Unique Business Proposition

What is unique, different, or unusual about your company that differentiates it from your competition?

No seriously.

Has a prospective client ever asked you this question? Even if they haven’t, at some level, this question is on their mind as they consider their buying decision. What is your answer?

Do you have a clear, succinct response that gets to the core of what is special, unique, or different about your company?

If you ask this question to your leadership team, how consistent is the answer? What answer would you get from your marketing and sales team, your operations team, your finance team, your front-line staff, your forklift driver, your business partners?

Most importantly, what do your customers say about your company?

In documenting your working plan, this is one of the first questions to address. What is your Unique Business Proposition?

Much like we are all different as individuals, every business is different, and unique. Discovering what makes your company unique will clarify your market focus and propel you down the path to attracting, recruiting, and retaining your best customers (and releasing, either through attrition or bold decisions, your worst customers)

Once you have your first draft you can review and revise it at each planning review.  It’s a dynamic exercise. How you described your UBP five years ago will be different today and will be different 5 years from now.

Here’s a few tips to help your search for your UBP:


Answer these questions is a sentence or two; What, How, Who, Where:


  • What does your company do? Is there something special, unique, or different about what your company does?
  • How you do it? Is there something special, unique, or different about how you do what you do?
  • Who are you?. Is there something special, unique, or different about you and your team or your culture? (Tab over to the Values section to look for clues here.)
  • Where do you operate, your geographic reach?


Somewhere in this mix you will find a starting point in your search for your unique identity.

Next, talk to your best customers. Ask, why did they become customers and why do they stay? Then, listen very, very carefully.

Another great source of insight are your business partners – your suppliers, and/or your distributors.

Finally, get your whole team involved, from the executive level to the front line.  Harness the power of collaboration within your company.

For more information on Unique Business Proposition and how it is used on a working business plan, please visit planegenie.com


Please pass along your questions or comments.


The Foundation

We all know that building any structure starts with a solid foundation. The same is true of your business plan. The foundation for your business plan is your BUSINESS PLAN SUMMARY.

Your plan summary contains five important pieces of information. The rest of your plan extends from this foundation and is easier to assemble when you have this document clearly written.

The five pieces of your summary are:

  • Your Unique Business Proposition – what makes your company special, unique and different?
  • The Purpose of your business – Why does your company exist, as seen from the customer’s perspective? At a fundamental level, what value or benefit does your company create for your customers?
  • Your Destination – Your longer term goals, your picture of success 3 years from now.
  • Your One Year Goals – Desired outcomes in the next 12 months?
  • Your Strategy – In broad terms, how you will achieve these results?

Let’s look at the first two points on this list.

Unique business proposition: In a couple of sentences, describe what makes your business unique, special and different. This can usually be found in:

What you do.

How you do it.

Where you do it.

Who you are.

When you write this information down and begin discussing it with your leadership team, it will lead to crystallizing these ideas. (Tip: Always good to check with your customers for their perspective on this).

Becoming clearer about what makes your business unique will guide the future direction of your business and provide a reference for key strategic decisions as you grow into the future




Your Purpose:

Why does your company exist, as seen from the customer’s perspective?

Every business has a purpose. What is yours?

If your business is building lighthouses, what might your Purpose be?

Something like: “we protect our customers from foundering on hidden perils at sea”





Pontish Yeramyan, CEO of Gap International, wrote about being purposeful:

“The 21st Century Organization can also differentiate itself by operating within a bigger context than a vision or mission, something more expansive. It’s not enough anymore to simply have a clear direction – people must be able to throw their entire selves into the game to be successful, with full engagement of heart and mind. We have found that when leaders leverage Purpose, it creates a competitive advantage that’s difficult or even impossible to replicate. Purpose creates the ability for people to care about something much bigger than their personal concerns and fully apply their talent to meaningful endeavours.

 If you think about it, Being Purposeful creates the platform for organization success, because it taps into a reservoir of potential energy latent within the organization. When peoples’ orientation to their job transforms from performing work to that of making a difference, they become exponentially more effective at coming together to produce extraordinary results. It becomes possible to consistently produce results beyond what is predictable in the normal flow of business. Powerful strategies can be created and re-created when purpose is present.

Purpose gives people a far more expansive space to create and grow, where creative, purpose-based thinking replaces crisis-based, fire fighting thinking. An organization of people who have connected themselves to something bigger can thrive rather than simply survive –they can move fast together and nimbly adjust strategies and tactics to succeed.”

Once you have draft versions of your Unique Business Proposition and Purpose statement, it’s time to do some goal setting. Move on to sections 3,4,5 of your plan summary.

Here’s the good news, unlike a physical foundation, you can come back and revise these sections of your plan if you aren’t completely satisfied with your initial efforts.





Are you feeling like you’ve been hit by a COVID 19 hurricane? Your business ship took a blow and you’ve been scrambling to get things back under control. Immediate, urgent, short term plans have been devised and executed. Time lines are hourly, daily, weekly. There has been no time to think beyond the current week.

Planning never stops, it just speeds up and slows down.

As you start getting things back under control, your crew will be more anxious than ever to know where the company is heading, and how they can help.

How do you communicate the new direction and focus when you’re not clear yourself. The business leader’s primary function is to set the next destination and chart the course. Wandering aimlessly in a turbulent sea is not an option.

How can I make a plan when the future is so unclear and changing so quickly?

Yes, the landscape has changed dramatically in the last few weeks and continues to change quickly. But planning is always done in a fluid business landscape. Each time we refresh our business plan, we do so in the context of an ever changing world. We set our goals and determine our best course of action, taking into account the impediments we are facing and the resources we have available.

Most plans are stale after 90 days, and need to be rewritten. When the pace of change speeds up, this review cycle needs to be adjusted accordingly.

If our normal practice is to set goals for 1-3 years into the future, we may need to be focused on 3 to 12 months in the current situation.

 Where do I start?

Start with the big picture, your business plan summary. The structure in the Plan Genie business planning workbook contains five core pieces of information:

  1. Your unique business proposition – a succinct description about what makes your business special and unique.
  2. Your purpose – why your business is needed, as seen from the customer’s point of view.
  3. Your long term goals. Your destination 3 years from now (or 1 year).
  4. Short term goals, one year out (3 months).
  5. Strategy/Action steps – A list of the major steps we need to take to reach our goals.

Write it down!

Write your plan down in a structured, easy to understand format. Your business plan summary is the foundation for communicating the future direction for your business – where you intend to take business and how you will get there.

As you go through the process of writing your plan, you will gain clarity and confidence to tackle the challenges ahead. others are looking for this – your leadership team, your bank, your suppliers and distribution partners, and your customers.

This is a short, succinct, 1-2 page outline, that contains a clear description of the following:

  • Unique Business Proposition

This is the who, what, where and how of your business that makes you special and unique.

  • Purpose for being in this business, as seen from the customer’s perspective.

This is the “WHY” of your business. What fundamental need are you filling for your customer?

(Note: This is a critical piece of your plan and may take awhile for you to make it clear.)

  • Long and short term goals, and
  • Strategies necessary to execute in order to reach your goals.

A word about how this workbook application is designed:

  • Each section of the Workbook contains a series of questions with space for your answers. As you complete each section you simply save your work, and you can print or save it as a PDF at the end.
  • You can return and change the content at any time by clicking on any section of the progress menu on the right. Each time you update the content, Plan Genie marks your plan with the date updated.
  • Each Step can be completed independently of the others. Depending on the size and complexity of your business, you may choose to do some of the workbook sections off line and add them to your business plan at the end.

Your Business Plan Summary is the foundation document for building a
working business plan. This is a relatively easy document to prepare
and to modify over time. The Plan Summary allows you to effectively communicate the direction you foresee for the company and also explain the core elements that
help drive your success.

There are five essential pieces in your plan summary:

1) Your Unique Business Proposition – what makes your company
unique and different
2) The Purpose of your business, as seen from the customer’s
3) Your Destination – Your longer term goals, your picture of success
3 years from now.
4) Your One Year Goals – Desired outcomes in the next 12 months?
5) Your Strategy – In broad terms, how you will achieve these

You should be able to outline this information in a couple of pages.
Once a draft document is created you are ready to begin collaborating
with your team to refine your thinking and enlist their engagement
Each of these sections is described in more detail in the drop down
menu under this tab.

A completed version of this document can be shared with your
employees, your business partners, your bank or any other party who
has an interest your success.

The act of writing a business plan is a powerful catalyst to self discovery and clarity.