About 6 months ago I went to lunch a couple times with a successful entrepreneur and he helped me see the value in defining my “lane”:
- Which projects I considered a sucess, both for myself and my client.
- What type of projects was I saying “yes” to when I should have been saying “no”.
- Of those clients that were a “good” fit for me, how many of them could I take REALLY good care of? (My guess was 12 to which he chuckled and said it was probably more like 10 but I could go with 12 if I wanted). I sent him an email a week or two later letting him know he was right, 10 was a much more realistic number.
Many of the lessons he helped drive home for me I had read before, but it took somebody asking me good questions for it to really click in my head.
Over the last 6 months my entire business has transformed. I am not quite at my goal of 10 clients and actually I have LESS clients than I did at our first lunch meeting, but my dollars per client is much higher, my stress level is much less, the quailty of work and the bottom line results my clients are seeing is much better. My team is happier for sure, my business is more stable and the most exciting change is I have ZERO “bad” clients. Not one. I don’t mean “bad” in the sense that they are a bad person or a bad business owner, just that they are a bad fit for me. I genuinely like, respect, and sincerely WANT every single one of my clients to experience tremendous success from working with my team and I.
I still struggle with opening my fool mouth and saying “yes” occassionaly when I should say “no.” But I am getting much better. This is a quote my entrepreneur friend shared with me at lunch that I am considering writing in huge letters all over my office.
So, with all that said, please join me in this journey in identifying my “lane” a little more clearly. Essentially creating a strong “unique selling proposition.”
I am making a blog post out of this for several reasons:
- I am getting ready to start a 30-day blog challenge where I write a new post once a day for 30 days and this post is me getting comfortable adding new content to my site.
- I plan to use this as a sample of sorts to help me find a writer to help with a couple projects.
- Hopefully, this post will prove helpful for other business owners working to create a tagline or unique selling proposition for their business.
Let’s jump right in:
I am trying to create a short, impactful sentence that communicates what my company does and who we do it for. This is my unique selling proposition.
Unless you can pinpoint what makes your business unique in a world of homogeneous competitors, you cannot target your sales efforts successfully.
Pinpointing your USP requires some hard soul-searching and creativity. One way to start is to analyze how other companies use their USPs to their advantage. This requires careful analysis of other companies’ ads and marketing messages. If you analyze what they say they sell, not just their product or service characteristics, you can learn a great deal about how companies distinguish themselves from competitors – Entrepreneur
For example, Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, always used to say he sold hope, not makeup. Some airlines sell friendly service, while others sell on-time service. Neiman Marcus sells luxury, while Wal-Mart sells bargains.
The clients I am the most comfortable serving, that I can bring the greatest value to, are service businesses – think plumbers, electricians, body shops, dentists, exterminators.
What do they have in common?
- They are all service businesses
- They all serve their local area (in other words, they don’t offer a global service)
- They go to their customers, rather than their customers coming to them
My challenge is this – “We serve service businesses that serve their local area.” No doubt you see the dilemma with that car wreck.
Let’s see what help we can find online:
Excellent article from Wordstream: The best USPs directly address a specific need experienced by a company’s ideal customer. A great unique selling prop, sometimes known as a value proposition, should also emphasize what individual quality separates a business from its competition.
Here are my notes following their suggestions:
Let’s see what my USP would look like using this example from that Wordstream article:
- For business owners
- Who need to be #1 on Google in their local area
- Matthew Rupp Consulting
- Is (one company that….?? .. partners with you, rolls up their sleeves and does the work, that takes your success as seriously as you do)
- And specializes in making your phone ring with warm leads
- Unlike other digital marketing companies that offer cookie cutter solutions, we believe in fewer clients, more personal attention and treating each client like they are our only one.
Interesting. There is a lot packed in there and I know the hard part is to keep it impactful, but BRIEF.
Let’s look at a couple more resources and see what we come up with.
There is a lot of great points in this excellent article:
- Deciding on a USP can be the most important decision you make about your business.
- It’s what makes you stand out.
- It’s about changing the conversion. Winning at a game nobody else is playing.
- When you try and please everybody you please nobody.
Another good one from Convince and Convert on the subject
One more from Kissmetrics
This one from Copyblogger is about creating a tagline but makes some excellent points that are relevant.
- There’s a saying in the copywriting world: Be clear, not clever.
- Don’t be cool. In the virtual world, there is no time for cool. People who don’t know you, your business, your products or your services land on your website. In a fraction of a second, they decide whether to leave or to stay.
- People always want something. By adding benefits to a tagline, you’re telling people what’s in it for them and what they get from you.
My example from above:
- For business owners Who need to be #1 on Google in their local area Matthew Rupp Consulting is the one company that… ?? … partners with you, rolls up their sleeves and does the work, that takes your success as seriously as you do and specializes in making your phone ring with warm leads. Unlike other digital marketing companies that offer cookie cutter solutions, we believe in fewer clients, more personal attention and treating each client like our they are the only one.
Little cleaner version:
For the business owner who needs to be #1 on Google in their local area Matthew Rupp Consulting brings the experience and track record to make your phone ring so you can focus on your business. We don’t just talk a good game we roll up our sleeves and make it happen.
- That touched on a lot of key points but could be shorter and more impactful.
For the business owner who needs to be #1 on Google in your local area Matthew Rupp consulting brings the experience, the track record and the personal attention your business needs.
- Much better (I think).
If we were changing the conversation and fighting the fight nobody else is fighting and being “different” I would have to say it is about how much my team and I really CARE about our clients, that we only have 10 clients (at the most) at a time, and the incredible variety of tasks we deliver on to get businesses ranking higher and in turn get them more customers in the door. They aren’t just a # to us. I know everybody in key positions in all my client’s offices, what’s important to them, and they all know (I believe) how much I genuinely want them to succeed. That and I know my knowledge and experience (at local SEO) is much greater than so many of the companies bombarding them with cookie cutter solutions. Coupled with my 22 years of experience being an entrepreneur and starting 4 companies from scratch and employing hundreds of people in that time. I have no more use for “key performance indicators” or meaningless reports than they do. I know what comes with being the guy the buck stops with and I bring that determination with me when I work for my clients:
- Expert advice from somebody who takes the success of your business as seriously as you do.
Getting better :) What do you think?
Hopefully, this journey to nail down my unique selling proposition has been helpful to you in some way. I would love to hear from you if you don’t mind dropping a comment. Even just to say hi!
In your corner,
Nice work, Matthew. This is a very well written and thought provoking piece.
I like your idea about having a maximum amount of clients.
It’s extremely unique, and I wonder, should this be included in your USP/value proposition statement?
Great post. I agree with so many points you made. I’d love to also have a conversation with you regarding some level of partnership between our companies.
Keep up the great work!