value proposition

How to Build a Value Proposition for your Business

When building the businesses of tomorrow, what separates the doers from the dreamers?

The most successful businesses are crystal clear on the value they provide for customers. They design every part of their business to reflect that value, and they communicate it consistently to every customer. They recognise that every touchpoint is an opportunity to deliver value, to surprise and delight their customers, and to demonstrate how they want to make a difference.

The best businesses always start with crafting their value proposition.

A value proposition is the benefits that customers can expect from your products and services. It’s a promise of how you provide value to your customers. It’s the needs that you meet and the problems that you solve, and it’s what makes you different from your competitors.

Innovative and successful businesses are always underpinned by a great value proposition that addresses customers’ biggest pains and their most important ideal outcomes.

A value proposition helps you create products and services that meet needs and solve problems, and it helps you understand the value you provide for customers.

Value proposition design is for all organisations at any stage of their journey. You can craft a value proposition whether you’re a startup launching a new idea, or an established business looking to gain clarity around the value you create.

So what are the benefits of creating a value proposition?

Value propositions align teams, provide clarity and direction, and help you understand what customers want. They build better, more profitable businesses that offer products and services people actually want. A value proposition presents you with a guiding compass to assess the potential value of new projects and ideas, helping you communicate more effectively, and giving you a clear understanding of how you make a difference in the lives of your customers.

With a clear and solid value proposition, your business is armed to reach its full potential.

Here’s how to design a winning value proposition.

Talk to your customers.

To craft a great value proposition, you need a deep understanding of your customers’ needs and problems. Step into your customers’ shoes and have conversations to find out what matters most to them.

Get specific. Listen and capture information, but listen to understand, not to talk back. The more the customer talks, the better.

Through these conversations, you’re looking to unearth customers’ jobs, priorities, frustrations, goals, and ideal outcomes. These are the things that will help you create a great value proposition.

Here’s some prompts to help you get started.

  • What tasks are your customers trying to perform and complete?
  • What problems are they trying to solve?
  • What needs are they trying to satisfy?
  • What are their frustrations, annoyances, or things that give them a headache?
  • What’s keeping your customers awake at night?
  • What are their big issues, concerns, and worries?
  • What are customers looking for most?
  • What would make your customers lives or jobs easier?
  • What do they aspire to achieve?

Use the Value Proposition Canvas.

A great value proposition always meets needs and solves problems. So we first need to find out what those needs and problems are.

The Value Proposition Canvas is a tool to help identify and capture customer jobs, pains, and gains, and how your products or services solve them.

  • Customer jobs are the tasks your customers need, want, or desire to get done in their work and in their lives.
  • Customer pains are the things that annoy your customers before, during, or after trying to get a job done. These could be bad outcomes, risks, and obstacles that customers want to avoid.
  • Customer gains are the ideal outcomes and benefits your customers want to achieve.

Customer jobs, pains, and gains are what help you understand customers so you can create products and services that actively meet their needs and solve their problems.

Make a Value Proposition Canvas for each of your customer segments and quickly capture information in a visual format. The canvas is accessible and easy to use– download a canvas, create one on the wall with post-it notes, or collaborate with teams digitally using tools like Miro or Jamboard.

Check out our guide to using the Value Proposition Canvas.

Address the most important jobs, pains, and gains.

A good value proposition canvas is full of sticky notes mapping out all of the customers’ jobs, pains and gains. But a great value proposition can’t address every single problem and ideal outcome. It can’t be all things to all people. Instead, it focuses on the most important jobs, pains, and gains and eliminates the rest.

Hone in on what really matters to customers by prioritising the most important or significant jobs, the most extreme pains, and the most essential gains, and how your products or services solve them. This helps you get to the root of what matters most and deliver products and services that cater to what customers really care about.

‘Great design is eliminating all unnecessary details.’ – Minh D. Tra

Assess your value proposition.

Value propositions can naturally evolve and improve over time. Constantly assess the design of your value proposition to ensure you continue to provide value.

Measure how effectively your products or services meet needs and solve problems and look for potential ways to improve your value proposition by focusing on these key areas.

  • Does your value proposition focus on unsatisfied jobs, unsolved pains, and unrealised gains?
  • Does it focus on only the most important jobs, pains, and gains, and address them exceptionally well?
  • Is it embedded in a great business model?

All great businesses start with value proposition design. Supercharge your business by delivering what customers want and create products or services that stand the test of time and actively make a difference in the lives of your customers.