiates what your company offers through what you stand for and how this benefits your customers. It’s used in the early stages of the sales process, and the guiding question for creating it is asking yourself, “What does my business offer that’s different from the competition?”

It’s best used as a verbal tool in conversation with a prospect, and it’s exclusive to the exact prospect you’re talking to and should be created with them in mind.

Below we'll go over how to write your company's USP. (Psst: This video can also teach you how to create a value proposition, which is helpful to keep in mind when thinking about your selling proposition.) 

So, you're ready to create a unique selling proposition. The first step is to think about your audience, and what you offer that’s most valuable to them. You’ll want to touch on the following elements:

  • The products or services you offer your customers
  • Your offerings benefit to customers that they can't get from the competition
  • Who your target customer is
  • The problem you're solving for customers

More than a quarter of salespeople who responded to our Sales Strategy & Trends survey reported that the change in sales between 2021 to 2022 is that personalization is more important than ever. So, you can create a general USP for your business that you customize to each prospect and what they’re looking for. 

Here are a few other things to remember when creating a USP.

1. Make sure you’re targeting the right audience. 

Writing a unique selling proposition first means focusing on the right audience because the truth is, you won’t appeal to everyone's needs. Make sure you have a robust buyer persona and focus on the markets more likely to benefit from your offer. 

With this, you’ll have a unique selling proposition that will likely drive deals because it matches your ideal customer profile. 

Trish Saemann, the founder of True North, told a colleague , "When you focus your energy on targeting a narrower audience, your message can be more customized. Customized messages are the ones that get the real engagement, and when that happens, there is a higher chance they will trust you to understand their needs. They will know you are a good fit for them."

2. Lead with your differentiating qualities.

If you create a unique selling proposition that a competitor could use for their product, it's time to return to the drawing board. Your unique selling proposition should be entirely unique to you, your company, and the product or service you're selling.

Your USP should include the strengths and benefits of your product that distinguish it from the competition. 

For example, one of Hoffman 's unique selling points is live practice plays. Salespeople learn how to engage with prospects, then test their skills by live cold-calling prospects and customers as an in-class exercise. It separates it from normal training programs and is the type of distinguishing factor to include in a unique selling proposition.

3. Present your talking points clearly and confidently.

Unique selling propositions should not only be unique to the company, but they should also be unique to you. You're showcasing yourself and your product or service. And your enthusiasm and authenticity should shine through during your USP.

The unique selling proposition will fail if it doesn't seem to come across as if it's unique to you. Rehearse the unique selling proposition. It gives you confidence and, in turn, the prospect will be confident in you. They'll walk away from a successful USP excited to work with you and to learn more about your product.

4. Include hyperbole.

Your unique selling proposition can be rich with hyperbole. 

Use words like, only, greatest, best, first, favorite , etc. to describe your product. When used appropriately, it's a tool that communicates your enthusiasm and belief in the product.

For example, instead of saying, " We help customers, " say, " Our customers demand the best, and that's why they hire us " instead. The second phrase says more about what you're offering.

You might hesitate to use hyperbole because you don’t want to seem too sales-y, but using it in your USP communicates the price you have in telling it. And it’s an appropriate communication device because you can back it up with your product. 

5. Focus on the benefit to the customer and sell a solution.

Great salespeople don't sell just a product or service — they sell the post-sales environment.

What does this mean? It means your unique selling proposition should be about the world your customer enjoys or the reality they'll see after they purchase.

B2B salespeople responding to our survey also said that selling prospects on a solution is the most effective strategy for converting new customers. Dan Tyre, Inbound Fellow at HubSpot, supports this point and said , “Prospects are less interested in seeing ‘how it works’ and more interested in making sure you understand their needs, have a comprehensive idea of their requirements, and that the product will work.” 

unique selling prop: dan tyre quote

For instance, the process of buying a new car can be tedious and less than enjoyable. But people like the experience of driving a brand-new car. A successful salesperson knows this and can help the customer see the benefits and values that come after the sale goes through. 

You’ll know if your unique selling proposition works based on the prospect's reaction because they’ll engage with the USP, believe in what you’re selling, and be eager to learn more. 

Let’s put this all together using HubSpot as an example.

HubSpot Unique Selling Proposition: HubSpot's all-in-one marketing, sales, and service platform is built to help you implement inbound and grow better. It's all powered by the same database, so everyone in your organization - marketing, sales, service, and IT - is working off the same system of record.

6. Share your unique selling proposition verbally.

Remember: the unique selling proposition loses its punch if you communicate it via email. Deliver it over the phone or in-person, where they can hear the strength of your words, tone, and confidence of what you're saying. 

Below we'll go over a few real-life unique selling propositions to inspire you. 

  • Hoffman: I got you live on the first call. When you hire us, we'll teach your sales reps how to do the same thing.
  • Ben & Jerry's: We make the best possible ice cream in the best possible way.
  • Yokel Local: It's impossible for one person to do it all.
  • Page Eleven Paper Goods: This is not your ordinary datebook.
  • Away: Built for modern travel.
  • Death Wish Coffee Co.: We rebel against blah beans—and a boring, lackluster life.
  • TOMS: Pick your style. Wear TOMS. WEAR GOOD.
  • ClassPass: The world's best classes and experiences into one app.
  • Thrive Market: Healthy groceries shouldn't break the bank.
  • SheaMoisture: A better way to beautiful.
  • Anchor: Powerful tools for beginners, pros, and everyone in between—all for free.

1. Hoffman : I got you live on the first call. When you hire us, we'll teach your sales reps how to do the same thing.

Hoffman is an industry leader in sales training and a leading consultant for industry executives. This unique selling proposition was used when talking to a Vice President on the first outreach call.

I've created a quick recording of the USP so you can hear it from the perspective of a prospect.

2. Ben & Jerry's : We make the best possible ice cream in the best possible way.

What's the unique selling proposition for this ice cream company? Ben & Jerry's stands out from the competition by providing, "the best possible ice cream in the best possible way."

The mission of the company is to create sustainable, high-quality ice cream that has a positive impact on its employees and surrounding communities.  If you're a salesperson for Ben & Jerry's, these are the key differentiating factors that would help you create your USP.

3. Yokel Local : We become the digital marketing extension of your team because it's impossible for one person to do it all.

Yokel Local intimately knows its buyer persona: marketing managers who are overwhelmed with everything that they have to learn, execute on, and manage. That's where the benefit of hiring an agency lies. Yokel Local is able to offer a team of experts in an array of disciplines to take that stress away. Their website goes on to say:

"We're a full service marketing agency that helps frustrated or stressed business owners and marketing experts with developing demand generation and growth strategies to increase conversions and get you the results you need." - Yokel Local

4. Page Eleven Paper Goods : This is not your ordinary datebook.

When someone is buying a planner or datebook, they may be thinking about the size, layout, and price. However, Page Eleven stops website visitors in their tracks and reframes the buying process by asserting their product is more than that. It's designed to be a tool for setting and achieving goals. Here's what it has to say about its product:

"It is a reflection of where you have come, the direction you are thriving towards and the path where purpose meets intent." - Page Eleven

5. Away : Built for modern travel.

Away provides its customers with premium luggage for the modern traveler. The company says:

"hat’s why our travel essentials are designed to last (and last) for every trip to come, so you can get out there and explore." - Away Luggage

Not only does Away offer high-quality luggage options at reasonable prices, but it also believes that "to be a great business, you have to be a good one too." And the company strives to have a positive impact on its customers and their communities. This sets them apart from other high-end luggage companies.

6. Death Wish Coffee Co. : We live to rebel against blah beans—and a boring, lackluster life.

Death Wish Coffee Co.'s goal is to fuel customers with the best tasting, highest quality, and strongest coffee. The company even goes as far as to say,

"This seemingly standard flavor is here to flip you on your head with rich, deep notes of vanilla brewed into the boldest medium roast you know." - Death Wish Coffee Co.


This shoe company does things differently from its competitors. When you purchase a pair of shoes from TOMS, you can pick an issue area that you'd like to stand for.

The mission of the company is to change lives for the better. And since 2006, TOMS has given shoes, safe water, and vision to more than 94 million people . It's a business that's creating change for a better tomorrow — for its customers and the people they're helping.

"We’re in business to improve lives." - TOMS

8. ClassPass : Bringing together the world’s best classes and experiences into one app.

ClassPass makes group fitness accessible for its customer base through partnerships with fitness studios all over the U.S. and virtual class offerings.

It changed consumers participate in group fitness by working with small businesses and studios to introduce them to a new market of consumers who want to get active.

"We lead people to live inspired lives every day by introducing and seamlessly connecting them to soul-nurturing experiences." - ClassPass

9. Thrive Market : Healthy groceries shouldn't break the bank.

Online grocery retailer Thrive Market's membership-based business model aims to make healthy food and household products affordable and accessible.

They offer premium and organic products for wholesale prices and for every annual membership purchased, they donate a membership to someone in need.

"We’re on a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone." - Thrive Market

10. SheaMoisture : A better way to beautiful.

Beauty brand SheaMoisture provides hair and body care products formulated without harmful ingredients at an accessible price point.

SheaMoisture invests proceeds from every sale towards their community commerce fund that supports small minority business owners.

"At SheaMoisture we invest proceeds from every purchase into the community. When you purchase SheaMoisture, you are investing in women globally. Our educational and entrepreneurial programs are designed to create an inclusive and thriving society." - SheaMoisture

11. Anchor : Powerful tools for beginners, pros, and everyone in between — all for free.

Podcasting is a growing fast-growing medium. As of April 2023, Podcast Index reports that there were 116,895 shows published in the last three days, and 379,448 in the last 30.

Podcast hosting platform Anchor (now part of Spotify for Podcasters) is up for the challenge, providing easy-to-use hosting and publishing software that makes launching a podcast easy, and cost-effective. Through its platform, users are able to create, distribute, and monetize their podcasts for free — a unique differentiator from other podcast hosting companies in the market.

"Our mission is to democratize audio. We believe everyone should be able to have their voice heard, regardless of background or experience level. Our goal is to make podcasting easy and fun, without sacrificing the quality every podcaster deserves." - Anchor

With a carefully crafted, unique selling proposition, you have a greater chance of moving forward with the prospect.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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10 Unique Selling Proposition Examples | USP Examples

A business’s unique selling proposition , or USP, differentiates it from its competitors. The USP is one of the reasons why customers choose to work with, trust, and shop from your business compared to the competition. So, what are some unique selling proposition examples? 

This article provides you with 10 unique selling proposition examples that exemplify the effective use and communication of a USP. The examples are from different types of eCommerce businesses, direct to consumer businesses, and SaaS companies. 

Let’s start by covering the basics of “what is a USP?”. A unique selling proposition (USP) is a distinctive selling point for your business that sets you apart from the competition. It can help raise your sell through rate . Businesses may communicate their USP through a slogan, eCommerce content marketing efforts, and advertising. 

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10 Unique Selling Proposition Examples

Before we get into the unique selling proposition examples, it’s important to know what makes an effective USP. Not only is an effective easier to communicate to customers, but it also holds up under scrutiny. 

An effective unique selling proposition is:

  • Memorable. A business’s USP should make a long-lasting impression on the customer. Avoid generic wording and focus on the benefits of your business, product, or service.
  • Customer-focused. The customer is one of your top priorities as a business owner . When you write a business plan , create a USP that showcases the features your customers want and will value. 
  • Tangible. Back up your USP with everything you do. Your USP should represent your company’s reputation, personality, and values.

Now that you understand what it takes to have an effective unique selling proposition, it’s time to dive into some USP examples. 

Looking to learn more about what you need when opening a business? Download our The Cost of Opening a Business eBook today!

1. Robinhood Unique Selling Proposition Examples

Robinhood is a popular investing platform that thinks everyone should have access to the financial markets, not just those that are wealthy. They want investing to be friendly, understandable, and approachable, regardless of the stock experience or knowledge that you have.

This belief is what inclined the creators of Robinhood to create a platform where everyone can invest in thousands of stocks directly from their smartphone. What’s more, is that they have the ability to do so with just $1 and no prior knowledge of the stock market. 

Robinhood’s slogan or unique selling proposition is “investing for everyone”. This is one of the unique selling proposition examples that let the product or service guide the USP. Robinhood unites people by breaking down barriers in the stock market, which is a powerful selling point.

2. Starbucks Unique Selling Proposition Examples

Another one of the worthy unique selling proposition examples to cover is Starbucks. This company started off by opening a coffee shop in the state of Washington. Now, Starbucks is one of the most recognizable brands in America. 

Starbucks became a nationally recognized brand by developing a unique selling proposition that worked. To understand how they did it, think about what Starbucks is known for and what they believe in. The answer is premium coffee beverages.

What makes them stand out from their competition is that they focus solely on premium coffee beverages instead of also having the lowest prices. By trying to focus on also having the lowest prices, Starbucks wouldn’t be head-to-head with gas stations and their product quality would suffer. 

While Starbucks offers other beverage and food options, it’s not their main focus. They don’t want to be known as a coffee, sandwich, and beverage establishment. Instead, they focus on being the coffee shop that offers premium coffee, but also other items that you may want while grabbing your cup of brew. 

3. Canva USP Examples

As an online design and publishing platform, Canva strives to make it easy for individuals to create and share their graphics. “Empowering the world to design” is Canva’s USP, and it reflects its goal. 

Canva’s unique selling proposition is simple which aligns with the simplicity of the tools they offer. The platform differentiates itself from its competitors, like Adobe Photoshop and ProCreate, as these are targeted toward experienced artists. 

The company understood its place in the market by targeting inexperienced and beginner designers and has a competitive advantage. Canva was able to turn a weakness into a strength.

4. FedEx Unique Selling Proposition Examples

Not all businesses find their ideal unique selling proposition the first time around. Some businesses may even decide to change their USP at some point. FedEx is one of those businesses.

Let’s look at two different unique selling proposition examples from FedEx. “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”, was one of FedEx’s first USP’s. This USP assures customers that their packages will be delivered safely and on time. 

The USP communicates two benefits. The first is that the package will get delivered as promised and the second is that customers can save time by overnighting their packages. Now, FedEx has a new slogan, “The World on Time,” which is less effective. However, the company is more well-recognized nowadays than when it first started out.

5. Death Wish Coffee USP Examples

Death Wish Coffee is an eCommerce brand that sells coffee. Their not only focused on becoming one of the best eCommerce websites for coffee, but also on selling the strongest coffee in the world.

This is one of the unique selling proposition examples that works despite the crowded coffee market. Death Wish Coffee’s USP is “world’s strongest coffee” which doesn’t necessarily appeal to every coffee drinker. However, the company focuses on a very specific niche of coffee drinkers. 

Death Wish Coffee made its USP tangible by backing it up with the rest of its business. In fact, they have it written boldly on their eCommerce packaging and across their website. 

The company also offers full refunds to anyone who claims it isn’t the boldest coffee they’ve ever tasted. It’s possible to also get custom subscription boxes delivered to your door as often as desired through their online coffee subscription service. 

Key Takeaway: Businesses don’t always create effective unique selling propositions the first time around. In fact, many will use research and testing to ensure a solid and effective USP that works for their business. 

6. TOMS Unique Selling Proposition Examples

TOMS shoes started off with a very distinct USP. The shoe company’s USP involved donating a pair of TOMS shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. Over time, the company and its unique selling proposition evolved.

This is another one of the unique selling proposition examples that prove that changing a USP can be beneficial for the business. Today, TOMS donates one-third of its profits to grassroots goods. Now, TOMS’ USP is “Shoes for moving forward.”

The company is consistent when it comes to building a unique selling proposition around a cause. Doing this may risk isolating some people. However, it unites the company, the customers, and the purpose while creating long-lasting brand loyalty. 

7. IKEA Unique Selling Proposition Examples

The globally known Swedish-origin furniture and hardware company, IKEA, has a USP that focuses on benefiting customers through high-quality furniture for a low price. "To create a better everyday life for the many people." is their USP. 

IKEA’s vision goes beyond home furnishing. The company strives to make everyday life better for people through its offerings. 

8. Warby Parker USP Examples

Warby Parker is one of the popular DTC brands that follow a direct to consumer business model . The company started off with an eCommerce business plan to focus on online direct to consumer sales . However, they eventually grew and opened brick and mortar locations.

By expanding to physical stores, they’ve been able to take their direct to consumer advertising and DTC marketing efforts to new levels. This was possible by increasing the accessibility of their products and meeting customer needs offline and online. 

Warby Parker’s unique selling proposition, “Try 5 frames at home for free”, focuses on having a seamless customer experience. They offer a virtual try-on service where customers have the ability to test out five frames at home, free of charge. This kind of customer service is highly-valued.

Being able to try on five frames mirrors the physical store experience where most people try on multiple frames before deciding on the one they want. Warby Parker also started off by eliminating the need to travel by taking care of the shipping and handling efforts for customers. This was part of their eCommerce marketing strategy .

9. HelloFresh Unique Selling Proposition Examples

Some unique selling proposition examples prove that businesses focus on communicating that they’re the best at what they do. That’s what HelloFresh, a subscription business , does with its USP, “America’s most popular meal kit.”

HelloFresh delivers social proof by telling people it’s the most popular meal kit in the country which means that it has to be worth it. This USP also creates a fear of missing out (FOMO). People don’t want to miss out on things that are popular. 

The meal kit company goes even further by providing statements on their website as to why they’re the most popular. HelloFresh backs up their USP. Their meal kits save money, time, and stress when it comes to preparing meals which is what they communicate to their customers.

HelloFresh offers different subscription box types . This includes fresh produce , meat products , bulk fish , and dairy . HelloFresh took advantage of how to start a subscription business and created a company that is essential for a large niche.

10. Bee’s Wrap Unique Selling Proposition Examples

Another eCommerce business with a solid unique selling proposition is Bee’s Wrap. Bee’s Wrap focuses on eliminating plastic waste, and they communicate that in their USP, “That’s a wrap on single-use plastic.”

Bee’s Wrap produces a sustainable kind of food wrap made from beeswax and organic cotton. This is an alternative to plastic wrap or foil.

Their unique selling point highlights the alternative to single-use plastic by offering a long-term and reusable solution. Bee’s Wrap does a good job incorporating word play to appeal even more to eco-conscious customers. 

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Frequently Asked Questions About Unique Selling Proposition Examples

After reading the unique selling proposition examples above, you’re likely to have a clear understanding of what an effective USP is. Not all businesses will get their USP right the first time around. In fact, the effective USP examples above are the result of proper research and testing. 

To further understand unique selling proposition examples and USP’s in general, read the questions and answers below. 

Are USPs Important?

The reason why we’ve dedicated an entire blog article to unique selling proposition examples is because they are important for businesses that wish to increase their market share . USPs are the key component in the communication between a brand and its targeted audience. Here are some additional reasons why they’re important.

  • Brand identity and awareness . There are many unique selling proposition examples where the USP is the same as the slogan of the company.
  • Price strategy . Some brands don’t try to compete with other brands in terms of pricing. As we mentioned above in the unique selling proposition example with Starbucks, they count on high quality instead of low prices. Therefore, their USP of offering high-end coffee is the reason for their higher prices.
  • Competitive advantage . Having strong USPs gives companies a competitive edge. This advantage can be the reason why a majority of customers choose one brand over the other.

How Do You Write a Unique Selling Proposition?

To write a unique selling proposition for your business, follow these five steps: 

  • Identify your niche market  
  • Take note of the problem(s) your product or service solves
  • Identify the benefits that differentiate your product or service from the competition
  • Define your company’s promise
  • Combine it all into a paragraph and condense it into a sentence

What’s the Difference Between a Unique Selling Proposition and a Value Proposition?

The difference between a unique selling proposition and a value proposition is that a value proposition is what the company is offering to customers based on what they’re paying for it. However, a unique selling proposition is a reason why customers should choose your product or service over the competition. The USP creates an emotional connection with your customers. 

What Is a Unique Selling Proposition in Marketing?

A unique selling proposition in marketing refers to the marketing statement businesses use to sell their products or services to customers. The USP makes customers understand why they should do business with you instead of the competition. 

Joel Falconer

What Is a Unique Selling Proposition & How Do I Create One?

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Unique Selling Proposition

What Is a Unique Selling Proposition?

How to create a unique selling proposition in 6 steps.

  • 1. Define Your Target Market & Conduct Market Research
  • 2. Identify Your Product or Service’s Unique Features
  • 3. Develop Your Messaging & Position Your Unique Selling Point
  • 4. A Strong Unique Selling Proposition Is Clear & Concise
  • 5. Test & Revise Your Unique Selling Point
  • 6. Promote Your Unique Selling Proposition

Keys to a Successful Unique Selling Proposition

Faqs about unique selling proposition.

As an entrepreneur, you may know that creating a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your business is important.

But what is a USP, exactly?

And more importantly, how can you go about creating one for your own business?

Let’s take a closer look at Unique Selling Propositions, why you need one, and how to create one.

A Unique Selling Proposition is a sentence that explains what makes your company unique. It tells customers why they should do business with you instead of one of your competitors.

A Unique Selling Proposition is a one-sentence description of what makes your company unique and valuable to its target audience. It’s a clear statement that explains why a customer should do business with you instead of one of your competitors.

A USP is sometimes referred to as a unique selling point. While it’s not the original term, it conveys the concept well. It’s a company’s main selling point and shapes your brand, market positioning, marketing messages and techniques, and client interaction. Defining your Unique Selling Proposition is an essential part of successful business planning.

Unique Selling Proposition

Why Is a Unique Selling Proposition Important to My Marketing Strategy?

Your USP is important because it’s what sets you apart from your competition. It’s the key to winning new business and retaining loyal customers. Your USP should be clear, concise, and easy for prospective customers to understand.

If you invest effort in developing a compelling USP, you can use it across all of your digital marketing communications, interactions, and business branding. Your USP, when paired with your mission statement, can give a lot of clarity to your business model, what you do and why you do it.

When creating or revising your company’s USP, keep these factors in mind:

  • Your target market: who are you targeting and what needs or desires do they have?
  • What makes your company unique: what are your strengths and how can you capitalize on them?
  • The benefits of doing business with you: what value do you offer customers that they can’t find elsewhere?
  • How will you communicate your USP: what materials or slogans will you use to get the message across in your digital marketing or physical collateral?

Narrowing in on your target audience, assessing your competitors, and taking a straightforward look at what you have to offer are all part of the process of establishing a unique and effective selling proposition.

Uncovering Competitive Advantage

You can learn a lot by exploring how your business sits in relation to target customer needs and your competition’s positioning. Aside from honing in on messaging that will be more effective for you, you will better understand your customer pain points and better understand opportunities for developing your competitive advantage.

Take a look at what your competitors are doing and figure out how you can set yourself apart. By analyzing your competition, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and visualizing how these elements will influence customer experience, you can begin to craft a unique selling proposition that is authentic to your company.

In other words, what do you have that they don’t?

What are your company’s strengths? How can you capitalize and use them to your advantage?

Creating a strong unique selling proposition isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort. When done correctly, it will help you attract new customers, differentiate your business from the competition, and convey the value you offer.

How to create a unique selling propositon

While creating a unique selling proposition can be a challenge for most companies, it’s important for businesses to find a way to stand out from the competition.

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for creating a Unique Selling Proposition, but there are some key steps you can take to develop an effective USP for the unique benefit of your business:

  • Define your target market. Find out what benefits your target customers are looking for.
  • Identify what makes your product or service unique. Identify your competition, what they’re offering, how your offering differs, and which marketing messages are working for other brands.
  • Position your USP to highlight benefits. Highlight the benefits of doing business with you. in a way that’s appealing to your target customers.
  • Make your USP clear and concise. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
  • Test and revise your USP. Make sure it’s working, and iterate as needed or test new ideas.
  • Promote your Unique Selling Proposition. Get the word out there about what makes you different.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these stages in detail.

1. Define Your Target Market & Conduct Market Research

Before you can even start marketing your services, you need to know your target market.

You then need to understand your market. That means finding out what benefits your customers are looking for.

Many entrepreneurs don’t realize that crafting a successful USP isn’t about inventing something new. It’s about identifying what makes your business unique and focusing on those benefits for your target market.

In this step, you must be as specific as possible.

Identify a market to focus on

If you are a web developer advertising services, targeting anyone who needs help with a website will lead to messaging that is too broad, vague, or bland to work optimally.

It can be challenging to pick a direction if your marketing has favored a general approach before. Evaluate your skills (or product features), unmet needs you identify during this research, and gaps amongst the competition.

Especially for freelancers and small businesses, it can be useful to explore your ideal customer, client, or work engagement. What kind of work do you want to be doing?

These considerations provide you with a starting point for research that narrows down the scope.

Here are some examples of an ideal customer that a web developer might identify:

  • A small business owner looking for a WordPress expert to customize their site.
  • Startups that need to get their products or services online quickly.
  • Businesses that want to increase their online presence.
  • Organizations that need to replace their current website (and its developer) after a problematic engagement.

Research your target market’s needs and wants

Once you know who your target market is, it’s time to do some primary and secondary research to figure out what benefits they’re looking for. This can include surveys, interviews, and online forums.

Look for trends in the data you collect. Are people gravitating towards a specific benefit or solution that your business can provide?

What are the specific problems or issues that your target market is experiencing? What are they looking for in a particular product or service to solve these issues or meet these needs?

Some of this research can be done online, but you’ll also want to talk to your target market directly – such as through surveys and interviews.

Again, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Don’t try to guess what your target market wants. Ask them!

2. Identify Your Product or Service’s Unique Features

Identify your competition and research what they’re offering.

It’s not enough to know what your target market wants. You can’t sell your products or services without knowing the different selling points that make them unique. And you won’t be able to create a powerful USP if you don’t know who your competition is, and how they are different from you.

You also need to understand what your competition is offering – and how you can do it better.

Your competition could be direct or indirect. To find out, you’ll need to do some online research as well as talk to people and companies in your target market.

Here are some questions to consider as you research your competition:

  • Who are your main competitors?
  • What services or products do they offer?
  • What is their USP?
  • Is it working? What do people think of them? (You can find this out through online reviews, social media, and forums)

Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have a good understanding of what your competition is doing and how you can differentiate yourself from other companies.

3. Develop Your Messaging & Position Your Unique Selling Point

Now that you know who your target market is, what they want, and how you can deliver that better than your competition, you can start pulling together your Unique Selling Proposition.

Develop your messaging

Your messaging should be clear and relevant to your target market. It should also be different from what your competition is offering.

  • Identify the main benefit or key differentiator that you offer. Choose one or two key differentiators that set you apart. You might have uncovered a number of options, and you need to decide which value proposition is most appealing and best meets target market needs. This could be a solution to a specific problem, a new or unique feature, or an unbeatable price.
  • Communicate it in a way that’s simple and to the point. Don’t try to cram in every benefit or differentiator identified during research. The ideal Unique Selling Proposition fits in one sentence. It’s a focusing tool that cuts through the noise and grabs attention.
  • Make sure your messaging is relevant to your target market. Don’t try to appeal to everyone – it’s impossible and will lead to bland messaging. You’ll refine this next, but your copy will work best when you speak your target market’s language from the start.
  • Focus on what makes you unique. Remember those differentiators that set you apart from the competition? This is where they come into play.

Position Unique Selling Propositions to highlight benefits for prospective customers

Highlight the benefits of doing business with you in a way that’s appealing to your target customers.

Simply defined, market positioning is a process that aims to establish a brand’s or product’s identity and image in the minds of target consumers.

It’s about figuring out how you want customers to think of you and then delivering on that promise. Done well, it can be extremely effective in gaining market share or increasing sales.

When we developed the base of our messaging, our focus was on our own products and services and what they can bring to the table. When communicating that to potential customers, we want to flip the focus to the end result for them.

Here are some tips for doing so:

  • Highlight the benefits of doing business with you. Don’t focus on features. What’s in it for the customer?
  • Be specific. Vague statements like “we’re the best” or “we’re the cheapest” are not going to cut it. You need to be specific about what makes you different and why customers should care.
  • Use strong language and powerful imagery. You have seconds to grab attention in a crowded market. Use emotive language to really drive home your message.
  • Make it easy to understand your USP. Use simple, straightforward language that packs a punch. The benefit should be immediately clear to prospective customers. Don’t achieve a concise USP by relying on abstract, literary, and idiomatic expressions.
  • Make it believable. Customers are not going to believe you if you make claims that are far-fetched or impossible to deliver on. Be honest and realistic in your USP.
  • Support it with proof. If you can back up your USP with facts, data, or testimonials in surrounding copy, you’ll help customers feel confident that you’re truly different from the competition.

4. A Strong Unique Selling Proposition Is Clear & Concise

Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

A strong Unique Selling Proposition is clear and concise so that your audience can understand what you’re offering and how it benefits them.

You might have noticed a theme here, so much so that boiling your message down to achieve the most impact in the fewest words deserves its own step in the process.

Here are some tips for clarifying your unique selling point:

  • Think of your USP as a memorable tagline or slogan. USPs and taglines are separate entities, but how difficult would it be to create one from your USP?
  • Use active voice. Active voice is more direct, which means it takes less thought to understand. Passive voice also tends to require more complicated language, making this an easy way to eliminate unnecessary words.
  • Remove any qualifiers (“almost,” “better than,” etc.) from your USP so that it is as strong and confident as possible.
  • Use positive language that tells your audience what they will gain from using your product or service, rather than what they will lose.
  • Make it unique. If your brand positioning communicates your differentiators using language everyone in your industry uses, it won’t be clear or memorable.

5. Test & Revise Your Unique Selling Point

Make sure your Unique Selling Proposition is working, and iterate as needed or test new ideas.

A company’s USP is the foundation of your business, so it’s important to make sure it’s working well.

Test it out regularly and revise it as needed to ensure that it’s still relevant and effective. You can also test out new ideas to see if they might be even better than your current USP.

Use social media

Create a social post that incorporates your USP candidate on social media and see how people react. Do they share it? Do they seem confused? Engage with them in the comments to get feedback and ideas for improvement.

This is a great way to test your candidates without needing to commit to them beforehand.

Analyze your website traffic data

Look at where your visitors are coming from and what they’re doing on your site. This will give you insight into whether or not they’re responding to your USP.

Look at your conversion rates

If you have a higher bounce rate after making a change, this could be an indication that your USP isn’t resonating with your audience. Test out different variations and see which one works best.

Ask customers for feedback

Get customer feedback for qualitative testing of your USP’s impact on brand identity.

Send out a survey to your customer base and ask them how they heard about you, what their initial impression was, and if they found the unique selling proposition helpful in making a decision.

You can also ask them how they found out about your company’s products and what made them decide to do business with you.

You can also interview your customers to get their thoughts on your USP and brand strategy.

A/B test your marketing materials

Try out different versions of your USP in your ads and on your website to see which one performs the best. A/B testing is a great way to fine-tune your message and make sure it’s resonating with your audience.

Keep track of your sales data

Look at how well your products or services are selling over time. If you see a sudden drop in online store sales, for example, it could be a sign that your USP isn’t working well.

Whether you’re testing a new message or validating the efficacy of your existing unique selling point, this ensures that it’s always relevant and effective. Keep iterating and improving to keep your business on the top.

6. Promote Your Unique Selling Proposition

Get the word out there about what makes you different.

Make sure your website, social media, and other marketing materials highlight your company’s unique position and inform the core of their overall message.

Talk about it in your sales conversations, and be prepared to explain why it matters to potential customers. If you can’t expand on what makes you special, it will be hard for customers to see the value.

Develop an elevator pitch that explains why people should buy from you instead of your competitors

A USP is a key part of your elevator pitch . If you can quickly and succinctly explain what makes you different, you’ll be in a better position to close deals.

Your elevator pitch should be succinct enough that it can be conveyed from memory, but allows for more detail about your business and serves as an adaptable basis for marketing materials.

Come up with a tagline that sums up your USP in a catchy and memorable way

A tagline is a short, memorable phrase that communicates the key benefit of your brand or product. A good tagline is driven by a clearly-defined USP.

As with your USP, it should be clear, concise, and easy to remember. A good tagline can be the difference between a successful marketing campaign and one that falls flat.

What makes a good tagline memorable?

There are a few key things that make a good tagline memorable. It should be:

  • Unique: Don’t try to be like everyone else. Stand out from the crowd and be creative.
  • Concise: Keep it short and sweet, no more than 10-15 words at the outside.
  • Relevant: Make sure the tagline captures your product or brand.
  • Energetic: Use strong, active words to capture people’s attention.

Create marketing materials that support your USP

Create marketing materials that support your USP. Every touchpoint should reinforce what makes you different from your competition, from your primary landing page to your customer support templates. Your marketing materials should be easy to understand, visually appealing and easy to navigate.

There are endless ways to promote your USP. Get creative and think outside the box to come up with unique ways to get the word out there.

Train your team on your USP

Make sure everyone on your team, from customer service to sales, is familiar with your unique selling point. They should be able to articulate it clearly and confidently to potential customers.

Invest in training so they can learn how to effectively communicate your USP and close sales.

Make it a part of your brand identity

Your USP should be a central part of your overall brand identity. It should inform everything: your messaging, visual identity, content marketing, landing pages, email marketing, and beyond.

Consistency is key when it comes to branding. If your USP changes with every new campaign, people will get confused and lose trust in you.

Stay consistent

Your unique selling proposition should be a key part of your branding and marketing efforts.

It should be reflected in everything you do, from the words you use to the way you interact with customers, and from your marketing to your customer service.

Keep your messaging consistent across all channels. Have a clear, concise message that you stick to throughout your marketing materials, website, content marketing, and other customer-facing communications.

Remember: consistency is key when it comes to establishing a strong brand identity.

Continue to measure and optimize

In the previous step, we validated our new USP messaging. But market needs and tastes change. It’s important to continue validating and refining your USP over time.

Whether you’re publishing a new landing page or redesigning an entire online store, keep track of how well your unique selling proposition is working. Measure its impact on sales, customer loyalty, and other key metrics.

Make tweaks as needed to improve results. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it up. But always make sure you know what’s working and why, so you can continue to replicate success.

We’ve explored the process of creating a USP in detail, and there’s a lot of work ahead. To ensure you stay focused and get the right result, it can be helpful to bear these key factors in mind.

  • Benefit-focused: A great USP should be benefit-focused. It should make it clear what your product or service can do for the customer, not just what it is.
  • Simple, clear, concise, consistent: Keep your USP simple and easy to understand. This isn’t the time to get creative with complicated language – you want your customers to be able to easily remember what you offer.
  • Unique and differentiable: Make sure your USP is different from that of your competitors. If it’s not, then it won’t be very effective in helping you stand out from the crowd.
  • Authentic: Be sure that your USP is authentic – in other words, it’s something you can truly deliver on. There’s no point making promises you can’t keep, as this will only damage your reputation in the long run.
  • Positive, impactful, and memorable: You want your USP to be something that leaves a positive impression on customers and is easy for them to remember.

Like a good USP, there should be no surprises here! These key factors are all recurring themes throughout the process. Treat them like a cheat sheet for quick reference wherever you are in the process.

Now that you know the keys to creating successful unique selling points, it’s time to get to work. Follow these steps and make sure you stay focused on delivering a message that resonates with your customers. Remember: consistency is key when it comes to branding, so be sure to keep your USP front and center in all of your marketing efforts.

What is a Unique Selling Proposition?

A Unique Selling Proposition (USP), often referred to as a Unique Selling Point or Unique Value Proposition, is a fundamental marketing concept. It identifies and communicates the unique and distinct qualities or benefits of a product, service, or brand compared to its competitors. The central question it answers is, “Why should a customer choose your product or service over others?” A USP should possess the following key characteristics: Uniqueness: The USP must highlight something that sets the product, service, or brand apart from competitors. This unique aspect could be a feature, a benefit, a quality, or a combination of these elements. Value: The USP should effectively communicate the specific value or benefit that the customer will receive. It should directly address the customer’s needs, wants, or pain points, making it compelling. Clarity and Conciseness: An effective USP is clear, concise, and easy to understand. It should be memorable and resonate with the target audience, leaving a lasting impression. Relevance: The USP should be relevant to the target market, aligning with their preferences, desires, or problems. It must address an aspect that matters to the potential customer. Credibility: A good USP is credible and supported by evidence or proof. Claims made in the USP should be substantiated, as empty or unverifiable claims are less effective. Consistency: The USP should be consistent with the overall brand message and should reflect the brand’s values and positioning in the market. Longevity: Ideally, a USP should have a degree of longevity. Constantly changing USPs can confuse customers, so it’s important to craft a message that remains relevant over time. Competitive Analysis: Developing a USP often involves conducting a competitive analysis to identify gaps in the market or areas where your product or service can excel and stand out. A well-crafted USP is a potent tool in marketing and sales. It helps differentiate a product or service in a crowded marketplace by highlighting the unique benefits customers will receive. This unique positioning forms the basis for effective marketing campaigns and messaging, enabling businesses to stand out and connect with their target audience effectively.

Why do you need a Unique Selling Proposition?

A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is essential for several compelling reasons: Differentiation in a Crowded Market: In most industries, competition is fierce, and customers are inundated with choices. A strong USP sets your product, service, or brand apart from the competition. It provides a clear and distinctive reason why a customer should choose you over others. Without a USP, you risk blending into the crowd and becoming indistinguishable from competitors. Effective Communication: A USP serves as a concise and powerful communication tool. It conveys, in a few words or sentences, the unique benefits or value your offering provides to customers. This clarity is vital because customers often make quick decisions, and you need to capture their attention and interest immediately. Customer-Centric Focus: A well-defined USP is customer-centric. It addresses the specific needs, desires, or pain points of your target audience. By identifying and addressing what matters most to customers, you create a compelling proposition that resonates with them. Competitive Advantage: A strong USP gives you a competitive advantage. It enables you to emphasize what you do exceptionally well, making it difficult for competitors to replicate or surpass your offering. This advantage can help you maintain or expand your market share. Brand Identity and Loyalty: Your USP is a fundamental part of your brand identity. It communicates what your brand stands for and what customers can expect from your products or services. A compelling USP can foster brand loyalty as customers come to associate your brand with a unique and valuable experience. Marketing Effectiveness: A USP provides a foundation for effective marketing campaigns. It shapes your messaging, helping you craft marketing materials that resonate with your target audience. This leads to more effective marketing efforts and a higher return on investment. Product Development Focus: When you have a clear USP, it guides your product or service development efforts. You can prioritize features or attributes that align with your unique value proposition, ensuring that you deliver what you promise to customers. Customer Acquisition and Retention: A strong USP not only attracts new customers but also retains existing ones. When customers perceive unique value in your offering, they are more likely to stay loyal and refer others. Business Sustainability: In a dynamic marketplace, businesses need to adapt and evolve. Your USP can serve as a source of stability and adaptability. Even as market conditions change, your USP remains a core aspect of your identity. In summary, a Unique Selling Proposition is essential for establishing a distinct and memorable identity in the market, effectively communicating your value to customers, and achieving a competitive advantage. It guides your marketing efforts, influences product development, and fosters customer loyalty. Without a strong USP, your business may struggle to stand out and thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

What Is an example of a Unique Selling Proposition?

Here are a few examples of Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) from well-known brands: Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.” This USP emphasizes speedy delivery, which was a unique offering when it was introduced. FedEx: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” FedEx’s USP highlights the reliability and speed of its overnight shipping services. Apple iPhone: “The world’s most powerful personal device.” Apple’s USP focuses on the iPhone’s performance and versatility as a personal device. M&M’s: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” This USP highlights the candy’s resistance to melting, making it a convenient choice for consumers. Amazon Prime: “Free two-day shipping on eligible items.” Amazon’s USP for its Prime membership emphasizes fast and free shipping, along with additional benefits like streaming content and exclusive deals. Volvo: “For life.” Volvo’s USP focuses on safety and longevity, highlighting its commitment to building durable and secure vehicles. Geico: “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” Geico’s USP emphasizes the potential for quick and significant savings on car insurance. These examples show how USPs can vary in focus, emphasizing different aspects such as speed, reliability, convenience, performance, safety, and emotional appeal. A strong USP should resonate with the target audience and effectively communicate the unique benefits or value that a product, service, or brand offers.

How to write a Unique Selling Proposition?

Crafting an effective Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a strategic process that involves several key steps: Understand Your Target Audience: Start by gaining a deep understanding of your ideal customers. This includes demographics, preferences, pain points, and desires. Conduct thorough market research to gather insights into what matters most to your target audience and what they value in a product or service. Analyze Your Competitors: Research your competitors to identify gaps in the market or areas where you can excel. Determine how your offering compares to others in your industry. What sets it apart from the competition? Identify Your Unique Qualities: Consider your product or service’s unique features, benefits, and attributes. What makes it distinct from similar offerings? Are there unique features, technology, ingredients, processes, or benefits that you can highlight? Also, think about the emotional or experiential aspects that differentiate your offering. Solve a Problem or Fulfill a Need: Clearly define how your product or service addresses a specific problem or fulfills a need for your target audience. What pain points does it alleviate? Highlight the practical or emotional benefits that customers will gain from choosing your offering. Be Clear and Concise: When formulating your USP, keep it clear, concise, and straightforward. Aim for brevity and clarity in your messaging. Avoid jargon or technical language that might confuse your audience. Focus on the Value: Emphasize the value that customers will receive from your offering. Clearly communicate the benefits and advantages they can expect. Use specific language to articulate how your product or service meets their needs. Highlight What’s Unique: In your USP, state explicitly what sets your product, service, or brand apart from the competition. Avoid generic or overused phrases like “high quality” or “best in class” unless you can provide specific evidence to support these claims. Make it Emotional (if relevant): If your product or service can tap into emotions or aspirations, consider incorporating emotional elements into your USP. Emotional appeals can be powerful in influencing consumer choices, as people often make buying decisions based on emotions. Test and Refine: Once you’ve crafted your USP, test it with a focus group or sample audience to gather feedback and ensure that it resonates effectively. Be open to refining and iterating on your USP based on feedback and changing market conditions. Incorporate it into Your Branding and Messaging: Integrate your USP into your branding, marketing materials, website, and advertising campaigns. Ensure consistency in your messaging across all customer touchpoints to reinforce your unique value proposition. Monitor and Adapt: After launching your USP, monitor its performance in the market. Track customer responses and engagement. Be prepared to adapt your USP if market conditions change or as your product evolves. A strong USP not only attracts customers but also aligns with your brand’s values and delivers on its promise. It provides a compelling reason for customers to choose your product or service and creates a memorable and distinct identity for your brand in the marketplace.

Joel Falconer is a technical content strategist . He has been managing editor at SitePoint, AppStorm, DesignCrowd, and Envato, and features editor at The Next Web.

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Unique selling propositions: what it is, why you need one and how to write your own.

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Ashley Deland is an award-winning business consultant & owner of Deland Marketing, recognized as winning Business Elite’s 40 Under 40.

All brands face competition in the market.

Consumers are savvy and spend time researching and evaluating their options before making a purchase decision, and you need your brand to stand out to gain their business. The unique selling proposition, or USP, is the factor or consideration presented by a brand as a reason their product or service is superior to or different from that of competitors. You must pinpoint what makes your brand unique in an oversaturated market of homogeneous competitors to target your sales efforts.

Identifying your USP takes some effort and creativity. Few brands are truly unique, but they find a way to communicate their value and distinguish themselves from competitors. For example, Apple is selling innovation, not technology tools. Robinhood is selling accessible wealth for all, not a product for the ultra-rich. Patagonia is selling a movement, lifestyle and impact more than a clothing line.

Entrepreneurs need to understand how to identify their USP to boost sales and guide their brand and marketing strategies.

How do you determine your USP?

Your USP is what makes your brand better than the competition—a specific benefit that helps you stand out and leave an impression. Choosing a bold and deliberate USP influences your branding, messaging, copywriting and other marketing messages. At its core, the USP should deliver a quick answer to the customer’s most immediate question: What makes this brand different?

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The USP is based on your strengths as a brand and what you provide for your customer. On its own, uniqueness is not enough of a strong sell. You must differentiate your brand in a way that resonates with the target audience. A memorable and compelling USP will be:

• Focused on the customer. What they care about is what matters and what drives business, not necessarily what you believe to be the most unique aspect of your brand.

• Assertive but justifiable. Your USP can take a specific position that makes a case for your products versus competitor products, which is more memorable. You must have something to support it, however, or else it’s just hollow words and sentiment.

• More than a statement or slogan. While you can communicate your USP through concise statements and slogans, it should pertain to virtually every aspect of your business. Your actions must align with your words.

To be clear, a USP isn’t a marketing offer. Steep discounts, always-free shipping, exceptional customer service or a risk-free return policy are not USPs. These can help with attracting and retaining customers, but they’re not unique. They’re also easy for competitors to copy and difficult for you to defend.

How can you write a strong USP?

Determining your own USP will take some brainstorming and effort. Here’s how you can go about finding yours.

Make a list of potential differentiators of your brand and products.

Be specific. Marketing messages rely on precision and position your product or services as a solution to a customer pain point. Consider every possible USP during this process—you will narrow them down later.

Research your competitors.

To determine what makes you unique, you must know what your competitors have to offer. Research your competitors and their USPs. Consider how you can introduce your brand or products differently.

For example, women’s shoes can be positioned in a variety of ways. They can be stylish, comfortable, durable or designed for a specific purpose. Christian Louboutin set out to create chic and luxurious evening shoes, launching a brand that communicates status instantly with its signature red sole.

Avoid the temptation to develop your USP around denigrating a competitor, however. This rarely succeeds. Emphasize what your brand has to offer instead of highlighting the weaknesses of another.

Compare your possible differentiators against the needs of your audience.

Your USP should communicate your value to the customer. Evaluate your audience’s pain points and gaps left by your competitors.

It’s easy for entrepreneurs to become enamored with their own brand or products and forget that they’re in business to serve the customer. You have to step back and scrutinize what your customers want from your brand. Go deeper than traditional demographics, such as age, gender and income, and look at the underlying motivation for purchase.

Remember, price is never the only factor in the purchase decision. Your competitors may have better prices, but increased brand loyalty leads to less sensitivity to price changes. Customers today are willing to pay more for the experience.

Analyze the data.

You have your list of possible USPs, competitor research and audience information. Compile all this information and look for areas that intersect to single out your most powerful USP. Once you have an idea, you can include it in a positioning statement:

[Your brand] offers [product or service] for [audience] to [unique value proposition].

This may not be the exact statement you will use on your website and marketing materials, but it should offer a starting point to clarify your USP, your audience and the best differentiators for your brand.

Create an elevator pitch.

With your position statement as inspiration, you can create a concise elevator pitch. This is a short description of your brand that explains what you do and builds a connection with the listener. It’s called an “elevator pitch” because it should be short enough to present during a brief elevator ride.

The framework of an elevator pitch includes:

• Stating the problem.

• Presenting the solution.

• Explaining why the audience should trust your brand.

• Describing your USP.

• Concluding with a call to action.

Define your competitive edge with a powerful USP.

A strong USP is more than a persuasive statement or slogan that appears on your About page—it’s the defining characteristic that differentiates your brand or products from the rest of the market.

Your brand and products need not be truly unique, as few are, to develop a powerful USP. Instead, you’re looking for uncharted territory to claim as your own and show your customers what makes you different.

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What is a Unique Selling Proposition? (with Examples)

Written by: Victoria Yu

Victoria Yu is a Business Writer with expertise in Business Organization, Marketing, and Sales, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.

Edited by: Sallie Middlebrook

Sallie, holding a Ph.D. from Walden University, is an experienced writing coach and editor with a background in marketing. She has served roles in corporate communications and taught at institutions like the University of Florida.

Updated on February 20, 2024

What is a Unique Selling Proposition? (with Examples)

Definition of Unique Selling Proposition

How to make a unique selling proposition, five unique selling proposition examples.

When you first started your business, you might’ve had vague, lofty goals like “I want to run a successful bookstore” or “I want to start my own CPA office.”

But as you look around now, you might see hundreds of thousands of other business owners, all with the same dream as you! With so many competitors, how do you stand out from the crowd and earn a consumer’s dollar?

A unique selling proposition (USP) is what differentiates one business from another in an industry, telling customers why they should pick your business over the next one. If you’ve been struggling to make your business stand out from the competition, this guide will explain everything you need to know about USPs with examples that provide insight to help you create a great USP of your own.

Key Takeaways

A unique selling proposition (USP) is a statement of what makes your business different from others in the industry.

It’s important to have a distinct USP so that customers can remember you and what makes your product or business better than the rest.

A USP focuses a business’s marketing and sales communications and drives strategy.

A unique selling proposition (USP) is a short statement of what differentiates a brand from competitors : a product benefit, feature, or company trait that consumers value and will come to know the company for. It’s also called a unique selling point.

A USP can be based on product characteristics or price structures, but there must be some objective kernel of truth to the claim – if you claim your blankets are softer than a dream, they’d better be appropriately soft! The product itself doesn’t have to be unique, but the message and promise do. 

Why is a Unique Selling Proposition Important?

A USP clues a prospective customer in on what makes a product or company better than another one, making it easier for customers to buy the product that suits them the best. It serves as a guarantee for the customer that even if the product fails in all other aspects, at least the most important feature will perform well.

Marketers and sales reps use USPs to target specific customer pain points, telling consumers that this specific product will meet their needs better than a competitor’s. It can also drive strategy, allowing decision-makers to identify the company’s strengths and strategic position in the industry.

An important thing to note is that USPs are used for products and brands , which sometimes might not be the entire company as a whole. For example, Mars Inc. sells dozens of different candy products, and yet the USP for M&Ms sets it apart from its sibling products made by the same company: “Melts in your mouth, not your hand.”

If you’re a business owner just starting out and haven’t found your niche yet, here are some tips to help you develop and implement a USP.

1. Research your target audience

If you don’t appeal to customers, you’ll never make a single sale! That’s why the first step is to research the product’s target consumer. Create a buyer persona or ideal customer profile of the target customer you hope to sell to: their demographics, location, budget, psychographics, and more. 

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Do research and conduct surveys to get a good feel of why customers buy the products they buy: what emotions drive them , what qualities they look for, and the lingo that resonates best with them. Doing this will help you match the product with customer needs.

For example, let’s say you’re starting an online fast-fashion business. Your ideal customer would be young women in their 20s and 30s of medium to high socioeconomic status, who are very conscious of current fashion trends and want to always be wearing the coolest clothes.

2. Identify core competencies

Next up is to focus on yourself: what can your product provide that competing products can’t? It’d be tragic if you found an amazing USP that appealed to buyers, only for a competitor to steal it and do it better.

A strong unique selling proposition is based on something that a company is good at that competitors can’t copy easily, something rooted in proprietary knowledge and core competencies. 

Going back to our clothing business example, you might discover a unique shipping partner that could make your deliveries ultra-fast compared to other companies. If you enter an exclusive contract with that partner, other companies won’t be able to replicate your shipping speed.

3. Look at the industry

As the name implies, a unique selling proposition should be unique from competitors, giving consumers a benefit or emotion that other products can’t. A gap in the industry would represent a prime opportunity for a new brand.

As an inverse to the previous section, it’d be quite the faux pas if a company were to copy the USP of another. In addition to the bad blood, between two products with the same USP, customers would likely default to the better-established one, correctly identifying the other as a copycat.

Additionally, when working on your USP, research future industry forecasts and predictions to see if there are new trends you can get in on early or aging trends that you should stay away from.

With our clothing business example, your closest competitor would be Shein. Though you and Shein might sell the same clothing, Shein focuses on providing them at the lowest price, while you focus on delivering them as fast as possible. Since your USP is different from your main competitor, your USP should be safe even if you have the same items.

4. Center your brand around the USP

So now that you’ve researched your customers, yourself, and the industry and found a benefit that’s valuable and unique, all that’s left is to put it into words and focus your brand around it.

Your company’s activities, messaging, and customer experience should all be focused around your USP. This puts each employee’s activities in step with the others, and gives rise to a distinct company culture and brand identity. From the supply chain, to marketing and sales, to customer service, each action and customer interaction will work towards the same goal. You can also use your USP as the headline for your website.

For your clothing company, you might decide on “Your Closet’s Trendsetter” as your USP. The word “trendsetter” brings to mind two things: the latest fashions, and providing them as fast as possible. Therefore, your procurement managers and stylists will know to always focus on the most recent trends and predict the newest styles, and your fulfillment managers will know that speed is the top priority. Even your customer service reps will know to pay special attention to cases where packages aren’t being delivered on time because those situations break your USP’s promise to customers.

Let’s take a closer look at five strong USPs to see what makes them work.

Costco, the maze-like membership warehouse club, promises “the best possible prices on quality brand-name merchandise,” appealing to consumers’ sense of thriftiness. 

Though many companies can claim low prices and quality merchandise, Costco is unique in how it fulfills this promise – by providing everything in bulk, reducing packaging and warehousing costs, and lowering the final sticker price consumers pay.

2. Ralph Lauren

When you think of Ralph Lauren, you automatically know what they’re about: high-quality, high-end, timeless casual wear. 

Their tagline, “made to be worn,” sets them apart from other premium clothing brands by promising utility and long life of use. Though they don’t offer the latest fashion trends, their apparel looks equally as good at the racetrack as it does at a dinner party and is durable enough to serve as a closet staple for years.

Japanese lifestyle brand Muji took a look at the technicolor industry around it and decided to distinguish itself by being indistinguishable. Rather than being cheaper, more stylish, or more durable than competitors, its products are designed around the concept “this will do.”

Products at Muji are plain and unbranded, appealing to customers that are tired of overthinking purchase decisions and are looking for a minimalist lifestyle. Muji’s full name (Muji Ryohin) translates as “no-brand quality goods.”

4. Starbucks

Rather than a product quality or specific benefit, Starbucks centers its USP on its emotional appeal and service: “Love your beverage or let us know. We’ll always make it right.”

As a nationwide coffee chain, Starbucks knows that it can’t promise the most expensive artisanal coffee in each location. That’s why it focuses its unique selling proposition around excellent customer service, which it can create at any location through employee training. Rather than offering a unique product, Starbucks offers a unique service: drinks customized to the customer’s exact desires. 

CRM provider HubSpot’s USP isn’t readily verbalized on their website headline but can be determined from their product offerings: pick-and-choose hubs for each business function to make a customizable yet integrated CRM platform for the whole business.

As opposed to other CRM providers who might only offer marketing, sales, and customer service functions, HubSpot’s unique benefit is its breadth of options: it also offers content management and operations software, as well as more than a thousand other integrations and extensions. When shopping for a CRM, many new customers choose HubSpot over another service provider because of its versatility.

Having a great USP from the start focuses your efforts as you build your business from the ground up, ensuring that potential customers have a clear sense of your brand identity and immediately letting them know that your products are tailor-made for their needs.

With an effective unique selling proposition, you can focus your business activities on delivering qualities that attract buyers, hone your messages and marketing strategy, and make sales that satisfy.

Unique Selling Proposition FAQs

A value proposition is much longer than a USP, describing the actual job your product or service fulfills. You can share a value proposition with another company, but you should never share a USP.

A positioning statement is very similar to a unique selling proposition: it describes the product or service and explains how it fulfills a particular customer pain point. Internally, the USP and positioning statement might be the same thing; externally, the USP has more value because it could be used as a marketing message.

No, a USP doesn’t have to feature word-for-word in every single marketing material. But an element of the USP’s value should feature prominently in most messaging, even if it’s promoted in different ways. 

For example, if you sell snacks with a focus on health benefits, you could promote one snack as “100% organic” while another snack could have “10 essential probiotics.”

Some common pitfalls to avoid when developing a USP are being too wordy, too vague, not being opinionated enough, and not following through. 

An effective USP should make a subtle statement: if you’re “high-quality,” you imply that your competitors are low-quality in comparison. Internally, your company should also have some way to fulfill the USP’s promise: for example, ensuring high quality by using 100% cotton in your clothing lines.

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Unique Selling Proposition

Unique selling proposition

A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a quality unique to a business’s product or service that differentiates it from its rivals and compels customers to make a purchase.

The concept’s origin dates to the 1940s when advertising agencies used it as a tool to develop strong messages to communicate to target audiences. The term was coined by television advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Company [1].

In his book, Reality in Advertising [2], Reeves describes three key points that sum up to define a USP:

  • A product or a service must have ( or rather be perceived to have ) an evident proposition – “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit”.
  • The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot or does not offer. It must be either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim that others cannot make.
  • The proposition must be so strong that it has the power to move the masses, in other words, it must pull new customers.

Using the above principles, Reeves developed a television commercial in the 1950s for Anacin, an analgesic for headaches, that featured the USP of the product. The ad lasted seven years, grated and annoyed most viewers but tripled the product’s sales [3].

The ad’s success stemmed from its clear, potent claim (“like a doctor’s prescription”) which was repeated for years, and the fact that it relied on the audience’s ability to reason going against the trend toward emotional, not rational, appeals at the time.

Evolution of USP

The term USP originated in the field of advertising in the 50s. It was a product era where a firm with a “better mouse trap” and some money could promote its product.

But soon came the technology era where it became increasingly difficult to establish USP amidst an avalanche of me-too products that flooded the market. The “better mousetrap” was quickly followed by two more just like it claiming to be better than the first one in a market where competition was fierce and not always honest.

Then came the image era where successful companies discovered that reputation, or image, was more important in selling a product than any specific product feature.

But just as the me-too products killed the product era, the me-too companies killed the image era as every company tried to establish a reputation for itself. The noise level became so high that relatively few companies succeeded.

Today, firms operate in a market where advertising creativity is no longer the key. To succeed in an overcommunicated society, they must create a position in the prospect’s mind – a position that takes into consideration not only a company’s own strengths and weaknesses but those of its competitors too.

The evolution of advertising since the term USP was first coined by Rosser Reeves

The idea of USP today stands usurped by the view that what really matters in marketing a product or service is its positioning and where it sits on the spectrum of customer needs.

For example, automobile brands today claim to address all sorts of customer needs and place themselves in different positions – comfortable and reliable, powerful, and economical, feature-rich and sophisticated, rugged and tough etc. However, few ( almost none of them ) can claim to have a USP. For every Honda, there is also a similar Hyundai.

Thus, it has become more important to link the brand position with a strong claim about what makes the company special. The brand-positioning concept today has become more important than the product-positioning concept.

The eight-step process to discover USP

In the modern context, the term USP relates better to the uniqueness of a firm rather than the uniqueness of a product. It is not necessary (and extremely difficult) to find a product at which a firm is the absolute best. Most companies must compete against firms that have quite similar offerings.

But this does not mean a firm cannot find something that stands out as its own ‘high ground’. For most firms today, their USP lies in the thin zone that overlaps what they do best with what their customers want and avoids those areas where their competitors do better:

company's unique selling proposition

Thus, to have a USP, firms must find something that matters to customers and that no one else has (yet) made their forte. If a firm can defend its ability to provide that USP, it can use it as a lasting advantage.

In discovering USP, firms can make use of the eight-step process:

Step 1: Identify the target audience

The term “target audience” refers to all the people that the firm intends to reach with its idea, product, or service. Identifying the target audience automatically narrows down potential customers, although they remain faceless.

Firms can also use Customer Personas [5] (also known as “Buyer Personas” or “Marketing Personas”) which are fictional representations of the target customer audience. Personas give a concrete but fictional face to the customers and delve into the stories of buyers and their consumer behaviour.

Customer Persona – A fictional representation of the target customer audience

In the Business-to-Business (B2B) context, a firm can ask additional questions such as:

  • What is the nature of the decision-making?
  • What is the composition of a decision-making team?
  • Describe the “persona” of a decision-maker.
  • Describe the “personas” of those who may influence the decision.

Developing Personas for the target audience helps in the next step which is to identify their needs.

Step 2: Identify the needs of the target audience

The target audience will have a variety of different needs. Those needs create demand in the market that decides whether something can be successfully marketed. It is important that a firm seriously considers the factors that potential customers could find interesting and desirable along with their reasons for the same.

Needs are not always about objective qualities; they also include subjective perceptions.

For example, a customer may choose an eco-friendly laundry detergent not only because it is good for the environment but also because he/she feels good about doing something right.

Potential emotional and psychological considerations can be strong drivers. No matter how big or small, a firm must identify and list all the needs of the target audience.

A firm can ask the following questions to better identify the needs of the target audience:

  • What makes people go for the firm’s product and what prompts them to do so?
  • To what extent do people buy competitor’s products? What prompts them to do so?
  • What does a firm’s product offer that competitors cannot?
  • What is a competitor’s central message when they promote similar products?
  • Beyond the obvious, what are some subtle differences between a firm’s product and its competition?

Step 3: Identify the unmet needs of the target audience

While customer needs can be far and varied, so are competitor’s offerings that race to meet those needs. The key to building a USP lies in identifying those grey areas where there is an unmet customer need that the competition hasn’t noticed or is unable to address.

The following questions can help a firm identify unmet needs:

  • How would a perfect product that meets every customer’s need differ from the existing product?
  • To what extent does the current product meet the customer’s needs? Where is the gap?
  • Whose needs within the decision-making unit are not fully met (B2B)?
  • If the gaps were to be met, how big an advantage would this be over the competition?

Identifying unmet needs is a good way to narrow down the list before scrutinizing the opportunities that are worth pursuing.

Step 4: Rank the needs and unmet needs

A firm must organize the identified needs in order of importance to the target audience. This includes both the met and unmet needs of the customer (those identified in Steps 2 & 3). Such a ranking provides a clear hierarchy and aids in prioritization.

There are two important aspects to be considered when ranking a need:

  • How important is it to the customer
  • How well do products currently in the market satisfy those needs

If a desired product feature is valued but unsatisfied, it’s a potential opportunity for the firm to offer and enhance its product appeal. A firm can undertake such a study based on the views of market research, the sales team, or customer enquiries.

The table below provides an example of how customers see the importance of various smartphone features (Col A) and their current satisfaction level (Col B) on a scale of 1-10.

Operating System5335*****
Storage Capacity7628****
Build Quality3224****
Battery Life3321****
Display Quality4520***
Brand Value9818**
Camera Quality2412*

These features are then arranged in descending order by considering both, the importance to the customer and the current satisfaction level to calculate an opportunity score (Col C).

Col D shows the opportunity that exists for the firm to address the unmet need that both customers value and the market currently doesn’t provide.

Step 5: List all the elements of the firm’s value proposition

A firm’s value proposition is made up of all the different features and benefits of its product together with supporting services. This must be weighed against its relative importance in the eyes of the target customer.

For example, the iPhone’s value proposition includes seamless integration of hardware and software, a sleek design, and a user-friendly ecosystem that comes with Apple’s brand value and reliability. The iPhone would rank high in the eyes of a customer who uses the phone for messaging, checking emails, social media and taking pictures.

But if a chosen persona (target audience) is a “Gamer”, then the iPhone may not rank high.

This is evident from the fact that Asus sells its ROG phone at a price higher than the iPhone to a select set of customers who value gaming performance [6].

The table below (Col E) shows an example of how a firm can rank its own capabilities to meet the opportunities that are identified in Step 4.

Operating System******
Storage Capacity
Build Quality******
Battery Life*****
Display Quality
Brand Value****
Camera Quality***

Factors such as potential market size, likelihood of maintaining lead, and feasibility must be considered. The needs of customers can be very different and there are always pockets of opportunities for firms to spot and capitalize.

Step 6: Match the value proposition against competitors

A firm’s value proposition cannot be seen in isolation. It must be seen in the context of what the competitors are able to offer. This helps identify value propositions that stand out as different or better than those of the competition.

This helps a firm find areas where it’s likely to be noticed and successful.

The table below (Col F, G, H…) shows how competitors are placed in terms of their value proposition in addressing the identified opportunities:

Operating System****************
Connectivity ** ***
Storage Capacity ***
Build Quality*****************
Battery Life*******************
Display Quality *
Brand Value****************
Camera Quality*************

Step 7: Consider process aspects that appeal to the customer

A USP can also be the process that a firm uses to create its products. Firms use complex processes to create products that meet customer expectations. This includes the sources of raw materials used, the method of processing, quality checks, etc. that can be used as indicators of something special for the customer.

For example, Japanese chef’s knives are world-renowned for their unique design and durability. Those manufactured by Takamura Hamono in Echizen, Japan, can sell for well over $1000 in a market where the regular piece sells for less than $20 [7].

What sets it apart is the process of manufacturing– from heating and hammering the metal to sharpening the knife’s edge and polishing the final blade, skills that Japanese artisans dedicate a lifetime to mastering.

To identify important process aspects, a firm can ask the following questions:

  • What special processes are used to ensure that the product is of high quality?
  • In what way is the product quality ensured after the customer has bought it? (Ex: over-the-air updates, free check-ups)
  • Are there any unique aspects to how the products are made?
  • What is special about the raw materials used?
  • Are there people-related skills unique to the organization that ensure a better product?
  • How does the product meet the needs of the environment?

Step 8: Select a benefit, a feature or a story that resonates

Once a firm has analyzed the customers’ needs, unmet needs, its customer value proposition, the competitive situation, and the value chain by which its products are made, the next step is to identify that single attribute which appeals to the target audience.

Discovering USP is about identifying that one thing unique to the firm, the most compelling reason why customers would want to come to the firm.

Take Tesla as an example, which took its goal to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport and turned it into a USP. Tesla’s vision inspired its customers who saw themselves as pioneers and early adopters of the new technology.

A study by JD Power found that despite spending over $100,000, Tesla’s early customers were tolerant of the problems in Model S and Model X which seemed to have little influence on the overt affection owners had for the brand [8].

Crafting a USP

Once a firm has identified its strong points in the context of the market and relative to its competition, it can begin developing an effective message around its USP. Ideally, the message should gain attention, hold interest, arouse desire, and elicit an action (The AIDA model [9]).

However, in practice, few messages take the target audience all the way from awareness through purchase, but the AIDA framework suggests the desirable qualities of any communication.

A USP must have a strong appeal which can be either of the three types [10]:

  • Rational appeal – Engages self-interest by claiming the product will produce certain benefits such as value or performance. Industrial buyers are most responsive to rational appeals because they are knowledgeable about the product, trained to recognize value, and accountable to others for their choices. Consumers, when they buy certain big-ticket items, also tend to gather information and estimate benefits.
  • Emotional appeal – Attempts to stir up negative or positive emotions that will motivate purchase. Even when the product is similar to the competition’s product, it may have unique associations that can be promoted (examples are Harley-Davidson and Rolex). Communicators also work with negative appeals such as fear, guilt, and shame to get people to do things (brush their teeth) or stop doing things (smoking). In addition, positive emotional appeals such as humor, love, pride, and joy are often part of the message content.
  • Moral appeal – these are directed to the audience’s sense of what is right and proper. These are often used to exhort people to support social causes. An example is the appeal “Silence = Death,” which is the slogan of Act-Up, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.

Firms can also use the following elements to bring out uniqueness in their USP [11]:

  • Offering the lowest price – A firm can use this to position itself as a low-cost option. This is the Walmart strategy which has been known for its unique selling proposition of offering goods at “Everyday low prices”. But this is a rocky route to success, particularly at a time when firms backed by VC funding are prepared to sell (temporarily) at well below cost just to establish turnover.
  • Offering the highest quality – This is the Rolls Royce or the Rolex approach, where a firm promotes quality first and commands premium.
  • Offering exclusivity – the firm offers a unique packaging of information or knowledge not available elsewhere.
  • Offering the best customer service – promotes excellence in customer service (such as an impeccable response time and customized support). An additional benefit of this USP is that it compels the firm’s employees to try harder to achieve the promise.
  • Offering the widest choice – particularly appropriate to niche markets, a firm provides its customers access to hard-to-source products. A luxury perfume shop may, for example, claim to offer a wider selection of perfumes than anyone else.
  • Giving the best guarantee – this is particularly important in industries such as travel and catalog selling, where customers pay for something upfront and then have to hope that what they think they have bought is eventually delivered.

Examples of good USPs

Avis ‘s slogan “We’re number two. We try harder” was launched in the early 1960s. It was a way to differentiate Avis from its main competitor, Hertz. The slogan was also a reminder that Avis would provide the best service and value to its customers.

Good USP

FedEx Corporation – “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” FedEx no longer uses this slogan, but while it lasted it was perhaps the perfect example of a great USP. In a few words, FedEx gives its customers the guarantee that it will deliver their packages safely and on time.

M&M s – “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” was an example of how even a quirky USP can attract customer interest.

DeBeers – “A diamond is forever.” DeBeers slogan has been in use since 1948 and is still used by the company to this day. The USP here is that ( DeBeer’s ) diamonds, being almost unbreakable, last forever and thus are the perfect symbol of eternal love. (Emotional appeal)

1. “Bates Worldwide, Inc.”. Encyclopedia.com, https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences-and-law/economics-business-and-labor/businesses-and-occupations/bates-worldwide-inc . Accessed 15 Mar 2024.

2. “Reality in Advertising”. Rosser Reeves, https://www.amazon.com/Reality-Advertising-Rosser-Reeves/dp/098269413X . Accessed 13 Mar 2024.

3. “ANACIN”. Adage, https://adage.com/article/adage-encyclopedia/anacin/98317 . Accessed 13 Mar 2024.

4. “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind”. AL Ries, Jack Trout, https://www.amazon.com/dp/0071373586?ref_=cm_sw_r_cp_ud_dp_6M6R84XH3VGM81SCJC66 . Accessed 14 Mar 2024.

5. “Tips for creating customer personas”. Presentationload, https://www.presentationload.com/blog/tips-on-creating-customer-personas/ . Accessed 15 Mar 2024.

6. “Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate review: High score”. Androidpolice, https://www.androidpolice.com/asus-rog-phone-7-review/ . Accessed 14 Mar 2024.

7. “Japanese chef’s knives can sell for hundreds of dollars each. Here’s what makes them so expensive.”. Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.in/retail/news/japanese-chefs-knives-can-sell-for-hundreds-of-dollars-each-heres-what-makes-them-so-expensive-/articleshow/84565861.cms . Accessed 14 Mar 2024.

8. “Beyond the Hype”. J D Power, https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/tesla-beyond-hype . Accessed 14 Mar 2024.

9. “AIDA Model”. Corporate Finance Institute, https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/management/aida-model-marketing/ . Accessed 20 Mar 2024.

10. “Marketing Management”. Philip Kotler, https://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Management-Philip-Kotler/dp/1292093234 . Accessed 20 Mar 2024.

11. “Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus”. Tim Hindle, https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Management-Ideas-Gurus-Hindle/dp/1846686075 . Accessed 20 Mar 2024.

12. “We are number two but we try harder: the underdog narrative of progressivism”. Othmar’s Trombone, https://othmarstrombone.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/we-are-number-two-but-we-try-harder-the-underdog-narrative-of-progressivism/ . Accessed 20 Mar 2024.

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What is a Unique Selling Proposition? 5 Examples of USPs in Sales

What is a Unique Selling Proposition? 5 Examples of USPs in Sales

If you want your business to succeed, especially in a competitive industry, you need to position your solution to stand out.

That's where a unique selling proposition (USP) comes in.

Being unique helps your brand stand out while giving you an advantage. Craft the wrong USP, however, and blend in with everyone else.

In this post, you'll discover a unique selling proposition, why it's important for sales, five fantastic examples of a USP, and how to craft a strong, unique selling proposition for your small business .

What is a Unique Selling Proposition?

USPs are often used in advertising and marketing campaigns to give potential customers a reason to choose your business over competitors.

For example, if you're selling a new type of toothbrush specifically designed to reach difficult-to-clean areas of the mouth, your USP might be "The most effective way to clean your entire mouth."

If you're selling a new running shoe designed for long-distance runners, your USP might be "The lightest and most comfortable running shoe that can go the distance."

USPs help differentiate your business in your marketing efforts, but it is crucial to ensure they are unique. Otherwise, they will blend in with all the other marketing messages consumers see daily.

Instead, focus on what makes your business special and use that to create a USP that will grab attention and generate interest.

Why is a Unique Selling Proposition Important in Sales?

In any sales situation, it is important to articulate what sets your product or service apart from the competition. This unique selling proposition differentiates you in the marketplace and allows you to charge a premium price .

It also enables your sales team to be more confident in their pitch .

While many factors go into creating a successful USP, the most important include communicating what your product/service does and deeply understanding your target audience.

Perhaps the most challenging part of creating a USP is distilling it into one simple, clear statement that your target customer can easily understand.

However, if you can do so, you will be well on your way to closing more sales and creating a successful business.

Key Components of an Effective Unique Selling Proposition

An effective, unique selling proposition must capture the attention of your target market and convince them that your product or service is the best solution to their problem.

To do this, it must be clear, concise, and compelling. It should be easy for your target market to understand and remember. Most importantly, your company’s USP should be unique to your business.

There are many ways to develop a compelling USP, but all successful USPs share three key components: clarity, conciseness, and uniqueness.

Clarity is essential when developing your USP. Your target market should be able to understand your USP quickly and easily, so avoid using technical jargon or difficult-to-understand terms.

Conciseness is also essential. Your USP should be short and to the point. It should fit on a business card or in a Tweet.

Finally, your USP must be unique. It should distinguish your business from your competitors and clarify why customers should choose you over them.

5 Great Examples of Unique Selling Propositions

Below are 5 fantastic examples of how businesses have used a USP as a differentiator within their traditional and digital marketing strategy.


Perhaps one of the most well-known unique selling propositions is Domino's , "fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less -- or it's free."

It is clear, concise, and to the point. It tells customers exactly what they can expect and want from Domino's -- fresh, hot pizza delivered quickly.

In 1989 , Domino's had to discontinue this USP as they had a rising number of delivery drivers in car accidents that resulted in death.

While it was a great offer and a unique selling point, it resulted in reckless driving to uphold the offer. Which meant they needed to make a change to their business model.

Shopify is a leading e-commerce business whose USP is "We help reduce the barriers to business ownership to make commerce better for everyone."

Before Shopify, starting an online store was complicated and required a lot of technical know-how. Shopify's USP is that they make it easy and affordable for anyone to start an online store, regardless of their technical skills.

This USP has helped them to become one of the most popular eCommerce platforms .

Dr. Squatch

Dr. Squatch's USP is "high-performance personal care products in manly scents with only the finest ingredients Mother Nature has to offer."

They clearly define who their target customer is as well as the main benefit of their products.

They offer high-quality cleaning soaps, shampoos, deodorants, etc., to men made of natural ingredients.

Under Armor

Under Armor's USP is "Performance solutions you never knew you needed and can't imagine living without."

Under Armor is a retailer that specializes in sports apparel, footwear, and accessories.

Branding and having a unique selling proposition are especially important in the clothing industry, as it can be challenging to differentiate yourself.

Under Armor's USP cleverly states that its products are unique and provide an experience you won't be able to find anywhere else.

Slack's USP is "From Fortune 100 companies to corner markets, millions of people worldwide use Slack to connect their teams, unify their systems, and drive their business forward."

This is a fantastic, unique selling point. Unifying systems having easy-to-use communication channels between different people and departments in a business is extremely valuable.

Their fast growth shows this is a selling proposition many business owners are happy to involve themselves with.

They also clearly state that Slack is designed for large corporations to entrepreneurs with small startups and teams.

How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition for Your Business

Now that you've seen some examples of great USPs, let's look at how you can create a unique selling proposition for your business.

Here are a few simple steps to develop an effective USP for your business.

Know Your Ideal Customer Avatar

The first step is to know your ideal customer. You can't create an effective USP if you don't know who you're targeting.

Creating a customer profile is a great way to get to know your ideal customer.

Your customer avatar should include the following:

  • Demographics : Age, gender, location, income, occupation, education, etc.
  • Habits : What do they do daily? What do they like to do in their free time?
  • Goals : What are their short-term and long-term goals?
  • Problems : What problems do they have that your product or service can solve?

Before crafting an effective, unique selling proposition, you must clearly understand your target customer’s needs. What are their pain points? What are their needs? What motivates them to buy?

Once you have a clear idea of your ideal customer avatar, you can use this information to help craft your unique selling proposition.

Briefly Look at Your Competition's USPs

After identifying your target customer, study your competition to understand how they market their unique selling proposition.

Doing this will give you a good starting point for positioning your business.

Make a list of all the different USPs you see.

What specific benefits are they highlighting?

Who are they targeting in their messaging?

How is your product/service different or superior to theirs?

By looking at your competition's USPs, you can find things you like and don't like and take inspiration from a few better ones (not copy).

Determine the Main Differentiating Factors of Your Product/Service

What do you offer that your competition doesn't? What do you do better than anyone else?

These are the things you need to focus on when brainstorming your USP.

Some factors you may want to consider are:

  • Quality : Do you offer a higher quality product/service than your competition?
  • Price : Is your product/service more affordable than your competition?
  • Selection : Do you offer a wider selection than your competition
  • Convenience : Is your product/service more convenient than your competition?

Remember that you don't have to be better than your competition in all of these areas, but you should focus on the ones most important to your ideal customer.

For example, quality will be more critical than price if you're selling a luxury item. But if you're selling an everyday item, price is likely more important than quality.

Think about what's most important to your ideal customer and use that to help you determine your product/service's main competitive advantage.

Keep it Simple

As mentioned, your USP should be short, sweet, and to the point.

Your prospective customers should easily understand what you're offering and why they should do business with you rather than a competitor.

Don't try to cram too much information into your USP. Instead, highlight the one or two most important things that make your business unique.

Trying to pack too much information into your USP will dilute the overarching message and ultimately become confusing and ineffective.

**Another example I recently saw and loved : We help existing gym owners get their gyms to total capacity within 28 days.

A gym owner wants more members. This company claims they'll fill their gym in 28 days or less. A pretty compelling USP. **

4 Unique Selling Proposition Mistakes to Avoid

Now that you know what should be included in your USP, let's look at a few things you should avoid.

Making it Overcomplicated & Long

First and foremost, avoid making your USP overly complicated or confusing. As I've said, it should be short, sweet, and to the point.

Your ideal customer should be able to understand your USP within a few seconds of reading it. You've missed the mark if they have to read it a few times or think too hard about what you're trying to say.

Being Too General

Another thing to avoid is being too general in your USP. Again, you want to focus on the one or two most important things that make your business unique.

Don't try to be everything to everyone. This will only make your USP weaker and less effective. You want people reading it to easily be able to say, "This is for me" or "This is not for me."

Making Claims You Can't Back up

Third, avoid making claims in your USP that you can't back up. For example, don't say you're the "best" or "most affordable" unless you can prove it.

Making false claims will only damage your credibility and business in the long run.

Focusing on Features

Finally, focus on your product or service's benefits, not its features.

The truth is your ideal customer doesn't care about the features of your product or service. They only care about how it will benefit them.

For example, if you're selling a new type of vacuum cleaner with a longer battery life than similar models on the market, don't focus on the battery life in your USP.

Instead, focus on how that longer battery life will benefit the customer, such as vacuuming for longer periods uninterrupted.

By focusing on the benefits , you'll be much more likely to create a tagline that resonates with your ideal customer and get them to take action.

Ready to Create a Unique Selling Proposition That Stands Out?

Your unique selling proposition (USP) communicates how you help customers in a unique way to your company.

By creating one, you enable your salespeople and marketing team to create more targeted and effective messaging in all your marketing efforts; on your website, landing pages, email outreach & follow-up, on social media, etc.

Having a strong USP is a crucial component of any business. It defines what sets your business apart and helps you attract your ideal customers.

More often than not, a unique selling proposition will require optimization. So don’t get frustrated if a punchy value proposition doesn’t come to mind.

When crafting your USP, focus on the main differentiating factors of your product/service and keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

If you do these things, you'll be well on your way to developing a strong USP that will help you close more sales, increase your market share, and attract new customers to your business.

Who are we? Close builds fast, powerful sales software for businesses of the future. If your current CRM isn’t built for growth, take our 14-day free trial for a spin and see why the world's fastest-scaling sales teams use Close.


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14 Powerful Unique Selling Proposition Examples From Real-Life Brands

These ecommerce and SaaS unique selling proposition examples will inspire your marketing efforts and help you convert more website visitors into buyers.

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Standing out in a sea of online businesses can be hard. You’re not just competing with your local mom and pop stores, you’re also up against companies from all over the world who can tap into your audience with just a few clicks. 

Knowing how to position your brand, products, and services can put you at a serious advantage, not just for standing out, but also for attracting and maintaining a loyal customer base. 

This is where a unique selling proposition (USP) or value proposition comes into play. It differentiates you from your competitors and guides your branding, SEO, and marketing strategy so you can reach the right people with the right message. 

Iconic brands like Warby Parker , Toms , Death Wish Coffee , and Saddleback Leather have all grown huge brands off the back of their USPs – you can do the same. 

What is a USP? 

A unique selling proposition is a definitive feature or benefit that makes your business different from the competition (and, in many ways, makes it better too). 

Your USP can refer to the way you do business, like using sustainable materials and local labor, or the specific benefits it gives prospective customers, like a faster way to manage their accounts or a cheaper alternative to their usual face cream. 

The most important thing about your USP is that it underpins everything you do, from your content marketing efforts, general marketing campaigns, and sales to new product features, customer support, and even your internal operations. 

The 3 elements of a great USP 

Great USPs actively show what makes a brand different. They are clear, concise, and leave absolutely no confusion. But a good USP also: 

  • Appeals to a certain audience so you’re not trying to appeal to everyone 
  • Focuses on one big benefit or feature rather than trying to be superior in every way
  • Encompasses something that your customers want, need, or expect, like stronger coffee or a vegan shampoo 

14 unique selling proposition examples in action

Ready to be inspired? Here are some of the best USPs from 14 ecommerce and SaaS brands.  

Dossier ’s header puts its USP simply: “the fair alternative to luxury perfumes.” 

There’s a good chance consumers associate luxury perfume with a high price tag, but Dossier tries to quell those fears straight away on its homepage, appealing to an audience that might want to smell luxurious but don’t necessarily have the budget. 

dossier home page unique selling proposition example

The retailer continues this messaging throughout their website. But there is an additional USP that gives Dossier another dimension aside from selling “cheap luxury perfume.” The brand also highlights that its products are ethical and high-quality – it’s not just another knock-off perfume distributor. 

dossier yes to smelling good

2. Nomadica

“We’re making wine a stress-free experience”, claims the Nomadica website. The brand goes on to state its mission, which is to bring the high-end sommelier experience out of the restaurant and into people’s homes. 

wine somelier

The unique selling propositions example is that the brand sells top-class wines in cans for sustainability (and, arguably, a more relaxed experience) – perfect for wine lovers who rarely frequent high-end restaurants or who simply want to enjoy good wine from the comfort of their sofa.

Like Dossier, Nomadica also has sustainability as a unique selling point. It’s “About” page clearly defines its stance on the environment: “our wines are carefully sourced from growers who practice sustainable farming methods” and the cans reduce emissions from shipping by up to 80%. 

3. Good Dye Young

Good Dye Young ’s USP puts it first and foremost as a community that values vibrant self-expression and creativity. It also happens to “make bad ass hair products.” Interestingly, the USP is less about the product and more about the purpose of the online store and its big-picture vision. 

good dye young unique selling proposition example

The strong unique selling proposition is embodied throughout the site, from the copywriting and the bright, bold images to the community hashtag that brings together customer stories in one place. 

4. Fishwife

Tinned fish isn’t a particularly sexy product, but Fishwife has managed to carve a niche in a relatively male-dominated trade. Its USP as a “female-founded and led food company aiming to make ethically sourced, premium, and delicious tinned seafood a staple in every cupboard” sets it apart from other tinned fish brands that are notoriously peppered with pictures of bearded fishermen. 

fishwife home page unique selling proposition example

In this unique selling proposition example, as well as spotlighting the women-focused side of the brand, the website also highlights its commitment to sustainability by sourcing from responsibly managed fisheries. 

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5. Touchland 

Hand sanitizer has been a core part of our lives for the past couple of years, but if you’re tired of the alcohol smell and sticky gel, Touchland has a solution. It touts itself as the “world’s first rejuvenating hand sanitizer mist”, adding that its products are predominantly for the senses (not for eliminating germs as we’re so used to). 

ritual hand sanitizer unique selling proposition example

Who is this product for? Touchland states right at the top of its homepage that its beautifully packaged spritzers are for those “who live life sensorily, curiously, passionately, and fearlessly… but not recklessly.” 

Combining its USP (nice smelling, non-sticky sanitizer) with a specific audience has helped Touchland carve a niche in a particularly trendy product category. 

Olipop puts a spin on the “soda you grew up sipping.” We’ve long been told that fizzy pop is bad for us, but the brand has managed to transform an unhealthy treat into a delicious and good-for-you option with “microbiome and digestive health support.” 

The USP on the homepage states it’s “a new kind of soda” (the trademark sign shows this tagline is well and truly entrenched in the brand). It’s easy to see this USP in action throughout the site and Olipop’s products, with its range of old classics that have added “plant fiber, prebiotics, and botanicals” to make them healthy. 

Olipop homepage unique selling proposition

7. Ruggable  

Everybody loves a good rug, but there’s always been a very clear line between an indoor rug and an outdoor rug. Not anymore, thanks to Ruggable , a brand that sells “the indoor, outdoor, use anywhere rug.” 

This USP filters through to the products, which are machine washable and can be used in any room, regardless of whether it has a roof or not. 

ruggable unique selling proposition example

8. Robinhood 

Investing is notoriously confusing and can be a huge headache. Robinhood understands its customers’ frustrations and has addressed them with a product that simplifies the investment process. 

robinhood example

The USP on the homepage is short and snappy: “investing is simple here.” It has the potential to put potential investors’ minds at ease the moment they land on the site. 

9. Minisocial

Influencer marketing is huge and many brands are scrambling to partner with well-known social media stars. But Minisocial comes at it from a different angle and this unique selling proposition example is that it “pairs brands with micro-influencer creators.” 

mini social

This sets it apart from the influencer tools that pair brands with big-name accounts and instead focuses on matching smaller influencers to DTC brands in the food and beverage industry, the pet food industry, the fashion industry, and many more. 

10. Webflow

Online business is on the rise, which means brands need a website – but what if they don’t have any dev skills? In swoops Webflow , a tool that helps you create “the site you want – without the dev time.” 

Its USP is that it helps users create beautiful and optimized websites without the hassle of coding. In fact, its message is clear: “your website should be a marketing asset, not an engineering challenge.” 

webflow unique selling proposition example

11. Gorgias

There are plenty of customer service helpdesk tools out there, but Gorgias pitches itself as “the ecommerce helpdesk that turns your customer service into a profit center.” 

The USP encapsulates both a target market (ecommerce brands) and a benefit it gives its users (revenue from support tickets). It’s particularly important for brands like Gorgias that have a ton of emerging competition to stand out, otherwise they run the risk of blending into the background and ultimately being a flash in the pan. 

gorgias unique selling proposition example

12. Podia 

Podia is an all-in-one course platform. It’s definitely not the only course creation platform out there, which is why it puts its USP right at the top of its homepage. It doesn’t just allow users to set up their courses and run them, it also has features to host webinars and build a community. 

But there’s another spoke to its USP: users never have to “worry about getting a bunch of different tools to talk to each other again.” Tapping into a very specific frustration like this will help them stand out amongst the competition. 

podia homepage

Slack has propelled itself to the top of its industry (partly thanks to remote working during the pandemic), but it’s done this by having a very strong USP: “Slack is your digital HQ.” It isn’t “just” a team chat tool, it also provides a central place to work, store documents and set tasks. 

slack hq unique selling proposition example.

This USP has capitalized on what consumers need right now and, further down the page, it reiterates this with the slogan “welcome to where the future works.” 

slack secondary usp example

14. PandaDoc

PandaDoc has also risen to fame during the pandemic and that’s because its USP tackles a specific pain point its potential customers were facing: finding a central place to manage, edit, and sign important documents. 

The USP is splashed across the header of the homepage and the use of the word “finally” shows that it understands people are struggling with this pain point.

pandadoc home page

How to write a powerful USP 

It can be tricky trying to find the right words or even identify your USP when you’re so entrenched in your small business. Obviously , you can see that it’s different from your competitors, but can everyone else? 

Here are some tips for writing a USP. 

  • Write a list: jot down all of the things that make your business, products, or services different from your competitor’s – get specific, like your return policy, your low prices, or your quality products.  
  • Research the competition: you won’t know what makes you stand out if you don’t know what you’re up against. Dig into their USPs to see how you can position your brand in a different way. 
  • Identify your customers’ needs: research your customers using data and surveys to discover their most pressing needs and determine how your USP can address those needs. 
  • Combine needs and differentiators: cross-reference the list of things that make your successful business different and your list of customer needs to pinpoint any that overlap. 
  • Consider how you will use your USP: think about where you can apply your USP throughout your business, including your name, marketing, and branding. Your USP should embody everything you do! 

Don’t forget to test your USP!

Once you’ve come up with a USP, it’s time to test it. There’s no point going all-in on fresh branding and messaging if your customers don’t relate to the USP you’ve chosen. Instead of just implementing it and leaving it, run tests to see how your customers feel about it. You can: 

  • Analyze different USPs using A/B testing across your site with separate landing pages
  • Conduct user testing to see if website visitors understand what makes you different
  • Run surveys and interviews with customers to get their thoughts on your USP 

Your USP informs everything you do

Your USP is an integral part of your brand. It informs your digital marketing strategy, how you do business, and who you’re targeting, but it also helps customers differentiate you from your competitors. 

Start by figuring out what makes you different and researching your competitors and customers to find out where your niche market lies. Don’t forget to test your USP to make sure it resonates with the right people – try using surveys and data to determine how customers feel about your value proposition and experiment with different ways to present it. And finally, take some of the examples we shared above as inspiration for your efforts.

At the end of the day, your unique selling proposition is a reflection of your core brand value. So, here’s to making it the best it can be! 

About the Author

Caroline appert.

Caroline Appert is the Director of Marketing at The Good. She has proven success in crafting marketing strategies and executing revenue-boosting campaigns for companies in a diverse set of industries.

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What Is a Unique Selling Proposition and How to Write One

  • by Francesca Nicasio

minute read

What Is a Unique Selling Proposition and How to Write One

Feeling overwhelmed? Not sure where to start with a USP? Read this guide to learn:

  • What a unique selling proposition is
  • Why your business needs a USP

How to write a unique selling proposition

Best practices for writing a usp, how to use a usp in your marketing strategy, how and where to use a usp on your online store, examples of strong unique selling propositions, start an online store and scale your business.

Bring your products online and start selling fast with our foolproof quickstart guide.

What is a unique selling proposition (USP)?

A unique selling proposition, also known as a unique value proposition, describes what differentiates your brand, business, or product(s) from the competition. A USP is usually expressed in a sentence or two and explains what you do, who you do it for, the benefits your brand or products provide for your customers, and what makes you different. 

It’s used internally to inform marketing efforts and externally to strengthen brand recognition. A unique selling proposition is supposed to serve as the basis for all marketing decisions at a company. While a USP is similar to a slogan, the two aren’t the same. A unique selling proposition is often longer than a slogan and can be used to help write a slogan.

Why do you need a USP?

Coming up with a unique selling proposition may seem like a small step in the bigger picture of starting a business , but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Here’s why you need a USP.

Guides marketing decisions

Your business should have a unique selling proposition because this statement guides the rest of your marketing decisions, such as your branding and style guides, digital marketing campaigns , design choices, copywriting decisions, and even the types of products you sell. Every font you use, product you develop, and Instagram caption you write should tie back to and support your brand’s USP.

Strengthens brand identity

When you make every marketing decision with your unique selling proposition in mind, you strengthen your brand’s identity and make it more memorable.

Attracts your target market

A well-written USP speaks to your ideal customer. Therefore, when all marketing decisions are based on this statement, every decision helps you attract your target market.

The formula for writing a compelling unique selling proposition is: What + Who + How

What your business does

First, describe what your company, brand, or product does. Write down whatever comes to mind, then edit this statement down to a few words.

Who you do it for

Next, describe your ideal customer. Do they fit a specific demographic? What’s their common interest? What do they believe in? What do they like to do? Summarize who your customer is.

How you’re different

Finally, explain what makes your brand or product different and the value you bring to your customer. Describe the benefits your customers gain when they shop with you or use your products.

After you’ve jotted down some ideas for your unique selling proposition, follow these tips to refine your statement.

  • Keep it short. The more concise your USP, the more memorable it will be. Your customers should be able to recall or summarize your statement.
  • Don’t be generic. Check out your competitors’ USPs. If yours sounds like theirs, change it up. The more unique your USP, the more memorable it will be.
  • Keep your audience in mind. We can’t reiterate this tip enough because it’s so important for writing a compelling USP!

Let your unique selling proposition serve as a guide for your marketing strategy. Here’s how your USP should impact various aspects of your marketing plan .

Your logo should visually express as much about your USP as possible. Ideally, the name of your business will hint at what you do and the design will appeal to your ideal customer.

Brand guidelines

Your USP should be taken into consideration throughout your brand guidelines, including the fonts and colors you use to represent your brand. For example, if your USP has to do with sustainability, you may choose organic-looking fonts and earth tones, like greens, blues, and browns.

Style guide

In addition to visual brand guidelines, you need a style guide that conveys your brand’s voice and tone in writing. Your USP will impact this by steering you towards language that appeals to your audience.

Think of a slogan as a more concise version of your unique selling proposition. It should explain what you do in a way that appeals to your ideal customer and suggests your brand’s benefits.

Keep your USP in the forefront every time you design a new product or consider purchasing a product from a wholesaler. Will this product deliver on your brand promise? Will your target market find it useful? Will it benefit your customers? In your marketing strategy, play up the aspects of your products that relate to your USP.

Store design

Your store should be the spatial embodiment of your USP. Beyond your products and branding, which are guided by your USP, consider using decor and fixtures that also support this vision. For example, if your store specializes in frames made of recycled materials, you could build fixtures out of reclaimed or recycled materials. 

eCommerce store design

The design of your ecommerce site should be influenced by your logo, brand guidelines, and style guide, which all have roots in your unique selling proposition.

Marketing campaigns

Every marketing campaign you implement, and every aspect of the campaign—from email newsletters and social media posts to billboards and in-store posters—should highlight the unique benefits of your brand and products, and do so in a way that appeals to your ideal customers. 

Here’s a deeper dive into where and how to use your unique selling proposition throughout your ecommerce website .

While you don’t need to include your USP word for word on your homepage, placing at least your slogan on the first page of your website will help orient newcomers and strengthen your brand for returning customers.

“About us” page

Your “about us” page is the place to display your unique selling proposition loud and proud. Begin with this key statement, then let customers know other important details about your company.

Meta descriptions

Search engine optimization helps people find your website. Your website’s meta description briefly describes what people will find when they click onto your website from the search engine results page. It’s a good idea to use your USP as the meta description for your homepage to let people know what you’re all about and attract your ideal customer.

Now you know everything you need to know about how to write a unique selling proposition for your brand. If you’re still stumped, take a look at these real-world examples of effective USPs from Reformation and Nordstrom.


On sustainable womenswear brand Reformation’s “about us” page you’ll find this statement, which closely resembles a unique selling proposition: 

“Today, we make effortless silhouettes that celebrate the feminine figure and pioneer sustainable practices, focusing on people and progress each step of the way.”

This statement accomplishes the three things every USP needs to do: explain what the brand does, for whom they do this, and how they do it.

The “what” is “mak[ing] effortless silhouettes.” By describing that these silhouettes celebrate the feminine figure, this statement appeals to female customers. Reformation creates this effortless silhouette for its customers by pioneering sustainable practices. That’s how they do what they do.

This USP also informs Reformation’s unforgettable slogan: “Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re # 2.”

Department store Nordstrom also displays its unique selling proposition on its “about us” page:

“Nordstrom, Inc. is a leading fashion retailer offering compelling clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and kids. Since 1901, we’ve been committed to providing our customers with the best possible service—and to improving it every day.”

This is a good example of a slightly longer USP that answers the three key questions: what does Nordstrom do? Whom does Nordstrom serve? What makes Nordstrom different?

According to the USP, Nordstrom is “a leading fashion retailer offering compelling clothing, shoes and accessories…” So, the “what” is selling garments, footwear, and accessories.

The “who” is “men, women and kids.” 

And finally, what makes Nordstrom different is its commitment to “providing our customers with the best possible service.” So, if you’re a man, woman, or child who needs clothes, shoes, or accessories and wants an elevated customer service experience, Nordstrom is the retailer for you.

Wrapping up: How to write a unique selling proposition

Not only does a unique selling proposition set your business apart from other businesses like it, it also serves as the north star for all of your other marketing decisions. If you’re just getting started on your entrepreneurial journey, invest ample time into crafting your USP. If you’ve been in business for years and want to strengthen your unique selling proposition, implement our advice.

Once your USP and marketing plan are in order, Lightspeed POS and eCommerce can help you run your business efficiently and effectively. Watch a demo today .

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Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio has been writing about retail and hospitality for over 10 years. She focuses on producing actionable content pieces that helps retailers and restaurants improve their operations and bottom line. Having been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, The Huffington Post and other top-tier publications, Francesca stays at the forefront of industry trends, helping businesses adapt and thrive.

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  • Write Your Business Plan | Part 1 Overview Video
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  • What Is Your Unique Selling Proposition? Use This Worksheet to Find Your Greatest Strength.
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What Is Your Unique Selling Proposition? Use This Worksheet to Find Your Greatest Strength. Learn how to hone in on the things about your business that truly stand apart from the rest.

By Eric Butow Edited by Dan Bova Oct 27, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Your unique selling proposition helps investors understand why customers will be excited by your product or service.
  • Features, price, availability, expertise and endorsements are just some common unique selling strengths your plan can highlight.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This is part 7 / 9 of Write Your Business Plan: Section 3: Selling Your Product and Team series.

Unique selling proposition is a term for whatever it is that makes you different from and better than the competition in the eyes of your customers. It's why they buy from you instead of from someone else.

What Makes It Worthwhile?

A product description is more than a mere listing of product features. You have to highlight your product's most compelling characteristics, such as low cost or uniquely high quality, that will make it stand out in the marketplace and attract buyers willing to pay your price. Even the simplest product has a number of unique potential selling strengths.

Many of the common unique selling strengths are seemingly contradictory. How can both mass popularity and exclusive distribution be strengths? The explanation is that it depends on your market and what its buyers want.

Related: Testing Your Values, Living Your Brand

Features. If your product is faster, bigger, or smaller, or comes in more colors, sizes, and configurations than others on the market, you have a powerful selling strength. In fact, if you can't offer some combination of features that sets you apart, you'll have difficulty writing a convincing plan.

Price. Everybody wants to pay less for a product. If you can position yourself as the low-cost provider (and make money at these rock-bottom prices), you have a powerful selling advantage. Conversely, high-priced products may appeal to many markets for their better quality and high-end value. People with discerning tastes want quality and do not buy based solely on price points, so saving money is not always the issue. Price is also dependent on other issues such as service. People will pay more for good customer service.

Time Savings. People buy products to help them expedite a process. If yours is faster and can help your customers get out of the office and on their way home more quickly, they want it. Today, everyone is looking to save time, so products and services that help people do that are valuable.

Ease of Transport. The mobile world has taken over. People are using their mobile phones to go online as much if not more than their laptops. How mobile is your product? Today's consumers like to take things with them—they want apps and gadgets that are portable.

Related: How to Define Your Product and Set Your Prices

Availability. Typically, the more easily accessible your products are the better it is for business. In most cases, you want to have products and services that people can get quickly. Today, thanks to the internet, you no longer need brick-and-mortar locations in many communities. Scarcity, however, can also generate a higher demand, so you may have a marketing plan to release products at intervals and let the demand—and the desire—build. Scarcity doesn't mean that you will be running out anytime soon. For service providers, availability means a good location or locations that are easy to get to.

Cutting Edge/New. If you have something to offer that is not on the market, this is a major selling point or competitive edge. Get out there and patent it, market it, and sell it before someone comes along and steals your thunder. You can also utilize technology to build upon products or services you already provide, such as an app.

Training and Support. These are components of service that have become increasingly important, particularly for high-technology products. For many sophisticated software products and electronic devices, a seller who can't provide tech support to buyers will have no chance of success.

Related: Use This Worksheet to Write a Product Description That Sells

Financing. Whether you "tote the note" and guarantee credit to anyone, offer innovative leasing, do buybacks, or have other financing alternatives, you'll find that giving people different, more convenient ways to pay can lend your product a convincing strength.

Customer Service. Excellent service is perhaps the most important thing you can add to any product or service today. In a world where word travels fast through social media, you want to provide top-notch customer service. The shoe giant Zappos has built its reputation by providing excellent customer service. Make this a top priority.

Reputation. Why do people pay $10,000 for a Rolex? The Rolex reputation is the reason. At its most extreme, reputation can literally keep you in business, as is the case with many companies, such as IBM and Walmart, whose well-developed reputations have tided them over in hard times.

Knowledge. Your knowledge and the means you have of imparting that to customers is an important part of your total offering. Retailers of auto parts, home improvement supplies, and all sorts of other goods have found that simply having knowledgeable salespeople who know how to replace the water pump in a '95 Chevy will lure customers in and encourage them to buy.

Experience. "We've been there. We've done thousands of installations like yours, and there's no doubt we can make this one work as well." Nothing could be more soothing to a skeptical sales prospect than to learn that the seller has vast experience at what he's doing. If you have ample experience, make it part of your selling proposition.

Fast Delivery. Nobody wants to wait for anything anymore. If you can offer overnight shipping, on-site service, or 24/7 availability, it can turn an otherwise unremarkable product or service into a very attractive one.

Related: How to Effectively Promote Your Business to Customers and Investors

Endorsements. There's a reason Peyton Manning makes millions of dollars a year from endorsements. People want to relate to Peyton and share his aura, if only obliquely.

Other Factors. There are many wild cards unique to particular products, or perhaps simply little used in particular industries, with which you can make your product stand out. For instance, consider a service agreement guarantee. When consumers know they can get a product repaired under a service guarantee or return a faulty product for a refund, they're often more likely to buy it over otherwise superior competitors offering less powerful warranties.

Unique Selling Proposition Worksheet

When you've explained the selling propositions associated with your product in each of these categories, give each one a score from one to ten based on your evaluation of how convincing a case you can make for that being a unique selling proposition. The one or two strengths with the highest scores will be your candidates for inclusion in your business plan product description.

unique selling proposition for business plan

Common Plan Pitfall

Don't count on getting your product into a major retailer on its own merits. The glut of tens of thousands of new products introduced annually, combined with the existing plethora of more than 30,000 products stocked by a typical supermarket, puts retailers in the driver's seat. They demand—and get from almost all new product makers—slotting fees, which are simply payments for the right to be on store shelves. The same goes for big online retailers like Amazon.

Related: Who Is Your Customer? 4 Questions to Ask.

More in Write Your Business Plan

Section 1: the foundation of a business plan, section 2: putting your business plan to work, section 3: selling your product and team, section 4: marketing your business plan, section 5: organizing operations and finances, section 6: getting your business plan to investors.

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unique selling proposition for business plan


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What Is A Unique Selling Proposition And Why It Matters In Business

A unique selling proposition (USP) enables a business to differentiate itself from its competitors. Importantly, a USP enables a business to stand for something that they, in turn, become known among consumers. A strong and recognizable USP is crucial to operating successfully in competitive markets.

A is a distinctive and compelling feature or benefit that sets a product, service, or brand apart from its competitors in the eyes of customers. It answers the crucial question: “Why should customers choose us over others?”
The primary purpose of a USP is to attract and retain customers by creating a strong, memorable, and differentiated brand identity. It helps businesses communicate their unique value and competitive advantage to target audiences.
– : A USP must be something that competitors cannot easily replicate.
– : It should address a specific customer need or desire.
– : A good USP is easy to remember.
– : It should align with the overall brand image and be consistently delivered.
– Developing a USP often involves market research to identify customer needs, competitor analysis to assess the competition’s strengths and weaknesses, and creative brainstorming to come up with unique value propositions.
– It may also involve testing different USPs to determine which resonates most with the target audience.
– : “Volvo’s USP is safety. For life.” This USP emphasizes the brand’s commitment to safety, setting it apart in the automotive industry.
– : “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” FedEx’s USP focuses on speed and reliability in shipping services.
– : “Think different.” Apple’s USP emphasizes innovation and creativity.
– A strong USP can lead to increased brand recognition, customer loyalty, and market share.
– It helps in creating effective marketing campaigns that resonate with the target audience.
– A well-defined USP can justify premium pricing for products or services.
– Developing a truly unique and compelling USP can be challenging, especially in highly competitive markets.
– Maintaining consistency in delivering the promised USP can be demanding.
While a USP focuses on what sets a product or brand apart from competitors, a is a broader statement that communicates the overall value that customers can expect to receive. A USP is a subset of the value proposition.
A Unique Selling Proposition is a critical element of effective marketing and branding. It helps businesses stand out in crowded markets by highlighting their unique advantages. A well-crafted USP can drive customer engagement, loyalty, and business success.

Table of Contents

Understanding a unique selling proposition

A unique selling proposition allows a business to stand for something specific that they become known for among their consumers. 

This is in direct contract to businesses that stand for nothing in particular.

They take a generalist approach to marketing and product development and thus do not allow a point of difference to develop in the market.

In attempting to become known for everything, they become known for nothing.

A strong USP which encompasses a specific consumer benefit has the ability to:

  • Attract (and retain) new customers, reducing customer churn rate.
  • Build customer loyalty.
  • Reduce costs associated with customer acquisition.
  • Focus core marketing strategy and subsequent messaging, branding, and copywriting.

Elements of a strong USP

If nothing else, a USP must answer every consumer’s question when encountering a business: what makes this business different from the competition?

It’s important to note that simply being unique is not a valid characteristic in itself.

The point of difference must target something that resonates with the target audience.

The USP must also be bold and assertive in its point of difference, informing consumers that the business has the confidence to stand behind its brand . 

Lastly, the unique selling proposition should be more than just a slogan.

Often, slogans are catchphrases whose benefits are vague and hard to put into practice.

If a business must use a slogan, then it should ensure that every aspect of the business operation can embody its message in reality.

Read : Marketing Strategy: Definition, Types, And Examples

Examples of successful unique selling propositions

Death wish coffee.

There is no shortage of competition among coffee merchants.

However, Death Wish Coffee has managed to make a mark in this industry with their claim of selling the world’s strongest coffee.

Death Wish Coffee backs up their claim by showing how their coffee is made and where it is sourced from.

But they also offer dissatisfied customers a full refund.

In this way, the success of the company is directly tied to its ability to deliver on its USP.

Importantly, the business embodies this USP through every aspect of their branding and marketing strategies.

Voodoo Doughnut

A similarly competitive market can be seen in selling donuts.

Boston donut business  Voodoo   Doughnut  has created a unique selling proposition through a diverse and varied menu.

The company’s USP is further strengthened by its vintage pink décor and late-night opening hours.

While two varieties of donut that contained cold and flu medication attracted attention from the Food and Drug Administration, the overall exposure to the Voodoo Doughnut brand was beneficial. 

Additional case studies

  • Lululemon : “Technical athletic apparel for yoga, running, training, and most other sweaty pursuits.” Lululemon’s USP combines high-quality materials, functionality, and a focus on yoga and athletic activities, differentiating it from traditional sportswear brands.
  • Coca-Cola : “Open Happiness.” Coca-Cola’s USP is all about delivering a refreshing and joyful experience, associating the brand with happiness and positivity.
  • Amazon : “Earth’s Biggest Selection.” Amazon’s USP highlights its vast product range, fast shipping, and convenient shopping experience, making it a one-stop destination for online shoppers.
  • Red Bull : “Gives You Wings.” Red Bull’s USP is tied to energy and vitality, positioning the brand as a source of energy and motivation for its consumers.
  • Squarespace : “Build it Beautiful.” Squarespace’s USP emphasizes the aesthetics and user-friendly design of its website-building platform, catering to creative individuals and businesses.
  • Chick-fil-A : “We didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich.” Chick-fil-A’s USP centers around its signature chicken sandwich, focusing on quality and taste in the fast-food industry.
  • Harley-Davidson : “American by Birth. Rebel by Choice.” Harley-Davidson’s USP taps into the spirit of rebellion and freedom, creating a strong emotional connection with motorcycle enthusiasts.
  • Dyson : “Dyson – The first vacuum that doesn’t lose suction.” Dyson’s USP highlights the innovative technology in its vacuum cleaners, particularly their ability to maintain strong suction over time.
  • Airbnb : “Belong Anywhere.” Airbnb’s USP is about offering unique and personalized travel experiences by connecting travelers with local hosts, emphasizing the feeling of belonging.
  • GoPro : “Be a Hero.” GoPro’s USP revolves around its action cameras, empowering users to capture their adventures and share them, making them the hero of their own stories.
  • Taco Bell : “Live Mas.” Taco Bell’s USP is about embracing a sense of adventure and spontaneity, positioning itself as a fast-food brand that offers unique and bold menu items.
  • Patagonia : “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” Patagonia’s USP is built on a commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainable business practices, resonating with eco-conscious consumers.
  • Warby Parker : “Eyewear with a Purpose.” Warby Parker’s USP combines stylish eyewear with a socially responsible mission , providing glasses to those in need for every pair sold.
  • Burt’s Bees : “Earth-friendly, Natural Personal Care.” Burt’s Bees’ USP focuses on natural ingredients and eco-friendly practices in the skincare and personal care industry.

Unique selling proposition vs. value proposition


Where the unique selling proposition is primarily customer-facing.

Thus, it serves the purpose of signaling to your customers how your brand differs from all the others.

The value proposition is more internally focused. Where it does translate into the way final customers perceive your product, but as a side effect of how the value proposition is ingrained into your business model.

Indeed, the value proposition informs how the product should be developed, launched, and distributed.

And as a result, how customers should perceive it.

Where the unique selling proposition looks at differentiating the product in the eyes of the customer.

So really putting into a more clear message targeting your audience about what the company stands for.

Key takeaways

  • A unique selling proposition defines what a business stands for in relation to its competitors. The point of differentiation must involve benefits the consumer can identify with.
  • A strong and compelling USP resonates with the target audience by selling benefits and is an accurate representation of how an organization does business.
  • Confident, bold, and assertive unique selling propositions sometimes allow businesses to penetrate extremely competitive markets.

Key Highlights of Unique Selling Proposition (USP):

  • Differentiation : A USP enables a business to distinguish itself from competitors, creating a unique identity in the market.
  • Consumer Recognition : A strong USP makes a business known and memorable among consumers, fostering brand recognition.
  • Attracts and retains new customers while reducing churn.
  • Builds customer loyalty.
  • Lowers customer acquisition costs.
  • Guides marketing strategy , messaging, branding, and copywriting.
  • Addresses the question: “What makes this business different from the competition?”
  • Resonates with the target audience by offering meaningful benefits.
  • Assertive and confident in its uniqueness.
  • Goes beyond a mere slogan, with every aspect of the business embodying its message.
  • Death Wish Coffee : Known for selling the world’s strongest coffee, backed by quality and a money-back guarantee.
  • Voodoo Doughnut : Stands out in the competitive donut market with a diverse menu, distinctive décor, and late-night hours.
  • USP is customer-facing, focusing on differentiating the product and signaling to customers how the brand stands out.
  • Value proposition is more internally focused, shaping the entire business model, product development, and customer perception.
  • A strong USP defines what a business stands for and offers benefits that consumers can relate to.
  • A compelling USP resonates with the target audience and accurately represents the organization’s business approach.
  • Bold and confident USPs can help businesses enter highly competitive markets successfully.

Case Studies

Company/ProductUnique Selling Proposition (USP)Examples and Implications
Apple (iPhone)Seamless integration of hardware, software, and services.Apple’s USP lies in offering a holistic ecosystem that includes iPhones, Macs, software (iOS), and services (App Store, iCloud), providing a cohesive user experience.
Tesla (Electric Vehicles)High-performance electric vehicles with cutting-edge technology.Tesla’s USP is its focus on electric cars that combine sustainability, performance, and autonomous driving features, setting it apart from traditional car manufacturers.
Amazon PrimeFast and free shipping, along with a wide range of services.Amazon Prime offers a USP of convenience, including fast shipping, streaming, and exclusive deals, creating customer loyalty and retention.
Southwest AirlinesLow-cost air travel with a focus on customer service.Southwest’s USP is offering low fares and no baggage fees while maintaining a reputation for excellent customer service, setting it apart from other airlines.
Coca-ColaIconic taste and brand recognition.Coca-Cola’s USP is its distinct taste and worldwide brand recognition, making it a top choice among carbonated beverages.
UberConvenient, on-demand rides with a cashless payment system.Uber’s USP is its user-friendly app for ride-hailing, cashless payments, and a vast network of drivers, providing a convenient transportation solution.
AirbnbUnique lodging experiences in local homes.Airbnb’s USP offers travelers the opportunity to stay in unique accommodations and connect with local hosts, distinguishing it from traditional hotels.
Dollar Shave ClubAffordable, subscription-based razors with a humorous marketing approach.Dollar Shave Club’s USP combines affordability with humor and simplicity, challenging traditional razor brands.
ZapposExceptional customer service, including free shipping both ways.Zappos’ USP focuses on customer service excellence and hassle-free returns, building trust and loyalty among online shoppers.
SpotifyExtensive music library with personalized playlists and recommendations.Spotify’s USP lies in its vast music catalog, user-generated playlists, and algorithm-based music recommendations, providing a unique music streaming experience.
PatagoniaSustainable and eco-friendly outdoor apparel.Patagonia’s USP emphasizes ethical and sustainable practices, attracting environmentally conscious consumers.
Warby ParkerStylish, affordable eyeglasses with a try-at-home option.Warby Parker’s USP combines affordability, style, and convenience, disrupting the eyewear industry.
DropboxEasy-to-use cloud storage and file-sharing with seamless synchronization.Dropbox’s USP focuses on simplicity and user-friendliness for file storage and sharing.
GoProHigh-quality, rugged action cameras for capturing adventures.GoPro’s USP is its durable, waterproof cameras designed for action and adventure enthusiasts.
SlackCollaboration and communication platform for teams with integrations.Slack’s USP centers on team collaboration, real-time messaging, and third-party integrations for enhanced productivity.
Airbnb ExperiencesUnique local experiences and activities hosted by residents.Airbnb Experiences’ USP offers travelers the chance to explore destinations through local perspectives, diversifying its services.
TrelloVisual project management tool with a simple card-based system.Trello’s USP is its intuitive and visual approach to project management, making it accessible to users of all skill levels.
ChobaniGreek yogurt with natural ingredients and no artificial additives.Chobani’s USP is its commitment to using wholesome ingredients and authentic yogurt-making methods, appealing to health-conscious consumers.

Related Business Concepts

  • Business Development


Sales vs. Marketing


Sales Cycle


Revenue Modeling


Customer Experience Map


Social Selling


CHAMP Methodology


BANT Sales Process


MEDDIC Sales Process


STP Marketing


Sales Funnels vs. Flywheels


Pirate Metrics




Virtuous Cycles


Sales Storytelling


Enterprise Sales


Outside Sales




Sales Distribution Framework


Palantir Acquire, Expand, Scale Framework


Consultative Selling


Unique Selling Proposition


Read: product development frameworks here.

Read Next:  SWOT Analysis ,  Personal SWOT Analysis ,  TOWS Matrix ,  PESTEL Analysis ,  Porter’s Five Forces ,  TOWS Matrix ,  SOAR Analysis .

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How to Create a Unique Value Proposition + Examples

Male entrepreneur helping a female customer find the best spice option in his grocery store. The hand-crafted spices and personalized service are both part of his unique value proposition.

Lisa Furgison

10 min. read

Updated May 10, 2024

Download Now: Free 1-Page Business Plan Template →

If you’re starting your own business you’re probably already thinking about what sets you apart from competitors in your space. Coming up with your unique value proposition (UVP) or unique selling proposition (USP) creates a strong foundation for all your marketing messages and strategies for engaging new customers.

This article is a handy guide that will define what a UVP is, and help you write your own.

  • What is a unique value proposition (UVP)?

Your unique value proposition (UVP) is the promised value customers can expect from your business. It explains what separates your business from your competitors, how your solution solves your customers’ problems, the specific benefits, and why your target customers should choose you.

In a nutshell, your UVP covers: 

  • How your product or service works
  • What makes it valuable
  • Why it’s better than the rest

Your UVP should be front and center on your website, and it should be completely free of jargon—it’s like a very short elevator pitch that someone who has never heard of your company before would understand immediately.

  • What is the purpose of a value proposition?

Your value proposition is designed to introduce your company’s brand to potential customers. It defines what you stand for, what you do, how you operate, and why you should be chosen over the competition. 

Every competitor in your field is vying for attention. From marketing plans to advertisements, consumers hear a lot of noise. To cut through this clutter and turn your target audience into loyal customers, you need a value proposition that mere mortals can understand easily—and remember. You want your customers to hear your name and think, “oh, that’s the company that does (your unique solution).”

  • How do you write a unique value proposition?

Finding a value proposition takes some time and legwork. A real UVP is more than a clever tagline. For it to be meaningful, you have to know your customer and your business. Plus, you have to understand how your product or service fits into our consumer-driven world.

So while your UVP is probably always in the back of your mind, don’t write it based on what you think is true about your solution and your customers. Do some research and testing so that you are sure.

And for that matter, keep testing. Once you’ve come up with your UVP and put it all over your marketing materials and website’s landing pages, it might be tempting to set it and forget it. Keep testing it over time—the more your business grows, the more you’ll know about your customer’s pain points and how your solution helps them. Here are the five steps needed to develop a value proposition.

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1. Define your target market

First, you need to figure out who your customers are. Who will buy (or is buying) your product or service? A lot of first-time business owners want everyone to be a customer; this is a rookie mistake. Marketing to everyone is the opposite of marketing to your target market. If you try to appeal to everyone, your business and product will get lost in the noise. An example of this kind of mistake is a shoe company trying to market to everyone with feet! You’ll waste a lot of time and money that way.

Instead, hone in on exactly who your audience is. Do some market research—both based on your existing customers (if you have them) and other populations you think might be good potential customers. You want to know and understand their pain points—the problems they have that you might be able to solve.

But you’re also interested in their demographic information, income statistics, and family makeup. How old is your target audience ? Are they male or female? What kind of income does your target audience have? Get specific. What does your target audience do on the weekend? What kind of music do they listen to?

You might think these last questions are a bit far-fetched, but you want to create a buyer or user persona of your target audience. A buyer or user persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer—but it’s a very useful tool to help you hone your messaging and who you consider to be a part of your target market.

You can’t create a unique value proposition alone in your basement, either. You have to test it. Run it by a small group of customers, or people you think are in your target market to ensure it resonates with customers you’re trying to reach.

2. Explain why customers should buy from you instead of a competitor

To separate yourself from your competitors, you have to know who they are and what they stand for. Research your competitors inside and out , from their mission statement to the types of employees they have. You can only set yourself apart if you know what’s already been done.

Putting together a competitive matrix can be a helpful way to visualize how you stack up against them. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you don’t have any competition. Every business has competition , even if you’re in a brand new industry. When you’re writing your UVP, see if you can articulate why your customers should buy from you instead of your competitors in ten words or less. If you can’t, keep revising.

3. Define the pain point your product or service solves

Write down how your business or product solves a problem or alleviates a pain point for customers. Can your product do something that other products can’t? Does it save time? Is it more affordable than other products? What about your product or service makes it a must-have for customers—why can’t they live without it?

Take that list and cross off any need pain point that your competitors can claim to address too. Your competitive matrix might be helpful here.

This exercise is meant to help you find areas where your business is different than others. Simply having the best product or the best customer service in the market isn’t enough differentiation.

Remember, every business thinks they have the best product. Take some time to figure out how your product meets the needs of your target audience in a way that others can’t.

4. Connect to your company mission and what you stand for

What does your business stand for? It’s a big question, one that takes some time to figure out. Once you have a solid and clear answer, see if your mission overlaps or coincides with the list of things that sets your business apart. Now you’re starting to hone in on your value proposition.

Once you’ve done your digging, write down a few different possible value propositions that fit your business. Again, this isn’t going to be something you whip up in 20 minutes. Write a few down, stew on them for a bit, and refine them. Ask yourself if someone could read your UVP and think it’s talking about another company. If the answer is yes, you have a selling or value proposition, but it’s not unique yet.

Rework it until you have one succinct sentence that makes you stand out from your competitors. What do you want your customers to remember about you when they hear your brand or product name?

5. Craft a single message

Once you’ve defined what you will cover in your value proposition, you need to land on a single core message. Not every pain point or benefit needs to be listed here. You’ve done the research to ensure you are landing on the right message for your audience, the last thing you want to do is overcomplicate communications

Focus on communicating one key value that connects to your customer’s pain point. The goal is to hook their interest so that they want to explore what else you have to offer. If they take that first step, then look for opportunities to elaborate on the additional value you provide.

Additionally, just because you’ve honed in on a core value proposition, doesn’t mean that it can’t change. You may need to make adjustments for sub-sections of your audience, change out keywords for different platforms, and even fully restructure your UVP if it doesn’t resonate. 

The key here is to not just write up your UVP and walk away. Look for opportunities to test it directly with your target audience either through interviews, surveys, or even through live testing. 

  • 4 examples of great value propositions

One of the best ways to learn is by example, so let’s take a look at a few businesses that have created unmistakably unique selling propositions.

The Mast Brothers Chocolate

This duo of bearded, lanky brothers creates chocolate bars by hand . Their dedication to their craft alone is unique, but the brothers have infused their love of old-time traditions into their business.

When they need to purchase more cocoa beans, they charter a wooden sailboat to stay true to their pioneer-like roots. Now that’s a unique position you can market.

Dollar Shave Club

This online business sells and ships razors and blades to its audience for a buck. They poke fun at the fancy, vibrating 10-blade razors that are on the market today and encourage men to go back to basics.

But, don’t think that means they’re selling an inferior product. Their slogan is: “Our blades are f***ing great,” a tagline that points to (but isn’t the same as) their selling proposition. Remember, if other companies can also say their product is “great,” you have a catchy tagline, not something that sets you apart from the competition.  


Here’s a business that created a value proposition by catering to a very specific audience. Ellusionist is an online store that sells playing cards to magicians.

Some of the decks are marked, others have a vintage appearance, but the variations are meant to build showmanship for its unique target audience.

Palo Alto Software

Shortly after publishing this article, one of our readers asked if we could share our own USP. Bplans is a resource offered by Palo Alto Software, so here’s what Noah Parsons, our chief operating officer, has to say about our UVP:

For Palo Alto Software, our goal is to provide entrepreneurs with the tools, knowledge, and know-how to help them grow faster and better than their competition.

We’re not just in it to make a buck—we actually want to help people succeed in business as much as possible. Our commitment to entrepreneurs is shown in our thousands of pages of free content that helps demystify the complexities of starting and running a business.

We also provide simple yet powerful tools for entrepreneurs so they can focus more on doing what they love and less on trying to build and understand complex reports and spreadsheets.

  • Create a compelling value proposition

The process to land on what differentiates your business and resonates with your audience is well worth the effort. Not only will it help you define a compelling value proposition, but it will make it far easier to streamline your focus as a business owner. Everything from developing audience personas to crafting and testing copy, it encourages you to work through the needs of your customer.

If you’re struggling to work through these steps the best thing you can do is revisit your business plan . It should have everything you need including the problem you’re solving, how your business operates, who your ideal customers are, and what your business stands for. 

*Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2018. It has been updated for 2021.

Content Author: Lisa Furgison

Lisa Furgison is a multimedia journalist with a passion for writing. She holds a graduate degree in mass communications and spent eight years as a television reporter before moving into the freelance world, where she focuses mainly on content creation and social media strategies. Furgison has crisscrossed the U.S. as a reporter, but now calls Key West, Florida home. When she's not conducting interviews or typing away on her laptop, she loves to travel.

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What is a Unique Selling Proposition and 10 Examples You Can Take Inspiration From

unique selling proposition for business plan

What is a unique selling proposition? If you want your business to succeed, you must have a unique selling proposition (USP). The Entrepreneur encyclopedia defines a unique selling proposition as

The factor or consideration presented by a seller because one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.

Do you understand what that means and how it can help your business? If you don’t quite grasp what it means, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about unique selling propositions.

From explaining the definition of a unique selling proposition to tips for writing compelling ones, you’ll understand everything from this article. Without further ado, let’s begin. 

What is a Unique Selling Proposition?

There are plenty of definitions on the internet explaining what a unique selling proposition is. For example, Wikipedia calls USP as:

A unique selling proposition (USP) refers to the unique benefit exhibited by a company, service, product or brand that enables it to stand out from competitors. The unique selling proposition must be a feature that highlights product benefits that are meaningful to consumers.

In essence, a unique selling proposition means you present the idea that your product or brand is one of a kind. You suggest to the prospective customers that the product you are selling is unique.

A powerful unique selling proposition emphasizes the distinctiveness of your brand or product. Your goal is to set yourself apart from your competitors. 

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting is not knowing your unique selling point — which eventually leads to you selling anything and everything and wanting to please everyone in the market.

But it is impossible to do so; you can't impress everyone. You must first focus on what can make your business stand out from the competition, and if you find success from this, you can branch out and target other demographics.

What Should a Strong Unique Selling Proposition Look Like?

USP: Unique Selling Proposition | Definition of USP - Product School

Your unique selling point is a lot simpler than you think. It’s just being different from your competition. If you’re not distinctive, you’re just the same as everyone else. To differentiate yourself from your competition, look for an aspect that you can use to set your product apart - the customer benefits of the value it brings to their lives.

A powerful unique selling proposition should be:

A statement that forces you to make a case against anything that competes with your brand should be more memorable than a generic stance, like "We are the best!." ‍


You should focus your USP on what your customers value. Use keywords that customers search for; buzzwords won't count for much if it's not something your target customers truly care about.

Play To Your Strengths

Your proposition should focus on what your brand does well. What are your strengths? What do you do better than your competitors?

A USP is not just the message on your homepage. It is a proposition you make and can incorporate in everything, from your small business's products to your brand, to the experience you provide. It is not - "50% off", "End of the season sale", etc.

A USP is a code your brand should live by. It's not easy to come up with a USP. You can't just say "free shipping" or "20% off" because everyone offers those. Specific marketing offers might be good for you, but they're not unique on their own. Shopify aptly states that

A unique selling proposition is a statement you choose to embody that differentiates your products and your brand from your competitors.

How do I write my unique selling proposition?

Everyone in USPs will be unique. But that does not mean there will be no process. You should learn to keep it that way in mind.

Once you know your USP, it might help express that in your marketing efforts. Not exactly what you advertised on your site, but it will help clarify your USP to the target audience. The USP is a critical divergence that prospective customers may be worthy of attention.

To write your business’ unique selling proposition, below are some things you should consider.

Pinpoint The Dividing Edge

Redefine, refine, and refocus your brand. To stay relevant in this new era, retailers must pinpoint what makes their business stand out. The more specific you get, the easier it is to identify the gaps in today's market. 

How do you go about doing that? Start with a list of all the things that make your company unique. For each item on the list, think about how you can translate each differentiator to your customers.

Address The Pain Points

Th i nk of your most unique strengths, and then think about what your audience has been looking for that you can deliver. Find the gaps in the market that you can fill that your competitors haven't. Provide a solution for customers' problems.

Keep Tabs on Your Competitors

Competition is a vital part of the business world. With this in mind, you should do your due diligence and research who your competitors are are and what their USPs are. 

Analyze The Data You Have

Your USP is what will set you apart. Why not take the information you’ve gathered and see how you can apply it to your business? 

Your USP should be woven into your brand name, return policy, and more. If you can display your USP in different ways to your customers, it will reinforce the concept to them.

Developing a solid USP is no easy task, but all you need is ample knowledge about the niche market and your brand. Just state how you are different from every tom, dick, and harry in the trade. What makes your brand any different from others. Your USP should also offer value to potential customers.

Learn more: How to Develop a Unique & Memorable Brand Identity in 2021

10 Examples of Unique Selling Propositions

USP is not just about highlighting your selling points. It also needs to include a value proposition that describes your ideal customer’s offering. 

Do you still need help to create your unique selling propositions? Below are 10 of the best examples we found to take inspiration from and help you get a jump start.

Starbucks Signboard

Starbucks doesn't just sell coffee . Its success is based on a fundamental truth: people buy more than a product. They buy a feeling, a promise, a vision of a better life. Starbucks customers trust the brand because it offers luxury and quality.

The company sells an image built around coffee, but what gives it value is something more fundamental: the human connection between barista and customer. It sells an experience.

Starbucks has built its business with an obsessive focus on customer experience. Its tagline is "Everything we do; we do it for our customers." Its mission statement is to "inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time."

They don't simply serve up cup after cup of coffee; they also provide their customers with quality food and excellent customer service. That's why they don't offer products at low prices. Their identity is that they serve premium coffee with an experience, not cheap coffee.

Starbucks is the world's largest coffee shop chain, with more than 23,000 locations in 62 countries. Thanks to a unique selling proposition, Starbucks has become a successful business.

Deathwish Coffee

unique selling proposition for business plan

Deathwish coffee claims to be the World's strongest coffee. If you do not trust us, just visit their online store. They’ve provided details on how they made it and what goes into it. The bold packaging is confident and inviting.

Too many brands try to be funny when they write.  But, this coffee company isn't making jokes with their product. Instead of attempting to be hilarious, Death Wish Coffee is selling with sheer honesty. 

It's safe to say that most people don't drink coffee for the caffeine. It's a bitter, dark liquid that mass-produced companies have watered down to appeal to the lowest common denominator. 

The founder of Death Wish Coffee decided to fix this problem by creating a ridiculously strong brew — making it the world's strongest commercially available coffee.

Death Wish Coffee is a bold, robust, smooth coffee with no bitterness. They have carefully crafted it by using a select family roasters using 100% Arabica beans sourced from South America, Central America, and Indonesia.

Saddleback Leather

unique selling proposition for business plan

Saddleback's messaging is improved upon the idea that their belts and accessories will last a very long time or maybe even forever. That’s a pretty bold claim, but it doesn’t stop there. 

The company goes into detail, literally, about the patented design and the 100-year warranty that backs up its promise of longevity.

They make every product with a guarantee that it’ll last a lifetime. With a 100-year warranty and a wide array of attractive designs, their products are the best you can buy. 

Even if someone else has an identical item, their products won't wear out as theirs will. Made with high-quality materials and crafted by true craftsmen, Saddleback stays ahead of its competitors because of its unique selling points.

  • Crafted by true craftsmen,
  • High-quality materials.
  • 100-year warranty(they guarantee it’s going to last longer than the owner, which is a bold claim)

Saddleback Leather has built a reputation of trust, quality, and excellence. They’re more than just a brand; they’re a legacy. With their signature "They will fight over it when you are dead” tagline, the brand can establish its identity by emotionally connecting with its audience.

Nerd Fitness

Nerd Fitness

Nerd Fitness isn’t for everybody — but if you’re a nerd, a geek, or otherwise like spending your nights and weekends playing games and learning about the latest in science fiction and fantasy, this site is for you.

It doesn’t matter why you try to lose fitness or get healthy; Nerd Fitness can help you get there. From their understanding of your gaming habits to your junk food habits, they know how you live and will allow you to change it up.

The best thing about their program is its simplicity. Nerd Fitness creates your programs for you, so you don’t have to. Their unique selling point? They have a particular advertising area; their target market is the nerds, misfits, and dorks.

Nerd Fitness is an online community offering programs and guidance to help people lose weight and get healthy. The fitness brand’s USP is “We’re here to help the misfits, the dorks, and the unpopular kids get in shape.”

This message resonates with the target audience, who replies to it for strength training, better eating habits, valuable tips on increasing energy levels, and more.

Learn more: Fitness advertisements: Best Ways to promote GYM & Fitness Services

Bee's Wrap

Reusable Bee's wrap

Bee's Wrap is the world's first sustainable food wrap made from organic cotton and beeswax — helping customers save a lot of money in the long run. However,  this isn't  Bee's Wrap’s only USP.

Bee’s Wrap taps into an important global topic: plastic pollution. Sustainable food wrap is made from organic cotton and beeswax. It’s an alternative to single-use plastics that are too often thrown away.

Beyond the product, Bee’s Wrap also works to make the world a better place by meeting B-Corp and Green America certification. It’s vital to note that any message a brand transmits should always represent every aspect of its mission.

In 2021, with mounting temperatures and climate change endangering many species, an alternative to plastic will sell big. Bee's wrap capitalizes on its unique product and its purpose.

Basecamp r

Basecamp has a straightforward USP in that it simplifies project management for entrepreneurs, freelancers, small businesses. Their ideal customers are people who don't want to spend time on complicated software but want to spend time on their projects.

They aren't interested in sophisticated tools; instead, they're looking for practical project management made simple. 

Furthermore, instead of trying to be everything for everyone, Basecamp was created with only minimal features — leaving them more time and resources for the improvement and new development.

It can help you set up a to-do list, organize your projects, and assign tasks to team members easily. While this may be less useful for large enterprises, it’s the perfect option for freelancers, consultants, and small growing businesses.

Taylor Stitch

Taylor Stitch Founders

Taylor Stitch is an established clothing company that leverages crowdfunding to try new products. Rather than using it to make money, they use it as an innovation board. They explain to customers that they will get better products at a discounted price while staying environmentally friendly by pre-ordering their products.

While some consumers may frown upon established brands that leverage crowdfunding, that isn’t the case here because they make it a part of their USP. Taylor Stitch successfully turns crowdfunding into a competitive edge: “We design new products. You crowd-fund them."

This innovative new approach sets their company apart from their competitors.  Taylor Stitch's compelling USP ensures they get sold out pretty quickly. Now, who wouldn't want that?

taylor stitch unique selling proposition

Honest and authentic, Fabletics is an activewear brand for working women. Fabletics aims to give shoppers affordable activewear and deals without compromising quality or style. That’s why they offer membership to their VIP program, which provides them with access to free shipping, special discounts, workout tips, and more.

The unique selling point of Fabletics is its tone of voice. Because of this, it's vital that you authentically articulate what makes you unique. 

Beardbrand - YouTube

Beardbrand wants to solve a problem that plagues men of all ages: the lack of high-quality beard grooming products on the market. They provide finely crafted, all-natural beard grooming products to men who demand the best.

Do you sometimes feel invisible? Do you struggle to seem confident and authoritative at your job? Can your friends sometimes see your frustration, even though you can’t?

Beardbrand takes on conventional shaving practices, encouraging customers to choose a better alternative for their health and lifestyle. With their premium all-natural products, they provide customers with the tools they need to take control of shaving while also making it easier to engage with like-minded enthusiasts.

Unlike the competition, Beardbrand creates genuinely natural products for men’s grooming that focus on nourishing the skin and preventing problems from occurring rather than trying to fix the symptoms after they happen.

It's a very unique and different way of approaching beards and their maintenance, and one that separates Beardbrand from the pack. Beardbrand is excellent at telling stories and making promotions fun and engaging — they do it in a way that gets people interested and involved.

Tips for Writing Compelling Unique Selling Propositions

‍ deliver on your claims.

When planning your USP, it’s helpful to think about who your customers are and what they want.

  • What are the most important things they need from your business?
  • Why should they choose you over someone else?

Your USP should answer these questions by selling the aspects of your business that are most valuable to your target audience.  For example, FedEx is an industry leader because of its unique selling proposition. It lives up to the claim that their service is the fastest, and the package will be there when you want it delivered.

Complete Understanding of Your Target Market

The best campaigns succeed based on one principle: they know exactly who they're selling to and why.

Any marketing effort should be laser-focused towards a specific audience; any brand that isn't laser-focused is wasting its resources. You should tailor every message you send to your target audience, and it's never enough just to reach a general group of people — you need to get the right group.

Understanding what your target customer wants is crucial to marketing, especially when you’re on social media. Your audience must know that you listen to them, even if they aren’t talking directly to you.

Leverage Your USP To Create a Killer Marketing Strategy

Your USP is your best friend while creating a killer marketing strategy. Which is why, you need to know how to use it when devising your content marketing strategy (usually consisting of social media , video marketing , etc.), and advertisements . It is an essential feature of your advertising that you highlight your USP. It should be in the headline or first line of your advertisement.

If you choose to feature your USP in the headline, make sure it’s keyword-rich.  Alternatively, if it appears elsewhere in the ad, highlight its benefits to customers.

Learn more: How to Make an Ad

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FAQs: Unique Selling Proposition

What are examples of unique selling propositions.

  • Avis. " We're number two. We try harder."
  • FedEx Corporation. " When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight ."
  • DeBeers. " A diamond is forever ."
  • Domino's Pizza. " You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less, or it's free."
  • M&Ms. " The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand ."
  • Geico. " 15 minutes could save you 15% on car insurance."

What is a unique selling proposition?

A unique selling proposition (USP), also known as a unique selling point, is the one thing that differentiates your product or your service from your competition. When doing online marketing, it's essential to articulate your brand's USP so potential customers are more likely to convert when they access your website.

Is USP essential in business?

Having a USP is vital to every business, brand, and public figure, such as influencers. This is because a unique selling proposition is the best selling point you could have to stand out from more prominent players in the market and help you to compete better.

What are the factors affecting unique selling proposition?

You can base your business' USP on the "four Ps" of marketing: price structure, placement strategy (location and distribution), product characteristics, or promotional strategy.

What role should the Unique Selling Proposition play in a company's advertising strategy?

Your company's unique selling proposition should always be the main focus in your advertising strategy to highlight how distinctive your product or service is from your competitors.

What is Apple's unique selling proposition?

Apple is famous for its sleek design, state-of-the-art hardware, user-friendly software, and an overall 'cooler' alternative to the Windows PC. All of those combined makes them represent Apple as it's USP.

Unique selling propositions focus on what helps your business to stand out. For finding a USP, start imagining with your marketing department.

Ask your customer service representative what customers love the most. Then create a compelling selling proposition that brings the business message home.

unique selling proposition for business plan

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Discover the Unique Selling Proposition of Your Business

Without a USP, your business is like a ship that has lost its rudder.

Table of Contents

Whether you run a mom-and-pop store, an e-commerce business or a startup, you need to find your business’s unique selling proposition (USP). When you know what makes you different from or better than your competition, it’s harder to get lost among the crowd.

What is a unique selling proposition (USP)? 

A USP is the unique quality that sets your business apart from the thousands of other businesses out there. It’s the distinguishing factor that makes your customers come back, again and again for your products or services.

The concept of a USP was introduced by Rosser Reeves of the legendary Ted Bates advertising agency in the 1940s. According to Reeves, a USP is what gives marketing campaigns an extra jolt and makes customers notice and connect with the product.

There’s no denying that without a USP, your business is like a ship that has lost its rudder. Your USP is what steers all of your business operations on the right path. So how do you identify your business’s USP?

How can you determine your business’s USP? 

This definitive guide includes a step-by-step approach to figuring out your business’s USP. By the time you finish reading this, you will have a clear strategy for identifying and defining your USP. 

Step 1: Brainstorm ideas.

Creating a business’s USP is not a task for a single individual – it’s a team effort. It should include people from all departments, like customer support, marketing, sales, finance, IT, product development and HR. Get them together and start collecting their ideas.

Ask your team what they think separates your business from its competitors . Initially, you may get only vague answers like “our product is better,” “we provide better customer service,” “we have more experience,” and so on.

But that’s OK. Don’t be judgmental. Remember, this is a brainstorming session, and all you’re doing is gathering ideas. Keep a record of this input for later.

Step 2: Identify your customer.

Businesses often make the mistake of promoting their products and services without understanding their target audience. Before you can sell to your customers, you need to identify them based on their age, location, gender, earning levels and other such characteristics.

Then, you can group them into different buyer personas, and be specific. The more you’re able to define the characteristics of your target audience, the better.

Step 3: Analyze your competitors.

This step is all about market research. Before you find out what makes your product unique, you have to discover what’s available to your target audience. Start by listing your direct competitors, then do an in-depth analysis of each of them.

Find similar products offered by competitors. Focus on how your competitors promote their products. Take a look at their social media pages, websites and other marketing materials.

Try to get a clear picture of all your competing products’ strengths and weaknesses. 

Step 4: List your strengths.

Consider your strengths as a business. What makes your products better? Is your pricing competitive? Do you make it easier for the customer to order products? Do customers like your free delivery option? What are the features that make your product stand out?

Once you identify your strengths, you can market them to attract your target audience.

Step 5: Know your weaknesses.

This step is crucial. You can only overcome your weaknesses if you’re aware of them. Once you understand what your weak spots are, come up with a strategy for improvement. For instance, if your products are priced higher than competitors’ because you offer extra features, then make sure that you don’t mention pricing in your marketing.

Step 6: Figure out what makes you unique.

This is the crux of the whole exercise – what makes you unique? How do you stand out from your competitors?

Use all of the data collected in the previous steps to think about the features that make your brand distinct. This could include data from the input of your employees as well as your analysis of your strengths and weaknesses.

Think of something none of your competitors offer, something that resonates with the needs of your target audience . Look for that magic element in your business that isn’t found anywhere else. Voila – that’s your USP.

Step 7: Translate your USP into the right words.

Once you have your USP, find a way to sum it up. Be clear and concise.

Stay away from big words that make it difficult for the customer to connect with your brand. Keep your USP short and sweet for maximum impact.

What are examples of successful USPs? 

Let’s take a look at the USPs of some famous businesses to give you an idea of why they work.

“We’re number two. We try harder.” – Avis

This USP is effective because it transforms Avis’s weakness into a sign of positivity. The car rental brand doesn’t want to be stuck at No. 2, and it has managed to convince customers it will give its all to move up. The best part? Avis expresses all of this in six short words.

“Love your beverage. Or let us know, we’ll make it right.” – Starbucks

Starbucks isn’t the cheapest coffee brand out there, nor is it the most luxurious. So how do you transform a brand that’s somewhere in the middle to the world’s most popular coffee chain? It taps into what all coffee lovers expect – a drink tailored to their specific tastes. This is Starbucks’ USP, and the company nailed it.

“Sheer driving pleasure.” – BMW

Nothing more needs to be said. BMW knows what it’s good at, and it communicates that message effectively. 

What is the strategy behind developing a USP? 

Your USP is all about answering these questions from your customers: “Why you?”, “Why should I buy from you?” or “Why should I pay for your services?”

Your USP is the core personality of your business. It is the reason people should be willing to spend their hard-earned money on your business.

Keep it simple, short and genuine. Once you have uncovered your USP, use it consistently in all of your branding and marketing strategies to attract your target audience.


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unique selling proposition for business plan

16 Unique Business Ideas for You To Try This Year (2024)

Standing-out is crucial for first-time entrepreneurs. Find a unique startup idea that actually makes money with our list of the best unique business ideas.

A silver briefcase with an illuminated lightbulb above it on a half blue, half pink background.

One of the biggest challenges in starting a business is figuring out how to set yourself apart from the competition. If you’re selling a popular, widely available product, you can be sure that demand is high. But with high demand comes a saturated market and more established players.

Alternatively, you might have a completely original product⁠—something no other company is providing. In that case, standing out may be easier—but how can you be sure there’s a high enough product demand to sustain your business?

Balancing these factors is tricky, but it gets easier when you start with a unique business idea.

Unique businesses in more niche industries tend to have less competition, but the competition they do have assures you there’s a market for your products. For any new business, starting from a point of originality can make a world of difference when it comes to setting yourself apart from the competition. Get inspired by our list of unique business ideas, and set your new business up for success.

Get your free Big List of Business Ideas

Looking to start a business but unsure what to sell? Check out our free Big List of Business Ideas with 100+ trending products.

Unique small business ideas for first-time entrepreneurs

  • Virtual interior design
  • Dog walking and pet-sitting
  • Membership-based online education
  • Virtual assistant services
  • Niche cleaning service
  • Local grocery delivery
  • Online zines
  • CNC-based business
  • Freelance bookkeeping
  • Author-preneur business
  • Novelty t-shirts
  • TikTok personal trainer
  • Local travel guides and maps

There are many ideas that fledgling business owners can consider that inspire creativity and make money. If you’re looking for a unique business idea, here’s a rundown of some favorites:

1. Food truck

If you love baking or cooking, an aspiration may be to one day open your own shop or restaurant. But opening a physical store can be costly, and developing a following of loyal customers to sustain your business can take much time and energy. Consider starting a food truck business to help kickstart your food entrepreneur dreams. 

The food truck industry has experienced consistently strong revenue growth , and has outpaced the growth of traditional restaurants. In recent years, food trucks have experienced revenue growth of $2.2 billion , potentially signaling opportunities to entrepreneurs looking to get a foothold in the industry.

A food truck business offers the advantage of mobility, so you can bring your culinary delights to events and locations where you know there will be a lot of foot traffic and hungry customers. Even after opening a restaurant or café, having a food truck can play an important role in your business plan and operations . For example, the truck itself can double as a promotional tool, helping to build other revenue streams.

Cookie business Captain Cookie & the Milkman started as a food truck in 2012 and has since expanded to multiple physical store locations to sell its fresh baked goods. It maintains roving food trucks throughout the Washington, DC, area, in addition to providing its signature trucks for private events.

Learn more:

  • How To Write a Food Truck Business Plan (+ Template)
  • 13 Profitable Food Business Ideas To Start Today
  • How To Sell Food Online: A Step-by-Step Startup Guide

2. Virtual interior design

With more than 152,000 interior design businesses across the US and an increased interest in home décor, this segment of the home industry shows much promise for business newcomers. Recent data estimates the interior design service market will bloom to about $177 billion by 2029, up from the nearly $138 billion expected in 2024. The home décor market is similarly poised for growth .

Combine that with augmented reality and you have a growing virtual interior design industry. This is a unique business idea where online shoppers are able to “see” how furniture and other décor would look in their home.

Virtual interior design remains a relatively new industry, making it prime territory for new brands. There are even online platforms, like Havenly and Spacejoy , which match virtual interior designers with clients looking for their services.

Learn more: How To Sell Furniture Online

3. Dog walking and pet-sitting

Animal lovers might consider starting a dog-walking or pet-sitting business . It’s a great way to get some exercise, build personal relationships with clients, and make all kinds of four-legged friends. A dog-walking business is especially reliant on good customer service , so if you’re a people (and dog) person, dog walking can be a great business opportunity.

Still, dog-walking businesses are highly localized, so the types of services you offer depend on where you’re located. Take Salty Paws , for example. Aside from offering traditional dog-walking and pet-sitting services for pet owners, it also offers adventure walks to locations all along New Hampshire’s seacoast.

Screengrab from Salty Paws website.

Learn more: How To Start a Pet Business (Top 11 Ideas)

4. Membership-based online education

There continues to be a growing demand for online learning and remote teaching. If you create an online course business, you can sell memberships and be a virtual teacher. Online courses teach just about everything a person might want to learn⁠—from cooking to playing the piano—so it’s an industry that offers many possibilities and may be a perfect fit for new merchants looking to establish themselves.

In terms of revenue streams⁠, you could sell access to recorded lessons, tickets to livestreaming sessions, and even relevant, accompanying products in an online store .

Or, take a more hands-off approach. For example, Helm Publishing offers open-book, self-study courses with accompanying tests and textbooks so customers can learn at their own pace.

Screengrab from Helm Publishing Culture page.

Not sure what to teach? People tend to turn to Google when they want to know how to do something, so a good way to get your foot in the door of the industry is to perform some keyword research and see what types of lessons searchers would like to learn.

Learn more: How to Create an Online Course in 10 Steps

5. Virtual assistant services

Virtual assistants are contracted workers that provide a wide range of services, including accounting , content marketing , and completing personal tasks like planning trips or managing schedules. You can assist virtually as a full-time job or side business .

Since businesses can hire virtual assistants from anywhere in the world, being a virtual assistant doesn’t restrict you to any specific location. Look to virtual assistant business examples like Fancy Hands and Zirtual as inspiration for your small business.

Related article

How to start a business with no money in 2024 (8 easy steps).

A graphic dollar sign with a strikethrough over top indicating "no money"

Looking to start a business in 2024 but low on funds? Use these examples and tips to launch your next great idea on a budget.

Learn more: 11 Part-Time Business Ideas to Start in Your Spare Time (2024)

6. Niche cleaning service

Cleaning can be a chore, but if you find it gratifying or enjoy helping others, this could be a good business idea to pursue. There are many reasons someone might wish to delegate cleaning to a professional. Your business might specialize in niche areas such as bereavement home cleaning after the death of a loved one, car cleaning, or provide cleaning services following renovations.

Take PramWash ⁠, a Singapore-based stroller and child-gear cleaning service provider. While stroller cleaning might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cleaning services, it still has a consumer demand, and PramWash has cornered the market.

On top of stroller cleaning, PramWash also offers other services for new parents⁠—like in-home cleaning and disinfection treatments that use pet- and baby-safe cleaning products.

Cleaning services tend to stay in high demand , so pick a business name and get started with your new venture. When you own a cleaning business, you are building potentially long-lasting personal relationships with your customers.

Learn more: 8 Service Business Ideas To Turn Your Expertise into Profit

7. Local grocery delivery

Groceries are a common need, but not everyone has equal access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other grocery items. Grocery delivery services let shoppers pick out items from the comfort of their homes and have them delivered⁠.

Grocery delivery has to serve at a local level since items like fresh meats and produce can spoil and need to be delivered quickly. That means that there are communities worldwide that have the potential to grow a niche grocery delivery business.

Retirement communities, college campuses, and densely populated areas tend to be perfect for starting a local business delivering groceries. Take, for example, Yummy.com ’s online grocery store and delivery service, which provides fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and other goods to customers throughout the Los Angeles area.

Learn more: Build a Successful Ecommerce Grocery Store with These Strategies

8. Online zines

If you love writing, chances are you’ve thought about founding your own magazine. Zines are small-circulation magazines that typically focus on niche topics. Zines tend to be fairly small and independent, so the industry is more accessible to newcomers.

The subject of your zine can be anything. Whether you’re an artist, designer, or writer, there are ample opportunities to showcase your talent and make money. Chances are, you’ll be more successful covering a topic that you’re passionate about.

Selling digital subscriptions to your zine is easy when using Shopify’s Digital Downloads app. If you want to sell physical copies, you could use a self-publishing app such as Lulu Direct .

You can also hire freelance remote workers to help with content creation.

Learn more: Subscription Business Model: Benefits, Types, and Tips for 2024

9. CNC-based business

A CNC machine (also called a CNC router) is a computer-operated cutting tool that enables you to carve complex shapes out of materials like wood, metals, plastic, and glass. Since it operates via computer, CNC machines are able to mass produce goods in a fraction of the time it would take a professional builder.

Small-scale CNC machines can cost as low as a few hundred dollars or thousands of dollars. This makes it easier for small businesses to mass produce custom-designed products on a shoestring budget from their garages, basements, or bedrooms.

Demand for CNC products tends to be especially high on online marketplaces like Etsy and Facebook Marketplace. There are many products you could make with a CNC machine, including home décor, cooking tools, toys, games, and more.

Take Avocrafts , for instance. Its line of cedar coasters and placemats are cut from a combination of wood and resin in such a way that each individual piece has a unique pattern. Drawing on the demand for uniqueness, Avocrafts offers its customers a high-quality product that’s one of a kind but still easy to mass produce.

Screengrab from Avocrafts best sellers page.

Learn more: Putting the Pieces Together: 27 CNC Projects That Sell

10. Freelance bookkeeping

Freelance small business accounting services are typically in high demand, especially for small business owners. Take into consideration startup, overhead, and other operational costs, and you’ll quickly see the necessity of entrepreneurs having a solid financial foundation from which to build their business. Bookkeeping services offer crucial business support, and a freelance bookkeeping business offers you the flexibility to work with a variety of clients and set your own schedule.

As with virtual assisting, bookkeeping is a great home business for people who want to stay mobile, since it’s easy to work remotely. A good bookkeeper should be organized, detail oriented, and capable of multitasking, since they’re likely to be working with multiple clients at any given time. You can search examples of freelance bookkeeping services on sites like Bark.com .

Learn more: Ecommerce Bookkeeping 101 for Small Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

11. Author-preneur business

So many writers dream of being published authors, but the idea of having to spend months negotiating with big publishing companies over the creative direction of their work⁠ (and cut of the profits⁠) can be discouraging.

But you can take the reins and become an author-preneur, which is an author who not only writes their own books but also sells them (and any related merch), cutting out publishing companies to directly engage with an audience. Author-preneurs take full ownership over the promotion of their works, often using social media marketing to build a dedicated fan base.

Whether your genre is romance, science fiction, or guides on how to build birdhouses, establishing an author-preneur business can be easy to start and financially rewarding.

With a number of print-on-demand book options to choose from, you are able to have high-quality copies of your books printed and shipped directly to consumers—so there’s no overhead or need to hold onto boxes of unsold stock in your garage or living room.

Some of the most successful writers to emerge in the past decade have been self-published author-preneurs, like Rupi Kaur .

Rupi is a poet who began sharing snippets of her work on Tumblr and Instagram . Unable to find a publisher for her work, Rupi made the decision to move forward without one, instead focusing on growing and engaging her online fan base. The move paid off: Her first self-published book, milk and honey , became the best selling book in Canada in 2017 .

Along with her books of poetry, Rupi also sells her own merch to fans⁠—such as clothing, prints, stationary, and temporary tattoos featuring her artwork. Creating additional streams of revenue like this on your store can help supplement income, giving you time to focus on writing.

Learn more: How to Print Your Own Book in 9 Steps

12. Novelty t-shirts

T-shirts are one of the most common items of clothing, but they often act as more than just clothing. People use t-shirts to express themselves—their interests, their identities, their values, or sometimes just their favorite bands.

The global custom t-shirt printing market is expected to reach $45.5 billion in 2024 , and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.1% from 2023 to 2030 . You might not think of t-shirts as unique, but the industry is so expansive because the niching possibilities are endless.

Even with a high volume of competitors, no other brand will be selling your exact shirts. Whether they feature catchy jokes, intricate designs, stunning artwork, or rousing political slogans⁠—no other product like yours will exist.

Learn more: Start Your T-Shirt Business: Guide

13. TikTok personal trainer

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social networks, exposing a large number of potential audience members to your content. It also tends to be an especially personal app, with influencers relying on their personalities to help build relationships with their target audience .

Personal training is, well, personal⁠—meaning building a high-level of trust with your clientele is especially important. Together, you can do what you love and promote your services on a platform to help fast-track your reach. Nurturing client relationships can take time for a traditional personal trainer, but having a dedicated following on a social media network like TikTok gives you a head start on the competition.

Your TikTok marketing could include post-workout routines and tips, engage your audience with fitness challenges, share nutritious recipes, or update people about your day-to-day life.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out TikTok influencer Ulissesworld . A former professional bodybuilder, Ulisses has grown to become one of fitness TikTok’s most popular content creators⁠. He’s also not afraid of deviating from fitness to show a more fun and personal side as well.

Learn more: How To Make Money on TikTok: 8 Proven Ideas

Get paid by brands you love with Shopify Collabs

Shopify Collabs makes it easy to find brands that match your vibe, build affiliate relationships, get paid for what you sell, and track everything in one place.

14. Life coach

If your best entrepreneurial asset is your ability to build personal relationships with clients, life coaching could be the perfect fit.

Coaches can work with clients facing a number of challenges and may specialize in niches like relationships, career development, dealing with conflict, or just providing support to clients in the midst of overcoming obstacles.

While not a substitute for professional counseling, life coaching can make a significant difference in the lives of your clients—and can be an especially fulfilling online business to pursue.

Life coaching usually focuses on identifying client goals, assessing obstacles to achieving those goals, and developing a plan of action for overcoming those obstacles.

For example, take the life coaches at Gay Man Thriving . They’re relationship experts who work exclusively with gay men, helping them overcome the fear of rejection in the pursuit of love.

Screengrab from Gay Man Thriving website.

By focusing on an underserved community, Gay Man Thriving immediately sets itself apart from competing relationship advice programs.

Learn more: How to Be Successful: Essential Tips for Success in Life

15. Local travel guides and maps

Well-versed travelers know that the best guides are often the local ones. Whether looking for clubs, restaurants, events, or the best hiking trails⁠—it's the people who live in a travel destination that often have the best ideas for how to spend your time there.

If you live in a popular tourist area, chances are travelers are looking for things to do. Why not show them with your own line of local travel guides? Travel guides can take many forms⁠—you could sell audio walking tours, books, maps, or even augmented reality tours.

And you don’t have to live in Paris or New York to create these types of resources. Smaller tourist destinations can also have equally high demand, since fewer tourist resources may be available. TravelBrains is an example of a travel guide business specializing in unique, guided experiences.

Screengrab of Travel Brains products page featuring DVDs.

Based in Bedford, New Hampshire, TravelBrains offers audio field guides created by local historians that help tourists learn more about the area’s many historical sites.

You don’t have to solely niche by location, either. You can make tourist maps and travel guides for a specific group of hobbyists. For example, MAD Maps offers state and city maps specifically for motorcyclists, detailing the best routes through the US.

Learn more: Top 10 Print-on-Demand Book Services for Self-Publishing

Screengrab of Mad Maps website with map packages.

Reach customers everywhere they are with Shopify

Shopify comes with powerful tools that help you promote and sell products on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Google, and YouTube from one back office. Make sales on multiple channels and manage everything from Shopify.

16. Podcasts

Podcasting is one of the fastest-growing forms of media. As of 2024, over 135 million people in the U.S. listen to podcasts—and the number of listeners is expected to grow over the next five years.

This leaves ample opportunity for newcomers to start a podcast and build an audience. Podcasting is inexpensive, easy to learn, and one of the few collaborative media projects that can be done from several different locations, making it perfect for working remotely.

It's fairly straightforward to monetize podcasts . A common online business model for podcasters is to offer a shorter, free version of the podcast alongside a longer, more in-depth paid version. You can also develop super niche podcasts that cater to a specific audience willing to pay for unique, exclusive content.

As you start to build an audience for your podcast, you could also monetize by selling merch or doing live recording events.

The podcast Crime Junkie focuses on true-crime storytelling and provides exclusive content through paid, tiered memberships ranging from $60 to $240 a year. Crime Junkie consistently ranks among the top podcasts in the US.

Podcasters tend to have a level of authority with their audience, making popular podcasts widely sought after by brands looking for partnerships.

Learn more: How To Start a Podcast in 11 Steps

Four steps to follow up on your unique business idea

  • Come up with a unique selling proposition
  • Develop a business plan
  • Promote your business through SEO
  • Launch your online store

Standing out is no easy task in the world of business, but when you’re trying to get your business off the ground, it’s crucial to set yourself apart from your competitors. Having a unique business idea is a great starting point. Here’s what to do next:

1. Come up with a unique selling proposition

You may have a unique idea, but it doesn’t mean you won’t have competition. A competing business may not have the exact same service as you, but if customers choose them, then you need a way to set yourself apart.

A unique selling proposition is the selling point that makes your business different from competitors. When customers are overwhelmed with options, it helps if they can quickly and easily understand what makes your business different.

That’s why it’s important to develop a unique selling proposition to guide your branding and digital marketing decisions. Focusing on a specific selling point in your marketing will help easily explain what makes your business different to customers, and help create a more memorable idea of your business in your audience’s mind.

Learn more: Win Sales With a Unique Selling Proposition + 9 Examples

2. Develop a business plan

There are many steps to growing your business, from coming up with an idea to hiring collaborators to evaluating startup costs. A good business plan can help you clarify potential roadblocks and secure any resources you might need.

Good entrepreneurs can adapt to change, but it’s still important to have a plan. Take the time to:

  • Research your business idea
  • Identify potential challenges and pain points
  • Consider what you’ll need to grow your business
  • Develop a timeframe for putting your business plan into action

Learn more: How To Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps

3. Promote your business through SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO , involves practices and strategies for bringing search engine traffic to your online store or social media profiles. SEO is especially important for unique businesses since potential audiences are likely to be searching for a solution that your business offers.

SEO best practices include creating web content that’s extracted by Google’s web-crawling algorithm and supports your SEO strategy, and optimizing keywords that existing and potential customers might use in their product search.

As studies have shown, 75% of users rarely click past the first page of search results, so getting the top position on the search engine results page ( SERP ) for your keywords gives your brand a competitive advantage.

Learn more: Complete Ecommerce SEO Guide

4. Launch your online store

When ready to launch your store, assess your level of preparedness to take your business online by asking yourself several key questions:

  • Is your payment processor set up correctly?
  • Do you have any dead links on your website?
  • Are pages easy to navigate?
  • Will your customers find what they’re looking for?

To help navigate this step, consider creating a launch checklist to organize your thoughts and streamline all the tasks you’ll need to complete before opening your store.

Learn more: Launch Your Store in 2024: 15-Step Ecommerce Checklist

An image of a finger pointing at a sticky note on a whiteboard.

Stand out from the competition with a unique business idea

Starting your first business can be an incredibly exciting experience, but it also comes with challenges. Yes, coming up with an idea is important, but remember: How you execute the idea is often the deciding factor in success.

Focus on the elements of your business that are unique or solve a common problem in a new way, or on how your product is otherwise different from the competition.

Smartphones were invented years before the iPhone, electric cars existed ahead of Tesla, and Amazon wasn’t the first company to sell products online .

The best business ideas aren’t always completely original—but with passion and a drive for innovation, you too can set your business apart from the competition.

  • How to Start a Dropshipping Business- A Complete Playbook for 2024
  • The Ultimate Guide To Dropshipping (2024)
  • How To Source Products To Sell Online
  • The 13 Best Dropshipping Suppliers in 2024
  • 25 Best Ways to Make Money From Home in 2024
  • 130+ Dropshipping Products To Sell for Profit
  • Product Ideas: 17 Places To Find Profitable Products
  • The Founder’s Zodiac- The College Student’s Star Map to Starting a Small Business
  • 10 Easy and Profitable Crafts to Make and Sell
  • What is Social Entrepreneurship? Types and Examples

Unique business ideas FAQ

What are some unique business ideas.

The best business ideas usually either offer a new spin on an existing business or provide service to a niche market that might not be adequately served by existing products and services. To get some inspiration, check out the unique businesses above.

How can you make business ideas profitable?

There’s no easy answer for making a business profitable, but if you’re offering a unique service, it helps to promote your business through SEO and social media marketing , as well as to have multiple streams of income to draw from.

How do you come up with a unique business idea?

To come up with a great business idea , think about successful businesses that you find inspiring. What is it that sticks out to you about these businesses? What sets them apart? Then ask yourself what they could be doing better. Oftentimes, completing a competitive analysis and identifying problems in competing businesses can ignite a new idea for your own successful small business.

What new business can I start?

If you’re looking to find even more business ideas , check out some of these resources:

  • 30+ Life-Changing Business Opportunities To Try
  • 25 Side Hustle Ideas To Make Extra Money
  • Make Learning Fun With 23 Awesome Business Ideas for Kids
  • 11 Part-Time Business Ideas To Start In Your Spare Time
  • 60+ Small Business Ideas To Start

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How to write a value proposition for a business plan

Table of Contents

What is a value proposition?

Aspects that make up your value proposition, how to write a value proposition for a business plan (and everywhere else), value proposition canvas, customer profile, the steve blank formula, tips to create a value proposition that converts, take your business to new heights with countingup.

A value proposition is an articulate description of why customers should choose your business over others. In other words, your value proposition is the foundation of your competitive advantage. So it’s important to highlight it in your business plan to show potential investors and other stakeholders that you’re worth their time and money.

This guide will show you how to write a value proposition for a business plan. We’ll cover the following topics:

  • Why you need to include a value proposition
  • Tips to write a value proposition that converts

In a business plan, your value proposition comes after your executive summary and company description, meaning readers already have a general understanding of your business. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a value proposition describes the value you promise to deliver to your ideal customer or client. 

Basically, you use your proposition to explain why someone would invest in your business and solution over anyone else. You already know why your business is special, but the key is to make it clear to anyone who reads your business plan. 

Your value proposition is only a simple statement rather than a long message, such as Grammarly ’s “Great writing, simplified” or HelloFresh ’s “Take the stress out of mealtime ”. Both these companies tell you how they help you in just a few words. 

But don’t let the simplicity keep you from coming up with a good value statement in the first place. The important thing is that your statement answers the following questions:

  • What problem or pain point does your business solve?
  • What are the benefits people get from your solution?
  • Why should someone invest in you rather than your competitors? 
  • What’s your advantage over other companies?

When developing your value proposition for your business plan, make sure you consider and include the following elements:

  • Vision – this describes the ‘why’ of your business, meaning why you do what you do. Your vision shares your aspirations and how they help guide your efforts.
  • Mission – this is where you explain what you do and how you do it. Describe the strategies you use to achieve your vision. 
  • Values – here, you describe your values as a business and what characteristics clients thank you for (or will thank you for). 
  • Unique selling point – your unique selling point (or USP) is the distinct advantage you have over your competitors that makes you stand out in the market. It can be your price, quality, design, selection, or even words. Or perhaps you offer a highly efficient service because you have a system like Countingup that speeds up many of your internal processes?
  • Ideal client – you need to know who your ideal customer/client is to clearly communicate why they need your solution specifically. Try creating an ideal customer profile where you add all the relevant information you have about your ideal client. The more specific your profile, the easier it will be to explain your solution’s value to that group of people.

There are a few ways you can create a value proposition for your business. Here are some methods you can use.

This visual tool helps you position your solution around your customers’ needs. You can use the value proposition canvas to build your first statement or to enhance the one you already have. The canvas has two components: the customer profile and the value map. Let’s look at the parts that make up each component.

  • Gains – the benefits your customer expects and needs that will increase the likelihood of attracting them to a value proposition.
  • Pains – the negative experiences, emotions and risks customers want to escape.
  • Customer jobs – the tasks customers try to perform, needs they try to satisfy, or problems they try to solve.
  • Gain creators – how your solution helps create customer gains and satisfy their needs and expectations. 
  • Pain relievers – how your solutions help eliminate customer pains.
  • Products and services – the products and services you provide that create customer gains and relieves their pains. 

Explore each section from your customers’ perspective, imagining how each benefit increases pleasure or decreases pain for the person using your solution. 

For example, every self-employed person has financial management tasks they need to complete. By using Countingup , they can manage their finances from one simple app and minimise their time spent on these tasks. They’ll feel less stressed and more inspired to move their businesses forward. 

If you think the value proposition canvas is too complicated, you can try the simple formula by entrepreneur Steve Blank . He noticed many startup founders focus on features instead of benefits when attempting to create their value proposition. Instead of summarising how their company offers value to customers, leaders get stuck trying to choose which features to highlight. 

The Steve Blank formula gives you a way to transform your ideas into a simple sentence. Simply write down your ideas like this:

We help (X) do (Y) by doing (Z)

Let’s look at each component a little closer:

  • We help X = Who is your ideal client, and what problem or pain point do they suffer with? 
  • Do Y = Where does your ideal customer want to achieve by using a solution like yours?
  • by doing Z = What value does your business deliver to the customer, and what makes you unique from your competitors?

When using this formula to come up with your value proposition, remember to go with your gut. Sometimes the first thing that comes to mind is the best. 

For example:

Countingup helps self-employed entrepreneurs manage their businesses efficiently by streamlining key financial processes. 

To wrap up, here are a few quick tips to help you create a value proposition that will inspire investors to keep reading your business plan and convert leads to customers. 

  • Keep it short and concise – your statement needs to instantly tell people why they should buy from you. 
  • Be precise – your value proposition should offer targeted solutions to specific needs.
  • Focus on the customer – your goal is to prove how you solve customers’ problems, not your own. 
  • Value takes many shapes – there are a bunch of ways you can deliver value to your customers, including money, convenience, time, and superior quality or service.

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 

Save yourself hours of accounting admin so you can focus on growing your business. 

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Apply now .


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    1. Focus on your customers. Customer experience is at the heart of a good unique selling proposition. Today's customers face a multitude of choices and tend to make decisions very quickly. To win them over, you must understand their needs and challenges, and offer them solutions. Ask yourself these questions:

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    1. Come up with a unique selling proposition. You may have a unique idea, but it doesn't mean you won't have competition. A competing business may not have the exact same service as you, but if customers choose them, then you need a way to set yourself apart. A unique selling proposition is the selling point that makes your business ...

  21. How to write a value proposition for a business plan

    Aspects that make up your value proposition. When developing your value proposition for your business plan, make sure you consider and include the following elements: Vision - this describes the 'why' of your business, meaning why you do what you do. Your vision shares your aspirations and how they help guide your efforts.

  22. Unique Selling Proposition (USP) » Businessplan.com

    Optimize your business plan with AI, utilizing it in conjunction with the Model-Based Planning™ worksheet, crafting compelling narratives, analyzing market and industry trends, and forming key assumptions in your financial models ... Unique Selling Proposition (USP) Generic selectors. Exact matches only Search in title Search in content Post ...