At first glance this headline seems ridiculous. 'Shouldn't I look to the web for a business opportunity?' you say. Or 'How can you possibly focus too much on getting the search engines to prioritise you?'

And the answer.......please read on.

Firstly wants you to be successful. It’s entirely in our interest that the knowledge we provide helps you to be successful. Your endorsement is key to our success.

Now to SEO. The issue is the order in which you put together your online business. If you spend your initial time working on your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) you will dramatically improve your chance of future success. If you’re wondering, your USP is what makes you special out of the myriad of companies and product offerings on the web planet.

Let’s say you are selling ponies. Yep small horses. Assume there are 50 other pony sellers to compete with. The good news is that you are actually a pony breeder, and most of the other are not, instead they are pony on-sellers who buy from breeders like you.

Now let’s examine the potential online customer. They might know a lot about ponies, perhaps want to use them commercially for children's rides. Or a customer might want a pony as a children’s pet. In either case both will be keen to know the character of the breed, and even the pony being sold. These customers won’t want to hear platitudes they will want first-hand knowledge. It’s an extremely important matter.

So what are you selling? Ponies? Not really, you are selling peace of mind. I’m sure if you take this concept even further you will be able to come up with other key ‘product’ features.

So are you a pony seller just like your 50 competitors? Patently not. Most important is to sit down and figure out all the things that you are offering that are part of the pony sale. It might be that you personally deliver the pony, or provide ongoing advice to the purchaser. In marketing these are called augmented benefits and are often key to making the sale, versus your competitor. And by the way it's exactly the same process for your competitors (breeders and non-breeders) whose USP will refine and define their own optimal customer profile.

To summarize: your particular offering (your USP) and the augmented benefits that you offer are who you are as a company. If you ‘got’ that you’ve just completed course 101 of business success. If you would like to know more about improving your business offering you can find some handy information in Interactive Marketing, or simply search the web for the many variations on the USP theme.

Finally, once you’ve gained a crystal clear understanding of what your business is, put it in your business plan, and you are ready to hit the web. As an aside it’s important to stay ‘close’ to the search engines Keyword Search throughout the process of evolving your USP and building your image. On the one hand you don’t want to build a USP that has no demand. On the other hand it’s meaningless to build a business that isn’t you (and you can’t support) that simply rates high on search engine hits, and has few sales.

Concept: your business may not be what you think it is.