Value proposition: Your key differentiator is your competitive edge

Positioning a business takes time, dedication and work; but above all things, it takes planning. Your plan has to clearly define why your offering is a must-have, and this is your value proposition.

Ideas usually stem from seeing a problem and thinking of a solution. It is likely that your idea came up because an issue caught your attention and you responded with creativity. The intrinsic value of your idea should serve as the guide to be able to advance your business and make it sustainable. How do you achieve this?

Some value propositions to inspire you:

Every day we consume many products without giving them too much thought, and if we dig deeper, we will find that it is because they satisfy a need or because they inspire us in some way. For instance…

  • Netflix: Its value is centered on its subscription model and its prices. But, it also evolved by creating its own content and customizing searches on your TV that make your life easier.
  • Uber: yes, the company that transports you, but does not own any cars. Its value proposition is centered on two pillars: the shared economy and real-time information.
  • Nike: the quality? the products? No, the key differentiator is in the experience. The brand tells us to “Just do it,” inviting us to challenge ourselves take action and improve.

Here are four steps to define your value proposition. 

Step 1: Go back to the beginning: explore your story.

As we said, most ideas stem from an “aha” moment. The best way to find the “why” that moved us in the beginning is to look back towards the starting point of your business. Always remember why you started:

  • What are you trying to address?
  • Who do you want to help?
  • Who did you tell the first idea to?
  • What did you see that triggered the idea behind your project?

Step 2: Align your idea with the market.

For a business to prosper, it must get attention and positive feedback from customers and potential investors. Here are some tips for making that happen:

  • Get to know your customers. Think about who could consume your product, what their routines are, what they do, what they read, and what they like.
  • Ask yourself if what you offer responds to that routine. If you find that it does, then the client you envisioned is the right one. If the answer is no, don’t panic, you simply created a product for someone else.
  • Which communities could benefit from this product? Today, thinking beyond profit makes for a great business idea.
  • Which companies might be interested in your product? This list will be very important when it’s time to start thinking about raising capital.
  • Now that you are able to understand who the people, companies or institutions that could be interested in your business are, it is time to understand what makes you different.

Step 3: Define why you are the best.

Now it’s time to understand the value of what you do and what you want to offer. Why would customers choose you and not your competition?

  • Make a list of those services, companies, entrepreneurs that offer something similar to your product.
  • Define and outline what makes yours different. This will be very useful when creating your communication.
  • Reflect on how you could improve your product over a time and create a plan.

This last item is key! If our idea will be executed in a competitive environment, then we will always have to focus on doing what makes us unique.

So, to summarize, the value of your business is going to focus on three key pillars: your idea, your customers and the market, and your differentiator. If you respond to these three pillars, you will improve how you position your offering.

Step 4: Use the Canvas model as a tool.

Noone is born knowing how to put together a business model, and much less able to do it in an agile and efficient way. Understanding how a company creates and offers value to people takes some skill. The Canvas model is a great place to start.

First, describe your client profile in detail, covering their tasks, frustrations, and joys.

  • Tasks: what they are trying to solve in their personal or work life.
  • Frustrations: the risks or obstacles they face when performing these tasks.
  • Joy: the results they want to achieve or the specific benefits they seek.

Then, define the value map that is made up of the elements that should respond to the needs of your client.

  • Products and services: a list of the elements around which the value proposition is built.
  • Frustration relievers: describe how your products and services address your customer’s frustrations.
  • Joys creators: define how your products and services create joy for your client.

When is this model successful? -> When the elements of each side coincide and generate the expected results.

You might find also interesting:

At SheWorks!, our value proposition is to connect the dots between those seeking remote talent and those seeking opportunities, making the process simple, fast, efficient and transparent. 

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