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Work & Purpose

Starting a Business? What’s Your Unique Value Proposition?

Answering that question could be the key to a successful launch


Many people in their 50s and 60s who’ve worked for someone else their entire careers start thinking they’d rather be their own boss. Maybe you realize you can earn more  as a consultant. Or you want flexible hours to care for family members. Or you’d like to help your grown child get an idea off the ground, starting a business together.

Whatever reason you have for starting a business, it’s crucial to create a unique value proposition, often called a UVP. A UVP clarifies what your business stands for, who it is designed to help and how it sets you apart from your competition.

Your UVP will be a key part of your business plan. It will inform your marketing, determine your customer service and decide on the course your business will follow to become profitable.

A UVP answers three questions:

1. Who Is Your Business Designed To Help?

Your reason to start a business influences how the enterprise runs. Seeing that there is a gap in services in your area is a different reason than trying to leverage your experience to create services.

If you are starting your business to fill a services gap, this should be part of your UVP.

For instance, if you hope to build an elder care business aimed at relieving pressure on older family caregivers, highlight that reason. Ideally, your UVP will help a potential customer immediately know if your business will help him or her.

2. What Does Your Business Stand For?

In the modern business world, companies must be transparent about their positions on issues like equality, environmental protection and labor rights. It’s not enough for a company to say it believes all people are created equal. Instead, potential customers may look at which suppliers a business works with, how the company talks about marginalized people and minorities on social media or how its workers are treated.

To demonstrate what your business stands for, show what you’re doing.

For example, if you have a vendor who works with recycled materials or uses energy-efficient production, promote that on your website and in any physical location.

If you want to support marginalized people, mention the community events your company participates in, how you work to hire a diverse group of people and your work for community revitalization.

3. How Is Your Business Different From the Competition?

Older businesspeople and those starting family businesses can often use these distinctions to differentiate themselves. This can be particularly useful if your competition is a bigger company. It can help justify higher price points while also talking about what your company can offer.

For example, if you’re starting a business as a consultant, highlighting that you’ve worked for 20 years with various high-profile companies can explain why you’re worth what you’re charging.

If you’re launching a family business that will compete against a major corporation, you’ll give people another reason to buy from you if you talk about how your customers will get individualized service and the satisfaction of knowing their money is going back into the community.

Now that you know how to create a UVP, it’s time to write your own. This will bring you closer to your goal of starting a successful business.

Sam Meenasian
By Sam Meenasian
Sam Meenasian has used his leadership, marketing, sales and operations skills to build two successful companies over a nearly 25-year career. He co-founded USA Business Insurance and BISU Insurance, which have served thousands of small businesses. Meenasian has 10 years of prior experience in real estate and holds a bachelor’s degree in business. He shares his expertise through guest articles for such media as CNBC, Fox Business, AllBusiness, Business 2 Community, Small Business Bonfire, SmartBrief, Accounting Today and Insurance Journal.

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