How can you be successful in business? Simple: have something that separates you from the pack. What makes you different is the unique selling proposition (USP) or a competitive advantage. This advantage isn’t sustainable if it is easily copied. That’s one reason NOT TO use price points to position your business. There’s always a competitor who’s willing to do it cheaper. To identify your USP, start with a personal passion – what makes you stand our as say an artist or photographer. Focus on what you do best, make it a personal niche, and be able to describe in a few words. Linda Strickland of NatureRestoresMe photography, specializes in nature shots. Linda will shoot photos in the sun for hours at Chicago’s Botanical Gardens to capture a colorful bird. She certainly takes other photos, but her niche is nature photography and she is well-known for her work.
Jack-of- all-trades suggests master of none—so why are you memorable? According to “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” (Ries & Trout, McGraw-Hill), it matters more what YOU do than what the competition does. When positioning your business, say Ries and Trout, you need to know what consumers think of the competition. “Positioning is not what you do to a product [it’s how] you position the product in the mind of the prospect.” With hundreds to thousands of options in any industry, people typically remember only a few brands in any category. Once you own a niche in a consumer’s mind, it is difficult for others to copy and/or replace your established brand. According to Ries and Trout, positioning is not about creating something new and different, but manipulating an existing perception, and bridging to connections that already exist. If somebody already owns the position you want, work around it. If you want to capture nature photographs and be known for the niche, travel to a different geographic area and take pictures of bluebirds and orioles instead of hummingbirds.
Photography is one example cited here, but the concept is true for any industry. Why should a customer buy your line of little stuffed animals when Beanie Babies is the major player in that niche? Maybe your offering is a hypo-allergenic version or a family of animals – mommy, daddy, and baby lions, rabbits, or deer? Or pick exotic animals not found in your geographic area or country. The point here is that many people and companies do the same thing that you want to do. Many brands are established. You need to think differently and market your version of the passion that drives you.
By Dion D. Shaw
Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs
Homepreneurs. New Day. New Opportunity