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Starting a business

How to write a value proposition: 8 examples + free template

What is a value proposition?

A value proposition is an elevator pitch of what a business has to offer and how they differ from competitors.

You know that aspect of your small business that sets you apart from the competition and makes you an authority in your niche? It’s called your value proposition and plays a vital role in spreading the word about your business.

A great value proposition targets who you serve, addresses their pain points, presents a solution, and shares what’s special about how you solve a problem. Learn how to write a value proposition by using our free template and gathering inspiration from eight examples.

1. Know your target audience

To write an effective value proposition, you need to know your target audience. Start by grasping what your customer experiences, in terms of: 

  • Problems: Think about the issues your audience faces that the market is currently underserving. 
  • Goals: Consider what your audience is hoping to solve. Ask yourself how you can best help them achieve their goals. 
  • Objections: Dig into what potential solutions did not satisfy their problems and why.

You’ll use this information to write a value proposition statement that speaks directly to their pain points. Remember: An effective value proposition aims to improve your relationship with your target audience and, better yet, increase sales.

Example target customer: Homeowners in the city of Pittsburgh who want well-maintained homes.

2. Identify a specific problem

Now that you know who you’re talking to, your next step is to drill down even further to identify what specific issue you address for them.

Your business might solve various problems. Many bigger businesses have different value propositions for different products or services within their business plan.

But for now, let’s keep things simple and focus on the overarching pain point you address for your customers. Your small business was likely born out of a need that you saw was unmet, and that’s what you should zoom in on.

Example problem statement: Homeowners don’t have the expertise or time to complete repairs themselves.

3. Share your solution 

Next, you’ll clearly state how you solve your customer’s problem. The goal is to give your customers an immediate grasp of what your business does and why it’s relevant to them.

You’re passionate about your business, so you can probably think of a dozen ways to solve a problem. But strong value propositions are concise and impactful—getting straight to the point is necessary and effective.

Example solution statement: Our high-quality home repairs relieve stress for homeowners.

4. Tie back to results

As you pick a value to focus on, return to the information you have about your target customer and their pain points. Which benefits of your business do you think will resonate most with them? 

Consider success stories, testimonials from recent client projects, and how to incorporate a data point from your business website into your value proposition.

Example evidence: We have five stars on a leading third-party review platform.

5. Add what makes you different

Ultimately, this section is about the difference between you and your competitors. Why are you the best choice over anybody else?

Do you have years of experience? A specific industry qualification or expertise? An innovative or patented solution? Do you provide a better customer experience? Free delivery? Whatever it is that sets you apart is what you should include here.

Example distinguishing factor: I have 20 years of experience as a facilities maintenance specialist.

Value proposition template

Now that you know the five basic steps to creating a value proposition, here is a basic template for you to follow:

We help [target customer] who [their problem] enjoy

[your solution] by [results] that [distinguishing factor].

After making some final polishes and tweaks, here’s what your example value proposition might look like:

We help parents who are hard at work enjoy peace of mind that their children are well cared for. We do this by creating a safe and stimulating environment that contributes to children’s well-being. 

Steve Blank method

Steve Blank is an entrepreneur most known for developing the customer development methodology and, in turn, lean startup movement.

His value proposition method focuses on the benefit your good or service provides to potential customers. It only has three parts and works like this:

"We help (X) do (Y) by doing (Z)"

Geoff Moore method

Geoffrey Moore is a startup consultant andauthor of “Crossing the Chasm,” which introduced his value proposition method known as the Geoff Moore method. 

The Geoff Moore method niches down further and encourages you to explain your category of industry before mentioning the benefits of your business:

"For [target customer] who [needs or wants X], our [product/service] is [category of industry] that [benefits]"

Harvard Business School method

The Harvard Business School method requires you to answer four questions before creating a value proposition statement: 

  • "What is my brand offering?"
  • "What job does the customer hire my brand to do?"
  • "What sets my brand apart from competitors?"
  • "What companies and products compete with my brand to do this job for the customer?"

Canvas method

The canvas method attempts to create a value proposition that aligns your value map with a customer profile:

  • Value map: Creates proactive solutions to issues your target audience faces
  • Customer profile: Addresses the pains and gains of your target demographic

8 Small business value proposition examples

A graphic shows you where to use your statement after you learn how to write a value proposition.

Plenty of strong value propositions are out there in the business world. The key to success, especially if you’re self-employed, is narrowing down your statement to reflect the interests of your niche. Here are a few examples for reference:

1. Fitness business

We help young remote professionals who want to live a healthier lifestyle enjoy exercise by providing wifi-enabled gym equipment that tracks their progress.

Why it works:

  • It states their target customers want 
  • It showcases its offerings

2. Self-employed artist

I help businesses who need a visual identity attract customers by creating an original logo that helps spread brand awareness in their target market.

Why it works:

  • It speaks to the audience
  • It showcases its benefits

3. Tech startup

We help students who need to improve their reading skills enjoy comprehension exercises by playing an educational video game that makes learning fun.

Why it works:

  • It’s short
  • It shares a solution

4. Sandwich shop

Make the most of your lunch break with delicious sandwiches made with homemade bread, fresh-cut deli meat, local cheeses, and spreads made from scratch.

Why it works:

  • It relates to the target customer and the lunch breaks they take
  • It states the homemade elements that make it different

5. Cleaning service

Turn your home into your sanctuary with a cleaning service that makes your spaces sparkle. Our detail-oriented staff does the work so you don’t have to.

Why it works:

  • It paints a picture of the results
  • It leads with the benefit and value it provides to the customer

6. Consignment shop

High-quality products don’t have to be high-priced. Peruse our selection of well-loved and well-cared-for decor and furnishings to bring style to your home—without the sticker shock.

Why it works:

  • It draws you in with potential savings
  • It speaks to the company’s quality

7. Marketing agency

Get your e-commerce business in front of the right customers with proven SEO strategies that drive results and sales.

Why it works:

  • It acknowledges the target audience’s problem
  • It ties the solution back to results

8. Florist 

Celebrate life’s sweeter moments with free same-day delivery of hand-picked floral bouquets.

Why it works:

  • It states what makes them different—same-day delivery and hand-picked florals
  • It entices target audiences to act (celebrate)

5 tips for writing a compelling value proposition

A graphic shoes five tips to follow while learning how to write a value proposition.

The first draft of your value proposition doesn’t need to be the one you stick with. In fact, it’s encouraged to try out several versions to see what will fit best. Here are five tips to help you take your value proposition to the next level:

1. Keep it short

Your value proposition should take five seconds or less to read. If it takes longer than that, it’s too long. Since this statement can also serve as the basis of other marketing collateral, keeping it short makes it easier to flesh out when necessary.

2. Prioritize clarity

Clarity is key. Don’t beat around the bush—get to the point and keep your value proposition clear. Your target audience should know right away what your service or product offering is. 

Keep this in mind:

  • Let them know what you offer
  • Utilize subtle imagery
  • Show how you can solve their pain points

3. Minimize first-person language

Remember, your value proposition isn’t only about your business—it’s about your customer. One simple trick to keep your messaging customer-focused is to swap out some of your “I” or “we” references for “you.”

4. Avoid hype language

Your value statement should separate you from your competitors, but the desire to differentiate yourself may tempt you to use overly promotional language. Remember that your value proposition can be the foundation of an elevator pitch, so eliminate technical jargon wherever possible.

You don’t need to say that your service is “unlike anything you’ve ever seen before,” or your product is “a miracle,” or “an answer to your prayers!” If you’ve honed in on your key benefits, the over-the-top language won’t be necessary.

5. Solicit feedback

If you’ve been staring at your value proposition for days on end, it can be hard to see it objectively. That’s why asking customers or other trusted confidants for feedback can be helpful.

You can even do A/B testing on a few different versions of your statement to see which achieves your desired results. Even if you don’t do a formal test, pay attention to how your statement works. If you aren’t seeing results like increased interest or an improved conversion rate, try making some tweaks.

Start your business with confidence

Learning how to write a value proposition is essential to cultivating a successful small-business sales strategy both offline and online. Once your audience realizes your value, you can begin to build client relationships that turn into sales.

Before your audience or customer base grows, consider investing in reliable accounting software to help manage the business growth that’s sure to follow.

How to write a value proposition FAQ

Still have questions about how to write a value proposition? We’ve got answers.

What is the difference between a value proposition and a mission statement?

A value proposition statement tells prospective customers what you have to offer while a mission statement informs them about what values guide your business.

How long should a value proposition be?

A value proposition should be as short as possible, preferably around 20 to 30 words. Keeping it concise will help you repurpose the statement as an elevator pitch, social media bio, or marketing collateral.

What Is an employee value proposition?

An employee value proposition is a statement that showcases what an employee has to offer a potential employer.

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