I recently read the fabulous book Conscious Capitalism, co-written by the CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey. It put into words what I have been feeling about business my whole life. In other words, that it should be a force for good and not just profit (though the profit is certainly important!).
The idea of Conscious Capitalism coincides with one of the topics I harp on at all of my speaking gigs, and even in this newsletter: the Unique Selling Proposition. And I harp because it is IMPORTANT!
A good USP makes your business more profitable, more stable, and more productive. Here’s how…
In Conscious Capitalism, the authors talk about how business has gotten a bad name largely due to the perpetuated myth that business is solely about turning a profit. They argue correctly that most entrepreneurs do not start their businesses solely to make money, but rather to do something they see that needs doing. Or to fill a hole in the marketplace that they feel needs to be filled. In some cases, it isn’t about the money at all.
For me, the catalyst for starting PostcardMania was a desire for a fun, laid back place to work and the realization that there was a gaping hole in the marketing industry for a company that would sell direct mail postcard marketing directly to business owners. I figured, “Hey, I can make this happen. I can provide for my family, provide employment for my friends, and have fun doing it.” Boom. PostcardMania.
What does this have to do with a USP for your business? Here’s the point: don’t run your business just for the profits. Chances are, you didn’t get into business just for the profits, and the reason you started your business is likely the hiding place for an amazing USP that will transform your business.
Let’s look at an example…
There is a medical practice in NYC called One Medical. They didn’t go into medicine because it seemed like a great way to make wads of cash. They became doctors because they wanted to help heal people – help them live longer, fuller, and happier lives. I firmly believe this is true of most doctors. And yet, look at what happens in almost all cases: waiting rooms are packed, it takes forever to see your doctor, the doctor only spends a few minutes with you, you have very little direct interaction with your doctor. And the list goes on.
Why is this? Many practices have become so focused on profits that they have lost sight of what they really wanted to do in the first place. At One Medical, they stepped back and took the time to discover what they really wanted to offer to the community that was truly valuable and desired. They realized that the answer was their time and accessibility. So, they came up with a totally different business model that allowed them to turn a profit while delivering a more valuable service to their patients.
At One Medical, you pay an additional $200 yearly charge. This is on top of what you pay for services, tests, etc. However, in return, you get direct email access to your doctor whenever you need it, you get longer, more personal visits with your doctor, and you get same-day visits if you need them. Additionally, they agree to always start your visit on time, so you don’t have to block out a whole day for an appointment.
The result is that they make more money, they live a more fulfilled life, and the patients get more value than they really even expect from the additional $200. It’s win-win-win. Capitalism at its best.
So here’s the takeaway: Take a step back. Think about why you got into business in the first place. Find out how you can offer people more real value that they can’t get elsewhere. If you can figure out also the things consumers hate about your industry and fix that you’ll be way ahead of the pack (aka competitors). That’s your USP. Now just deliver on your promise, and you’ll be on your way to a richer, more stable, and more productive business.
Have you lost sight of your true goals in the exclusive pursuit of profits? Do you have an amazing USP you want to share? Let’s talk!
If you want help with this, you can always call my marketing consultants. The advice is forever FREE. 1 (800) 624-1804.