Every company has its good and bad points, yet some business owners spend so much time trying to eliminate weaknesses that they never capitalize on their strengths. 

Take the time to identify your company's unique selling proposition -- what makes you different from the competition. Your competitive edge might be something as complex as developing a state-of-the-art computer system or as simple as having warm, friendly employees.

Failing to communicate the attributes that make your business special is like entering a boxing ring with one hand tied behind your back. You might come out a winner but the odds are against it.

Involve employees from every level in your company and hold some brainstorming sessions to come up with your USP. It should be a powerful, concise statement that prospective customers understand. Ask the following four questions:

  • What elements make our products or services unique?
  • Which elements are most important to our growth?
  • Which elements are the most difficult for our competitors to copy?
  • What is the Number One Reason customers should buy from us?

Parlay Strength into Success

An office equipment retailer appeared to be doing everything right. It offered 24-hour service on all business machines sold or leased, free loaners when equipment was being repaired, and renewal of maintenance contracts for as long as customers owned the machines.

No other retailer in the area matched these perks, yet the company was being hit hard by rivals. Long-time customers took the service policies for granted and potential customers never learned about them. Even some of the company's employees didn't know the policies were special.

Eventually, the CEO recognized the problem and took steps to communicate the company's strong points. Today, prospective customers are given detailed brochures outlining the unmatched services. The process turned out to be a real morale builder for employees too.

Uncovering the USP let the company fight with both fists in its battle for market share.

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