Four Steps to Defining Your Unique Selling Proposition 

Four Steps to Defining Your Unique Selling Proposition 

A unique selling proposition, also known as a USP, is a specific thing that gives your business an edge over the competition.  

Like many of us, customers are overwhelmed by choice, and they want to quickly figure out what makes one product or brand different from the rest. Finding out how to position your product or service so that it stands out rather than simply blends in is key. So, it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to identify a unique selling point that can be used to guide your branding and marketing decisions. 

Here are five steps to keep in mind when defining your USP: 

  1. Understand your target market: Having a unique feature has no value if your customers are not concerned about or interested in it. This means that you need to understand your customers. What do they need? Why do they buy your products? Is it because it is cheaper, saves them time, or because they trust you? Interview clients, and friends and make a list of the reasons they buy your products. Identify what comes up most frequently.  
  2. Analyze your competition: Now that you have a list of what benefits your products or service brings to your clients, make a list of your competitors and identify the needs they are meeting. This will help you understand what characteristic distinguishes your products from those of your competition. 
  3. Communicate your USP: Once you identify what reasons clients buy your products over those of your competitors, come up with a message that communicates your USP. This message needs to be clear, concise, and straightforward.  Make sure you can communicate it easily, that your customers can understand it, and that it is easy to remember. Ask yourself if your reputation in the market and your branding (logo) clearly demonstrate the benefit you are providing.  
  4. Test and revise: Once you develop language to communicate your USP, talk to customers to get their thoughts. These interviews should help you decide on the best way to market your business.  

Your unique selling proposition shouldn’t change too often, but it’s essential to keep it up to date. Any changes in trends or competitors could affect your USP, so keep an eye on what is happening in the market and adjust accordingly. 

 

 


Five Tips to Make Better Financial Decisions 

Five Tips to Make Better Financial Decisions 

Business owners generally need to purchase assets or inventory or make other purchases to help their businesses grow. But resources are often scarce, so it is important, therefore, to ensure you’re making the best financial decisions you can.  

If you manage resources appropriately, you will be able to better accomplish your goals and improve your company’s overall performance. Here are five tips to make better financial decisions.  

  1. Pause: Before making a purchase for your business, the first thing you should do is pause and think about what your goals are for your business. Will the item you are purchasing support those goals or deter from them? Don’t pressure yourself or let other people pressure you. 
  2. Ask: Ask questions about the costs and risks associated with a purchase. Keep asking more questions until you understand what you’re paying for and what you are receiving. Don’t be shy about asking many questions. Here are some ideas: What will happen if it doesn’t work out? Can I stop the transaction and get my money back? Are there fees, taxes, penalties, or other charges? What exactly am I receiving in return for the amount I am paying? What warranty or guarantee does this come with? 
  3. Compare: Compare prices to make sure you are paying a fair price. Keep an eye out for anything that seems too good to be true. Ensure that the people and businesses with whom you are working are properly registered. 
  4. Estimate: Estimate the costs associated with your purchase and make sure you are getting value for your money.You can find online tools and calculators to compare financial products or services. Compare the total cost, including fees and chargers, to the value you are receiving. 
  5. Decide: If you thought about how a purchase will contribute toward your goals, asked all your questions, compared prices, and estimated your total costs, make a decision whether to move forward with the transaction or not. Write down all of the above and look at it objectively to help you decide.  

We hope that by applying this method, you will be able to make better financial decisions to support your business. 

 


Are you a Stanbic Bank client who is interested in growing your business? Apply for AMI’s Survive to Thrive Programme

AMI Survive to Thrive

Are you a Stanbic Bank client who is interested in growing your business? The deadline for AMI’s Survive to Thrive Programme has been extended

Stanbic Bank Uganda, in partnership with ConsumerCentriX and the African Management Institute (AMI), invites their clients to participate in AMI Survive to Thrive Programme. Selected participants to the 6-month entrepreneurial Programme will be offered online courses, access to interactive learning labs (delivered virtually and in-person), peer networking and practical business tools.

The Programme is open to one individual entrepreneur and one senior staff member, women entrepreneurs are highly encouraged to apply, from their business to offer them an opportunity to learn how to set SMART growth goals and implement new business habits and tools. Upon completing the Programme, participants will have access to AMI’s Growth Network, an exclusive community of ambitious African entrepreneurs who have successfully graduated from AMI programmes.

As part of the network, participants will connect with entrepreneurs from across Africa and access premium services such as AMI’s Finance Link (for access to funding opportunities). Additionally, participants will have access to mentoring and coaching networks, exclusive networking events and continued access to AMI’s world-class business tools, courses and resources.

Interested entrepreneurs must fulfil the following criteria to apply:

  • Have a business that has been in operation for more than 1 year
  • Have a revenue between USD 10,000 – USD 50,000 in at least one of the last two financial years
  • Have a minimum of two full-time employees.

New deadline: May 16th, 2022

To apply for the info session, visit: AMI Survive to Thrive Programme Application


Future to Work

Are you an impact-driven company with a focus on solving unemployment? Apply for the Future to Work program before 29 April 2022

Village Capital, an impact investment company in partnership with Moody’s Foundation, invites startups across Sub-Saharan Africa to apply for the Future to Work 2022 program. Future to Work supports impact-focused startups leveraging highly sensitive data to improve quality and access to digital, financial, and healthcare services. Venture Capital aims to help entrepreneurs with investment readiness training through the program.

Successful applicants will benefit from the following during the program:

  • Networking with fellow impact-driven founders in their cohort
  • Mentorship from investors
  • Interactive, tailored training sessions to support startup companies identify early milestones and preparing them for the next round of capital
  • Coaching from an investment analyst on building a financial model, identifying unit economics, and using financial metrics
  • Feature on Village Capital’s program website and other collateral

Interested applicants must have ventures addressing unemployment through the following:

  • Technical, professional, upskilling, or reskilling programs
  • Testing and credentialing programs
  • New approaches to apprenticeship or employment matching, such as gig, job matching, and distributed manufacturing platforms
  • Financial health for informal workers and/or
  • Edtech for post-secondary and tertiary institutions

To apply for this program, visit: Future to Work Applications


e-Track Programme

Are you an early-stage venture interested in scaling up? Apply for the e-Track Programme before 29 April 2022

e-Track Programme

Are you an early-stage venture interested in scaling up? Apply for the e-Track Programme before 29 April 2022

The University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) Solution Space, in partnership with Ayoba, a free instant messaging app, invites applicants for the e-Track Programme. The e-Track Programme is a three-phase early-stage venture accelerator and capacity-building programme for high-impact entrepreneurs in South Africa and beyond. It is designed to support participants in building scalable businesses with international potential.

Successful applicants take part in the following:

  • A five-week Venture Launch course that focuses on validating the venture concept
  • A twelve-week Venture Exploitation course aimed at accelerating the development of the validated venture
  • A twelve-week Venture Scaling course where ecosystem partners and investors support ventures to expand and thrive within their markets

Interested applicants should have solutions relevant to the African market and global potential. Applicants can apply in teams or as individuals as part of an existing venture. They should have a prototype or minimum viable product ready for early-market testing to further establish the product and market fit. Additionally, the initial concept should demonstrate a deep and intimate understanding of the problem and market need or opportunity.

Selected participants will benefit from the following

  • Access to technical support and mentorship from Ayoba field experts,
  • Workshops and clinics to learn fundamentals and core business skills
  • Access to pro-bono partners and a network of consultants to support with specialist expertise such as legal, human resource, digital user experience, and venture capital
  • Feedback from the Ayoba team and network of experienced mentors and industry partners
  • Networking with Ayoba’s community of vibrant entrepreneurs

To apply for this program, visit: E-track programme applications


Tourism Challenge

Are you a startup in the tourism sector with a solution to the UN SDGs? Apply for the Awake Tourism Challenge before 30 June 2022

Tourism Challenge

Are you a startup in the tourism sector with a solution to the UN SDGs? Apply for the Awake Tourism Challenge before 30 June 2022

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a United Nations agency responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, invites applicants for the Awake Tourism Challenge. Through the Challenge, UNWTO seeks to support the most innovative startups working to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Challenge seeks solutions to six challenges: local and community involvement, green and blue economies, ecological and sustainable capita creation, tourism tech for good, tourism education, and women empowerment.

Successful applicants will benefit from the following:

  • Pitch at a UNWTO Demo Day
  • Curated mentorship programme including one-on-one and in-group sessions focused on Intellectual Property (IP), sustainability, business, and leadership
  • Connection to the UNWTO Innovation Network for meeting public and private stakeholders to explore funding and piloting opportunities
  • Potential matchmaking with partners to scale up the startups, including investors, corporations, and governments

The Challenge targets startups that meet the following criteria:

  • Innovative in nature, providing value-added solutions
  • Sustainability-driven
  • Scalable potential for international growth or to be applied by corporations and in other countries or regions
  • Early-stage or series A startup
  • Introduction or adoption of digital and technological elements
  • Have a tested pilot and business plan
  • Have been accelerated before
  • Have a full-time team including at least 2 members under 35 years; gender balance will also be considered.

Applicants will be subject to further evaluation to assess their contribution to SDGs, potential business impact, maturity of the product or technology, team and organisation maturity, and partnership readiness.

To apply for this Challenge, visit: Applications

For more information on the Challenge, visit: UNWTO Awake Tourism Challenge


Entrepreneurship Competition

Are you a social entrepreneur with an innovative idea/project that focuses on one or more of the 17 SDGs? Apply for the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition before 15 September 2022

Entrepreneurship Competition

Are you a social entrepreneur with an innovative idea/project that focuses on one or more of the 17 SDGs? Apply for the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition before 15 September 2022

The Entrepreneurship Campus, a foundation that empowers social entrepreneurs globally to create a culture of entrepreneurship, invites applicants to their Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition. The Competition seeks participants with innovative ideas and projects with societal impact, focusing on one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Competition comprises two categories – the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship category and the Adult Citizen Category. Interested participants between 13 and 29 years can apply to the Youth Citizen category, and interested participants with 30 years and above can apply to the Adult Citizen Entrepreneurship category. All applications have to be made in English.

Interested participants will have the opportunity to take two voluntary free courses before applying to the Competition to help them develop a sustainable business model from their ideas. The two courses (Brain versus Capital and Sustainable Entrepreneurship Course) will aid participants in changing or upgrading their existing ideas or projects.

Applicants who pass the preliminary will be invited to provide more details about their idea/project in a second entry form. Ideas/projects that will pass the initial screening will be published on the competition website to be voted on, commencing on 1 June 2022.

To apply for this Competition, visit: CEC Registration


Microsoft for Startups

Are you a tech startup interested in scaling up your business? Apply for the Microsoft for Startups challenge before 23 May 2022

Microsoft for Startups, a global program supported by a team of startup veterans and industry experts, invites applicants for the Microsoft for Startups Challenge. Microsoft for Startups aims to provide a customized set of offerings and resources to support tech startups grow from ideation to scale.

Through the challenge, participants will gain:

  • Opportunity to unlock up to $150,000 in free Azure credits (a perk offered by Microsoft to save money on your cloud bill)
  • Access to robust development and productivity tools, including GitHub and Microsoft 365
  • Mentorship guidance from business and technical experts
  • Startup-friendly offers from Microsoft partners
  • Access to VivaTech onsite event (annual networking event for tech entrepreneurs)

Interested applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a startup engaged in developing a software-based product or service that will form a core piece of your current or intended business – this software must be owned, not licensed
  • Have a startup that has not already received more than a total of $10,000 in free Azure
  • Have headquarters residing in the countries covered by our Azure global infrastructure (including…[insert ones relevant to us in Africa])
  • Have a startup that has not gone through a Series D or later funding round
  • Have a for-profit business that is not an educational institution, government entity, personal blog, dev shop, consultancy, agency, bitcoin or crypto mining company

To apply for the Microsoft for Startups Challenge, create an account at Challenge Signup


PFAN

Are you looking for funding for your climate or clean energy project or to scale up your existing business? Apply for the PFAN’s climate and clean energy program before 1 May 2022

The Private Financing Advisory Network, a global network of climate and clean energy financing experts, invites applicants to the climate and clean energy program. PFAN provides free business coaching and investor matchmaking to promising climate and clean energy entrepreneurs globally.

Through the program, selected participants undergo intensive one-on-one coaching to perfect their business plans, financial structures, and investment pitches. Additionally, successful participants may be invited to present their projects at the PFAN and partner events or receive tailored investment facilitation services.

Interested applicants must fulfil the following criteria to apply:

  • Be from low and middle-income countries, click here for a complete list
  • Provide climate change adaptation benefits
  • Offer or use clean energy technologies, products or services that fall within PFAN’s areas of work

To apply, visit: Climate and Clean Energy project Applications


SDGs

Are you a social entrepreneur with a solution aligned with the UN's SDGs? Apply for the UNLEASH Plus incubation program before 10 April 2022

UNLEASH, a non-profit organisation founded in 2016 with the aim of developing solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and building capacity for youth globally, invites applicants for the UNLEASH Plus incubation program. UNLEASH Plus is a 6-month incubation program for entrepreneurs working on social and environmental challenges in line with the UN’s SDGs. Through the program, participants will receive skills development training, tools, and mindsets to test their early-stage solutions and design for large scale impact.

Through a partnership with Chemonics International, UNLEASH Plus supports teams with existing prototypes to become impactful social ventures. Additionally, participants will have access to learning materials, the opportunity to join interactive workshops, receive direct support from experts, and make connections to investors and partners during the program to accelerate intended impact.

The program will be implemented in 3 phases, including:

The Basecamp: Basecamp is a practical two-day event where participants meet and witness pitches from other teams in their cohort. Participants also engage with their mentors and align on the vision, business model and priorities for their 6-month plan during the program.

The Ascension: The second phase is the core 21-week virtual program that focuses on team development, solution testing and refinement, strategy, and pitching. During this phase, the goal is to launch the first complete solution that will attract the right customers, partners, and funders to accelerate the participant’s journey. Teams will also have direct access to Potentialife, a leadership and team effectiveness program that also serves as a core part of the program.

The Bootcamp: in-person program in India for top 25 teams.

The last phase is the in-person finale of UNLEASH Plus during the Global Innovation Lab Karnataka (India). During this phase, teams will receive intensive support from world-class experts to refine strategies, meet with potential partners and pitch their solutions to investors awarding cash prizes at the Dragon’s Den.

Interested applicants should fulfil the following to apply

  • Have at least 2 active team members participating throughout the program
  • Be willing to commit at least 4 hours per team per week throughout the program
  • Have at least half of the team members aged 35 years or younger
  • Have a validated, working prototype of a solution that addresses one or more of the SDGs
  • Have documented feedback, references, or testimonials from early testing with actual users or prospective customers that demonstrate market demand for the solution
  • Have a solution responsive to one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Be a legal entity with the ability to receive funds
  • Have raised a maximum of 50,000 USD raised to date

To apply for the program, visit: Submit application