We recently gave you the lowdown on what’s known as a unique selling proposition, or USP. Essentially, a USP is a unique component of your business that sets it apart from others in your industry and is an element that can make or break a business idea.
Because it’s so critical to a business, a USP isn’t the easiest thing to identify. Especially, because there are probably a million other businesses in any given industry that offer similar products or services.
So to inspire you on your search for the ideal USP, the ladies at freelancemom.com went on a hunt to find 10 super kick-ass examples that will help incite your plan of attack on the business world. Ladies and gentleman – a round of applause, please.
Mom #1. Debbie Wiener, Founder of Slobproof
About: When Debbie Wiener was out building her interior design business and beautifying the homes of her clients, her two sons and husband were at home destroying her own homestead. It wasn’t unusual for Debbie to come home to greasy curtains, food stains, broken lamps, stained carpet and walls plastered with orange fingerprints from every man’s favorite food – Doritos. So what was her solution? Combine her passion for interior design with her own need for “slob-proof” yet aesthetically pleasing design solutions. With that, Debbie launched Slobproof! – interior design solutions targeted towards busy families, pet-lovers, single parents and cleaning-impaired.
Why it works: Interior design solutions are a dime a dozen, but interior design solutions that survive kids, pets and those who hate cleaning are rare.
Her advice: Do what you practice and don’t try to fake it. We are three women working out of a basement and we’re proud of it! Wow your customers with your expertise, service and personal experience. Not everyone will be your customer and that’s okay.
Mom #2. Emily Kane, Founder of milkmakers
About: When Emily Kane returned to work after having her first child, she struggled with the stress of fitting in work, being a mom, raising her child and of course, pumping her own breast milk. After learning about lactation cookies, Emily decided to try her hand at lactation-inducing cookie recipes. With the belief that working mothers would appreciate convenient and delicious lactation cookies, Emily launched milkmakers around the idea of empowering the 21st century breastfeeding mom who wants to “do it all.”
Why it works: The milkmakers line, of which Emily was the first to bring to market, provides busy breastfeeding moms with a delicious, healthful, convenient, organic solution to boost milk supply.
Her advice: Look at your life. What are your habits? Where do you shop? Why do you shop? When do you find yourself raving about a product or service? Your business idea is probably connected to your passion. Now, you need to listen to yourself – why are you so passionate about your idea? How will it make a difference? How will it add value? That key thought will give you the understanding of why your proposition is unique. Most importantly – be genuine. Your authentic experience is valuable and important, and it can change the way that other people think.
Mom #3. Renee Zau, Founder of DonationMatch
About: Renee Zau’s DonationMatch, might be a startup, but we think it has big potential because of its strong USP of connecting businesses and nonprofits through a mutually beneficial relationship. DonationMatch connects businesses who regularly donate goods and services for charitable purposes, to nonprofits who are seeking those goods and services .The online business works like a dating site, with each party choosing and approving who they connect with.
Why it works: It’s a convenient e-platform that saves both sides time, legwork and money.
Her advice: Create a solution to your own problem, and figure out why all other existing solutions did not meet your needs. That is what differentiates you.
Mom #4. Lisa Alexander, The Marketing Stylist™
About: Lisa Alexander, founder of The Marketing Stylist, is one fabulous chip off of the traditional marketing consultancy block. Lisa, who sees the launch of a marketing campaign similar to a red carpet event, helps prepare her clients for the launch of important business events, whether it’s a marketing campaign, a client presentation, a conference or other big ticket occasions.
Why it works: There are plenty of marketing consultants in the world, but marketing stylists? That’s pretty exclusive. Lisa’s USP of getting her clients “red carpet ready” for business events puts a modern twist on a traditional role, and dazzles her clients just as much as it dazzles us.
Her advice: Don’t be afraid to do and be something different. Just because you haven’t seen it before or know someone with your exact model doesn’t mean it won’t be successful. Be okay “doing you.”
Mom #5. Akemi Williams, Founder of TeetheMe
About: With an understanding that modern parents are too busy or too overwhelmed by the inundation of baby and new mom products on the market, Akemi Williams launched TeetheMe, a monthly subscription service that sends full-size versions of mom-approved products directly to subscribing mothers for $24 per month.
Why it works: Because products are tested prior to distribution, TeetheMe eases the burden of scouring retailer shelves and online reviews to find the safest and highest-quality products. Even better? Subscribing moms are invited to join the TeetheMe community to share product reviews with other parents.
Her advice: Take the things that you are truly passionate about and have a real gift at doing and turn it into something you love, while offering consumers items that there is a real need for.
Mom #6. Lauren Elward, CEO of Castle Ink
About: With a budget of under $1,000 and a passion for the environment, Lauren Elward started Castle Ink, to recycle, refill and reuse printer ink cartridges and laser toner from companies such as Lexmark, HP and Epson.
Why it works: Castle Ink sells recycled ink cartridges that are less expensive than name brand replacements. They offer 100% guarantee, free shipping and pride themselves on outstanding, timely service. It also saves the landfills from eating 375 million cartridges per year. Now that’s something we can all appreciate.
Her advice: If you are going to start your own business, be sure that it’s something you are passionate about. It’s easy to get burned out, but you can overcome it if you believe in what you are doing. I’ve been passionate about recycling all my life, and that’s really what spurred me to start and continue to manage Castle Ink.
Mom #7. Pamela Devaney, Founder & Partner of Ten Fingers 4 Paws
About: In 2008, after the birth of her adopted daughter Avery, Pamela looked around at her “kids” – two cats, one dog and of course, new child, and realized she wanted a convenient place to buy all of the essential products her “kids” needed. Today, Pamela runs Ten Fingers 4 Paws, a one-stop online eco-shop for “kids” of all sorts.
Why it works: No matter if your “kids” have hands or paws, moms can find every essential product needed at Pam’s online eco-boutique.
Her advice: Find a niche that you love, that you know something about and that you’ll be happy embracing and growing with for years to come. Do not look for the quick fix. Think 90-days, 1 year, 3 and 5 years out. Write a kick-ass business plan and do not go into debt starting your business. Have a strong marketing plan and execute it daily. Surround yourself with good supporters and at least one strong and experienced industry mentor.
Mom #8. Melanie Lundheim, Founder of Good Copy Fast
About: Whoever said you need an insanely creative business name to be successful hasn’t met Melanie Lundheim. Melanie’s freelance writing business is what it is – good copy, fast – and it works. Period.
Why it works: Good Copy Fast resonates with Fortune 500 clients, because her USP and business name is what she truly provides her clients with. Her USP is quick, simple and to-the-point, and matches her “hot potato” philosophy of keeping the ball in her clients’ courts.
Her advice: Make your USP coincide with your passions and strengths. A USP that’s truly you is the only one you’ll be able to sustain over time.
Mom #9. Mallory Mansour, Owner & Trainer
About: Mallory, a mother of three boys, started Positively Fit Lake Highlands to encourage fierce fitness with compassion and social fellowship in a Dallas community. She targets stay-at-home moms and part-time workers, and offers classes at convenient times for moms. She also offers free classes to women who take turns babysitting the younger children in the playroom.
Why it works: Mallory’s USP is taking the intimidation factor out of the fitness equation by infusing it with a loving message of both inner and outer health and strength. Now that’s a USP any mom can appreciate.
Her advice: Attract people you know and love. Ask them what they want as often as possible, and try to find ways to give it to them. Get to know your clientele if possible – if you are going to work closely with a certain demographic, you should enjoy them. There is nothing I love more than socializing and exercising with women like me. And I get to do it every day – what a joy!
Mom #10. Lori Bizzoco, Founder/Executive Editor of CupidsPulse.com
About: Lori Bizzoco, relationship expert and founder of CupidsPulse.com is one very smart woman. Why? Because she capitalized on every woman’s obsession with celebrity gossip, repackaged it, and turned it into a tool to help women navigate their own love lives. Genius, pure genius. Through late-breaking entertainment news, CupidsPulse.com sparks online conversation about life issues such as marriage, divorce and pregnancy and counsels those who may be in such similar shoes.
Why it works: It brings together two major addictions of the entire female population under one roof.
Her advice: First, focus on what you like to do and find your passion. If you are planning to start your own business, you really should do something you enjoy. This way you will be able to get through the long hours and rough patches. After you have identified your passion, research the internet or your local community to see what’s already out there. What are other people doing in this field? Make a list of the missing gaps or areas that don’t seem to be getting much attention and see if there is a need. Sometimes, there is a reason for things that don’t exist. However, with passion and research on your side, the USP will often start to present itself naturally.
Are you seeing a pattern with each of these successful women? I hope you are. Each women mentioned has been successful (minus blood, sweat, tears and hard work) because of a unique selling proposition that stems from 1.) An utter passion for something and 2.) A desire to provide a solution and fulfill a gap in the market.
Now On to You
What is your USP and does it meet these criteria?
How can you tweak your USP to bring out the unique aspects of what you offer?
Go ahead and tell us. We want to help you craft it and what is better than getting honest feedback from other women?