Coping With Competition Made Easy

 Nick Roberts

A motel owner who was not covering his huge rent asked me for help recently. The problem was that even from his window you can see seven other motels, all offering the same types of room at similar prices. People wandered around until they found the cheapest room and Yellow Pages confirmed that each motel was offering virtually identical features. So what can you do to survive and thrive in a competitive market place?


Most importantly, you MUST differentiate yourself from the competition. If I asked you for five reasons why I should deal with your business what would you say? Write them down now - go on - it'll only take you a minute or two. What did you come up with? The same as your competition, do you think, or a series of powerful compelling reasons of why you are different?


Thinking up a powerful USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is not easy in a competitive industry but here are some guidelines: 

  • Your USP must focus on what is important to your customer, not you.
  • The cleverest USP's are often just articulating what everyone in your industry does but doesn't tell the customer.
  • Some of the most effective USP's have been based upon the key frustrations experienced by customers. For example, builders who clear up after themselves or turn up on time.
  • Otherwise, your USP can be based on price, quality, product ingredient or contents, great customer service, positioning, size, location, hours of operation, product range or so on.

Write down every conceivable fact, promise, idea, feature, benefit, or claim, about your line of business. Then work through the items, eliminating those that are no good until you have prioritised the best in terms of importance to your customers and their likely contribution to differentiating you from the competition.


If you're not sure about an idea you've come up, e-mail it to me for objective comment. Good luck!


If you have any tax or business queries of any kind telephone 0800 ASK NICK, e-mail or use "Contact Us" on The information in this article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific advice.