You need an elevated competitive advantage. You also need a stellar business model, excellent marketing & sales strategy and implementation, product-market fit, positive unit economics, and strong market analysis. Above all, you need a competitive advantage which can also be described as your unique selling proposition (USP).
Competitive advantage is why and how you can survive. It is your confidence that you would not go out of business even when one of the MAMAA – (Meta, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon), releases a product very similar to yours. While the value proposition tells your customers and potentials why they should do business with you rather than your competitors and highlights the benefits of your products or services, a USP is what draws customers to you, why they heed your call and what makes them stay.
Your USP can be likened to a trade secret or “secret sauce” and this newsletter considers how it can be used to build your business.
Why have a USP
We dare say you must take time to discover, redefine and tighten your trade secret. Ultimately, this means that only 1% of founders discover their trade secrets like discovering treasure chests under the ground in the middle of the forest. Discovering your uniqueness in a market is a continuous process that the founder must never lose sight of. The moment you and your team forget that you are constantly redefining your USP, you become prey to the conditions of the market and not the other way around.
What does this mean?
It helps refine your marketing
The USP must be part of the overall marketing strategy and arguably the most important part of your marketing messaging. It introduces your brand to customers in a way that is positioned to excite them. Potential users should not have to read your entire website or download your app before they know what you can do for them. The USP is part of external communications.
It helps refine your product
There are creations that come from a hard, grounded understanding of your customers and there are creations that are just experiments. Both are typically needed while building a startup but the former is embedded in what is called the trade secret. As mentioned above, a trade secret is not just discovered but also re-discovered according to knowledge known per time. This knowledge is the understanding of your market and the customers that have come from various experiments. The startup ecosystem is a science as it is an art. Successful startups experience success after several experiments. This helps refine the product. The trade secret is not known to the customers. The only thing they know is they are drawn to your products and can’t stop using them. Your products gradually become a “must-use” from a nice to have because you added your secret sauce to your dish. It becomes irresistible. This secret must also include what you do very well. You must be outstanding at it/a natural. This means while you go out to seek this knowledge through research on your customers and markets, this knowledge also comes to you easily because you can serve “those groups of people” with your eyes closed.
It is attractive to investors
There is an undeniable truth in the world of venture capital. No matter what the market is or says, some startups will still be invested in. This is a way you are distinguished from the competition.
How to create your USP
Unlike food/drinks, your trade secret/USP can evolve as the market changes but your messaging stays constant. Apple’s USP for instance, is a belief in an easy and simple life. This is why people often tweet about the remarkable features that help them transfer items from their iPhone to a Mac. This is why they refined their phones to come up immediately when it is plugged in, to send free messages between iPhones instead of the text messaging we were all used to.
There are two elements to focus on:
- The Customer side
- The Product side
The following questions have been created to make this job easier in discovering and rediscovering your unique value proposition.
- The Customer side
Who are my customers? What are all their profiles? What do they do? What businesses do they have? What are their pains as humans? What are their negative experiences? What emotions and risks do they constantly pass through? What will make these people happy? What are the things the customer is looking for subconsciously? What do they expect and need?
- The Product side
What is my product? Is there a problem I am solving? Why am I creating this? What do I know that others don’t? How is this done in other countries? How does my product alleviate customer pain? How is my company going to solve the pain of the customers? What is in the market that is related to my product? What is the difference between us? Am I the best person to solve this? Who would know more about this problem? Is that difference tangible? What can I use to stay above the market? How does my product/service create value for my customers? How does it create gain and relieve pain? What are my value propositions?
The USP is a competitive advantage and is a substantial part of the elongated success of any company. It is important to continue redefining this and intentionally fix a time with your stakeholders to brainstorm on what they have found and noticed in that industry that can impact the company’s position.
Lack of gender diversity in the African tech startup ecosystem
A new report by Disrupt Africa was released and the report analysed 711 African tech startups that secured funding in 2022 and so far in 2023. Of those, just 21 per cent had at least one female co-founder, while only 11.7 per cent had a female CEO. Of the just over US$4 billion raised by ventures in the period in question, meanwhile, only 9.1 per cent went to companies co-founded by a woman, and just 2.9 per cent to startups with a female CEO or equivalent. – Disrupt Africa.
But what is Africa and the world at large still largely non-inclusive? We know that women are building products, we know they even build as great as men yet, they are not invested in up to half the degree investments go to men. What is the cause?
Watch out for our analysis of this subject.
Check out the full report here.
Dataleum emerges winner for Ed-Tech Startup of West Africa 2023
DATALEUM, a leading technology training firm, has achieved significant recognition as a regional winner at this year’s Global Startup Awards (GSA) Africa, the largest and most independent startup ecosystem competition on the continent.
The winners were chosen from competitions held in Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western and Central Africa. – Tribune Nigeria.
More info here:
Nubia capital is dedicated to enriching Africa through its investments and creating conversations that can foster the right knowledge and create a forward-thinking mindset in the minds of Africans.
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