Business Model Patterns with a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

File:Sphynx - ChickenCat - edit.jpgIt’s important that both first-time entrepreneurs and struggling entrepreneurs study the patterns of business models, then choose one to implement. I share the reason why in this post here. What’s just as important is picking a pattern for your unique selling proposition (USP).

USP is a fancy marketing term for “why” your customers would pick you over your competition. This “why” is not a combination of this and that. This “why” is a very specific thing that is clear, simple, and can be communicated to a 2nd grader in one or two sentences max.

If you apply your USP to a business model pattern, you’ll move from implementing a me-too business model into the realm of business model innovation. In the book Business Model Generation (which I highly recommend), there is a section closely related to this concept called Epicenters of Business Model Innovation. The authors share these four main epicenters of innovation:

Resource Driven When you leverage some unique strength (partnerships, labor, real estate, hardware, intellectual property, or financial) to offer an unusually valuable product or service

Offer-Driven  When you are able to substantially reduce cost/risk or substantially increase performance, convenience, usability, or customization based on the way you do business.

Customer-Driven – When you’re able to provide a product or service to a customer segment or industry that previously couldn’t afford or couldn’t use it.

Finance-Driven – When you create an unusual revenue stream within your industry.  This could be through lending, renting, leasing, or licensing fees.  In addition, you could apply brokerage fees, sell advertising, or provide volume pricing in an innovative way.

With these four main epicenters in mind, my recommendation is to use them as a template for creating your USP. For example, if you are a web designer you could use the offer-driven epicenter to develop a USP for specializing in 24 hour turnaround websites since the competition usually takes weeks or months to complete a project.

If you are a personal trainer who also enjoys cooking healthy foods (or have a partner that does), you could use the resource-driven epicenter to develop a USP for specializing in both being a personal chef to help you clients eat healthily and their trainer to help them exercise properly.

Without a doubt, starting with one of these patterns when thinking about your USP makes things easier. If you need help brainstorming using this method, please don’t hesitate to contact me as I would be happy to help.