by Josh Amidon

“Why should I buy from you?” It has plagued the small business owner since the dawn of time. Ok, I can’t really prove that – but I imagine the very first small business owners struggling over how to answer “why should I buy this fancy new wheel from you and not from the guy in the cave next to you?”

The first thing you need to do is get out your small business decoder ring and decipher the question the customer is really asking is “what’s in it for me?”

The best answer to this question is called USP – Unique Selling Proposition. Identifying and communicating a concise statement of your business’ most compelling offer and/or benefit – that’s all a USP is!

“Buy from us because we’ve been doing this for 20 years,” or “we’re dependable” don’t count (you didn’t think it was that easy, did you?). The fact that you’re dependable, honest or offer fair pricing are all expectations….not points of differentiation. There’s a reason you’ve never heard a business tagline “I started doing this yesterday, I’m sorta flighty and I lie giving the time.”

To craft a killer USP create a list of all the benefits of doing business with your business. Don’t leave a thing out.

Then using these guidelines weed-out the “losers” (not a textbook marketing term, but it works):

Keep the items that are unique vs your direct competitors in your trade area.
Which of the items left are most important to your ideal customer?
Which of the items left are difficult for your competitors to copy?
Which of the items left can be communicated the easiest?

Take what remains and BAM! you have your USP! It’s a little like magic - I feel like David Copperfield asking you if this is the card you picked.

One word of warning: you better deliver on the USP to the customer – failure to do so will do more harm than not even having a USP.   

If you need more help, please don't hesitate to ask me at (315) 258-8780, or visit