The "small" in "small business" can be misleading. Along with employing 60-80% the country's working population, creating almost two-thirds of all new jobs, and contributing trillions of dollars to the economy, small business actually means big numbers.
There are currently around 28 million small businesses in the U.S. today, with over 540,000 new businesses getting started each month. The problem for those just starting out is, with so many small businesses popping up, standing out from the crowd can be a daunting task.
You need to give people a reason to choose your business over the millions of others offering the same product or service. This is done by creating a unique selling proposition (USP). To do this, new as well as existing businesses need to continually review the basics.
Identify a Problem
This should actually be done before even coming up with a product or service. If your product or service does not actually cater to a need or want, why would anyone pay for it? Also, remember that going into business should actually be all about giving people something they need or want. The money is just so you can keep providing it. As Walt Disney once said, "We don't make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies." If you're in it for the money, you're better off with a desk job.
Provide a Better Solution
This is the "unique" part. This is also usually where people get stumped. After all, you can pretty much be sure that many others are already selling what you're planning to sell. Study them thoroughly. Ask yourself honestly what about them you like, and what you don't like. Think of how you could provide the same thing, yet be the only place people can get it the way YOU make it. Find out that one - and only one - thing that you can do better than your competitors, and stick to that. All else is fluff, just in case "they want fries with that."
Define Your Target Audience
Along with coming up with a unique solution, you need to have an idea of whom you're actually selling to. Again, be very specific. If you try to please everyone, you'll end up pleasing no one. Figure out the exact demographic who will most benefit from your product or service. Stick to them. Of course, they first have to be present in viable numbers wherever you're setting up business. Otherwise, adjust your target audience and your unique solution accordingly, or find a better location.
BONUS: Always Keep Your Promises
In figuring out your USP, make sure you can actually deliver. There are few things worse for business than building expectations among potential customers only to let them down.
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From an article by Kate Teng for Ezine @rticles: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kate_Teng