Finding Your Uniqueness as a Small Business Owner

We all know the saying: ‘You can’t please all the people all the time’. And in fact, trying to be all things to all people can actually be detrimental to your business. It’s important to to be distinct or unique, and set defined limits on who you are and what you do in your business.

Many small business owners lack the courage to stick to their uniqueness, worrying about losing revenue or customers if they limit their business. For example, a yoga studio might worry about losing fitness-oriented customers if they stop offering cardio fitness classes. Year after year, business owners trundle along, trying to hold their place amidst a crowd of similar competitors. Unfortunately, they don’t realise that by emphasizing their own distinction – and building their own authentic brand – they can actually increase much more business than they’ll lose.

Adopt the middle road: a multi-faceted niche

I recall starting out as a copywriter and feeling unsure about ‘niching’ my services. The thought that buzzed around my head was ‘if I don’t offer everything to everyone, I won’t get enough clients.’ And even when I researched whether it was best to generalise or to adopt a niche in the copywriting world (e.g. specialising in health or finance or real estate) – there were conflicting opinions from many reputable copywriters and marketing professionals. It was all very confusing.

Luckily my business coach encouraged me to niche, or at least to focus on a specific industry that may encompass more than one interrelated niche. So I opted for the wellness market, which is actually a vast, rapidly growing industry, which encompasses yoga studios, wellness retreats, spas, events, self-development programs, products and publications. Of course, within all of these areas there are multiple types of copywriting, including SEO, website copy, blogs, articles, promotional material, press releases and so on.

To be honest, these days I could certainly refine my niche: e.g. just write website content for wellness events or SEO for websites. But I also enjoy a range of projects that I feel confident with – and a little variety is good for the soul, and keeps the mind sharp and creative. The danger comes when there’s too much blurring of the lines. That’s when people get confused about what it is that you actually do.

Find your uniqueness and build your business around it

Here are 4 helpful ways to help you identify your own uniqueness, called USP (unique selling point).

  1. List the features and benefits that are unique about your product or service. It can definitely be helpful to do a Google search and find out what your direct competitors are doing. Look at their USP points and then see how yours could differ, even just slightly. What would set you apart from them?
  2. List aspects of your product (or services) that your competitors cannot imitate. Note anything that cannot be easily duplicated, shared or reproduced by your competitors.
  3. List the emotional needs of your customer (from their perspective). Step into your customers’ shoes and think about their pain-points or emotional needs. How could your products or services help to solve or fulfill their needs? Remember: a customer always asks internally, ‘what’s in it for me?’
  4. Create concise phrases about your unique product or service. Ensure your phrases are short and clear. Simple sentences work best here. Your customer needs to easily understand your message.

If you can follow the above steps, you’ll have the right tools and insight to create a branding phrase that contains your USP message and sets you apart in some way. The following examples highlight a unique aspect of service:
Domino’s Pizza: ‘You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less … or it’s free.’
FedEx: ‘When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.’

In summary
Avoid being a sheep trying to blend in with everyone else in your business niche. It’s your uniqueness that sets you apart and creates a growing clientele. Don’t limit your business by being everything to everyone. Follow the easy 4 steps above to find your USP and start to build your business around that. That’s how all businesses forge ahead and create a distinction from other competing businesses.

Feel free to leave a comment below. I really enjoy getting feedback and questions.