Who Am I? A 5 Step Process For Defining Your Unique Selling Proposition

who am I

You might be asking yourself, what is Jeff thinking with a blog post titled: "Who Am I?"

Well the reason for this title is that I believe defining your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is THE most important thing that any entrepreneur or business needs to do before starting a business. If you don't know who you are and aren't able to succinctly and clearly explain it to others, how do you expect them to engage with you or eventually buy a product from you?

Without a clear definition you'll also be perceived as being someone who is all over the map and not focused on any one specialty. Given the competitive business environment, a clear focus and being able to articulate it is a prerequisite for eventual success.

I've had personal experience in this area. When I started out on this entrepreneurial journey six years ago, I wasn't focused. I touted myself as an Integrated Marketer. The problem with this was that although it sounded impressive and all encompassing, it didn't resonate with anyone. I wasn't focused and didn't have a clearly defined value proposition to offer others.

Although I had a great deal of formal education and experience, it didn't mean much to those that I was engaging with at the time. It was the wrong audience with the wrong message that clearly didn't show a distinct difference from others out there in marketing who had well established firms. I was starting all over again after a long corporate career and went about it entirely the wrong way. You live and learn.

In an effort to ensure that you don't make the same mistake that I did, I have outlined a 5 step process below to follow which will help you to more clearly focus and provide a framework for execution. This includes:

1) Perform An Introspective Examination

The first thing you need to do is take an introspective look at yourself and/or your organization. On a personal level this might start with a personality assessment from one of the large number of vendors in this area. This should also include a SWOT analysis which involves a complete analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Don't be afraid to ask for the opinions of friends, associates or others whose feedback you value. This will give you a large amount of material to use in clearly defining who you are in the eyes of others. It should help to clarify in your mind what others are thinking so that you can formulate a branding strategy that aligns with it and is clearly focused.

2) Define Your Target Audience And Market

You need to clearly define your target audience and markets. The last thing you want to do is go after the wrong prospects who have no need for your product or services. Where are you going to fish? This needs to be clearly understood and you need to develop the strategy and tactics that you will use while engaging with this target audience. Go deep and not broad. FOCUS!

3) Conduct A Market And Competitive Analysis

After you've clearly defined who you are and your target audience, you need to make a determination as to whether or not you have any chance of being successful with your personal business or product(s). This should include a complete competitive review of other individuals and companies who have defined themselves in such a manner.

You will need to do a fairly comprehensive search of others on the Internet and determine how much competition there is and how they are positioning themselves. You will also need to give thought to how you're going to clearly articulate your message so that you stand out and are not perceived as just another me too.

4) Formulate Your Unique Selling Proposition

Once all of your homework has been done, it's time for  formulating a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) that will be the foundation for all of your written and verbal communication. This needs to include your elevator speech, so that you can clearly tell others all about yourself or your company in a very short sentence or two.

This should be written down and something which rolls off the tip of your tongue whenever asked by others as to what you do or what product(s) your company provides. It should be crafted in such a way that it includes how you solve the problem of your target audience.

5) Develop An Overall Strategy And Plan

The final step in the entire process is to tie everything together with an overall strategy and plan. Make sure your strategy is well formulated with goals and objectives, tactics, and measurement criteria. It should all be based on the homework you've done above with all messaging aligned with who you are.

Don't make the classic business mistake that so many entrepreneurs make and try to be everything to everyone. Do as I've suggested in starting out with a clear introspective look as to who you are and your launch will be a lot more successful and with a greater ROI.

Jeff is the founder of Sheehan Marketing, a social selling and sales solution provider. He is a speaker, co-host of a weekly radio show and co-author of HIRED! Paths to Employment in the Social Media Era. In 2015, Jeff was named a Top 50 Social Media Influencer.

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