Know Your Business
Defining your unique selling point
Why should your customers choose your offering over your competitors? In other words, what is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
Pinpointing your USP often requires some soul searching and creativity. To succeed, you need an in-depth knowledge of your own business performance as well as an understanding of the wider business environment you operate in. Without this knowledge you will waste valuable time, money and resources chasing opportunities that don’t suit your business and/or will not improve your bottom line.
In analysing your own business you need to be able to use your internal systems to answer questions such as:
- Which of my products/services are performing best?
- What is my average spend per customer?
- Which markets/segments are generating most revenue for my business?
- What proportion of my customer base is repeat business?
- During which times of the year does my business perform best/worst?
When considering the environment you are operating in, you will need to have a general awareness of changing trends in the tourism industry and how they influence your business and your customers. For example, how would a significant change in currency exchange rates impact on your regular customer base? Or how would a change in legislation open up new opportunities or, conversely, limit your tourism product? Some of this awareness can be attained very easily through keeping up to date with current affairs, trade press or e-newsletters. However, for the more detailed analyses, Tourism NI undertakes regular research to monitor and evaluate visitor trends and industry trends This can be found (link to relevant section)
What makes my business stand out?
Making use of a SWOT analysis is a simple but effective way of organising your thoughts to help pinpoint your USP. Before you start, take time to consider the following factors:
- Think about the strengths and weaknesses of your key competitors to establish where there is room for innovation or growth.
- What do you do better than your competitors?
- What do they do better than you?
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Step back from your business and carefully scrutinise what your customers really want. What would make them return again and again to your business and ignore your competition? The answer might be quality, convenience, reliability or customer service.
Remember, price is rarely the only reason people buy.
Remember to consider the opportunities that lie at your doorstep. What can you utilise in your surrounding area to add depth to your product offering? Does your business share a story with an iconic attraction? Is it located in an area of natural beauty? Is there an annual music event that you could tie in with?