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Last year, more than 30 million small businesses were open in the United States. These businesses employ almost 60 million people, and around 5.5 million of them are family owned businesses. In the modern economy, where jobs can be difficult to find but economic opportunities can be great, starting a family owned business can be the right decision for your family.

This is especially true for families where someone has retired, but isn’t ready to be done working, or where a young family is looking for a way to make ends meet even when both people can’t work nine to five.

There are a variety of different businesses that families can research; franchises offer an out-of-the-box business solution, and exist in many different industries. You can also look for local opportunities; if there isn’t a reliable elder care company in your area, for example, but there is an aging population, you might decide to fulfil that need.

But having an idea for a business is only the first step. To create a successful business, you need to create a business plan, secure funding, and find the right way to market your business. One of the key steps in marketing is creating your unique value position, often called your UVP.

What is a UVP?

Your UVP is a statement of how your business does differently than anyone else. It doesn’t have to be short or pithy, although some companies do use a simple slogan. Your value proposition should tell your customers what to expect from your business. It should be written in a way that reflects your business model.

If you are running a formal business that focuses on white glove service, for example, your UVP would be written in more formal language. A business that wants to offer a more casual vibe is going to use less formal and more easy going language. Remember, however, that informal doesn’t equal unprofessional.

Your UVP is a crucial part of your business; it should be the core of your business plan, and may be frequently reflected in your marketing plan.

So how do you determine your UVP?

Who Do You Work With?

To get your business off on the right foot, you need to begin by deciding who your company’s target market is. No company is right for every customer. Even the biggest businesses have so-called “ideal customers” who they market to.

For example, one electronics company might market to customers who are deeply committed to being in on the “next big thing,” while another might aim for customers who value aesthetics over function. These two companies are going to advertise in different ways, in different areas, and to different markets.

To understand what your company’s target market is, start asking yourself some questions. How old is your perfect customer? Do they have kids? What’s their average weekend like? Where do they work? What do they do for fun? If you don’t know the answers to any of these questions, you need to think more about what your business is going to do and why it’s going to be important.

What Makes You Stand Out?

The second part of your unique value proposition is this: what makes you stand out from the competition? After all, there are always similar companies in the area. There are other restaurants, other stores, and other service companies. So what does your company do differently?

Here are a few examples:

  • Value added services. These are services a customer can choose to purchase which tie in to their initial purchase. For example, a customer could get on-site training with a new software program, upgrade their cleaning service from a standard service to a deep clean, or get an extended warranty on their purchase.
  • Reward programs. Many companies are looking for ways to diversify from the traditional points based rewards program. Local and family based businesses can look for ways to work together; if customers show a receipt from a local store, for example, they might get a discount at restaurants in the same downtown area. Be creative with your reward programs.
  • Range of service. Maybe there are other companies in your area who offer similar programs, but you can travel to more locations. This can be particularly useful to get services in rural areas.

One place that new companies often think they can beat the competition is through lower prices. Be careful with this, however. Putting your prices too low can make potential customers think that your service is inferior to the competition. You may also find that you’re unable to make enough profits to keep your business open. Make sure that you’re pricing your products or services at their appropriate value.

On the other hand, if you have a special relationship with a vendor that lets your lower your prices, make sure to use that as part of your UVP.

Creating a unique value proposition is a crucial part of starting your business. Focusing on how your company is family owned, how it grew from your years of experience in a particular industry, or how your company offers a service or quality of product that is not found in your area, can help you make sure that your business gets the attention it deserves. That attention can translate into profits, and can help your business grow over time.