When it comes to building a product, startup founders sometimes seem to dwell on the illusion that an amazing product is equal to great sales. You may have thought so at some point then realized it’s not, and if you are yet to make the discovery, then this will be both an eye-opening for you and a way out.
There are a few facts that you need to walk around within your mind as a startup founder or an entrepreneur, and I will make them short in a bid to making the flow pretty easy.
- Your idea is not new, and there are lots of competitors in that space
- Your perception of the value you offer will mostly be different from what the market/customers perceive it to be.
- Your product is just as useless as an idea if it does not properly address the target market’s problems down to the point they can exchange money for such value.
- Investors will never drop a dime if they don’t see how customers will pay for your value.
Should you give up because this is precisely what you have been struggling with?
Of course, not, you need to understand what a unique selling point is and how it is the game-changer for you if you find yourself in any of these situations.
The simple and straightforward definition of a unique selling point is what your product stands for precisely in the market, (what it sells itself as) and the approach you take to offer that service. Don’t worry if you cannot still break this down well, here’s an illustration I always give to entrepreneurs and business owners to help them understand the concept of a unique selling point;
Entrepreneur A identifies a problem and decides to provide a solution to that problem. The first problem entrepreneur A will experience is the fact that people think in different ways and perceive things differently. At this point, Entrepreneur A must make a move to understand what his target audience identifies as such a problem and what they need exactly from the solution.
A unique selling point might not be the solution itself, but what is perceived to be the solution. In business, you have to go for what the customer wants and is willing to pay for, not what you think the customer will need. A customer might need a product to save time while you are building it to save cost; it is obvious such a customer will not pay for it, and if they don’t, no investor will be willing to go for it seeing you have not identified what you are selling as.
Here’s another thing to note; a product can have different unique selling points to different markets. A bottle of water can be sold as a thirst-quenching utility to people in the desert and might be sold as a diabetes-prevention utility in another location. To another market, it might be a kids-lunchbox-necessity utility.
One product, different selling points.
So, how do you create a unique selling point for your product?
1. Take a study on the need of the market
There’s a market; you have your product. Now, you don’t just want to approach the market like every other competitor; you want to stand out with an edge over them. The biggest mistake is to assume you know the market’s problem without getting the information from the market itself.
Go ahead, take surveys, gather data directly, and create a consumer persona to fit all of these into a perfect puzzle to know what exactly their problem is. You need to be sure of what their problem is and, at the same time, be sure if they are willing to pay for that product offering.
It is one thing to study the need of the market; it is another thing to convert the need to what you are selling as. The purpose of taking detailed surveys is to help you stay grounded with data and facts to align correctly.
2. Create a value chain from your product offering to meet the need of the market
It is very important to understand the need the market is willing to pay for because you need to structure your value offering to meet the demand. Demand comes from dire necessity. If you own a bottled water company, you must realize that some key factors are in place, which might be: poverty, thirst, and scarcity. If your product offering is more expensive than what the market can afford, then you don’t have space in the market.
Once you set all these conditions in place, iterate your product pattern or offering until it meets the demand and the financial capacity of the market. Your value chain is what you will have created at the end of this process. Your value chain can also be referred to as your unique selling point. This is what you have chosen to identify as your value in order to position your offering at the point of sale.
3. Build a brand around your value
Once you already have your value offering set, you need to build a brand around the value. Building a brand goes beyond designs down to how, what, and where the target consumer will perceive the value you are offering. Your target customers have a need; they are aware, you need to create a perception that will drive the usefulness of your product as well as make it stand out unique to your product alone.
If you can follow this playbook to detail, you will have an amazing unique selling point that will help you meet the market at the point of need, sale, and expansion.
Beyond doubts, nobody will ever tell you that running a company will get easy with time, and this is because the market is ever-changing; consumer behaviors changes by the day, competitors rush in to saturate the market by the second.
Besides, economic catastrophe happens, and many factors could put your product or service under threat. This is precisely why you need to set up a unique selling point, which will help you remain identifiable in the market and help build a connection and psychology around your customers.
Finally, before you rush down to determine your market size; ensure you have your USP (unique selling point). Before you pitch to investors, ensure you know your unique selling point. Before you begin the execution of your idea, ensure your unique selling point is well identified. With rapt attention to the steps above, you did be able to build one for your product.