How to write a value proposition: 4 steps to follow
With that groundwork in place, it’s time to answer the question you’ve all been waiting for: How do I write a value proposition?
There’s plenty of advice about how to craft your own value statement. Unfortunately, much of it is either dense and academic or targeted more at marketers, startups, SaaS businesses, or huge companies with tons of resources.
That can feel overwhelming. So let’s take a step back and talk about how to write a good value proposition—all through the lens of a small business owner.
1. Know your target market
To write an undeniably effective value proposition, you need to start with who you're talking to. You should be equipped with a solid understanding of your customer’s problems, their goals, their objections, and more.
That’s information you’ll use to write a statement that speaks directly to them. Not sure how to figure out your business’s target customer?
Let’s imagine that you’re starting a home repair business. You visit your customers’ homes to do everything from replacing windows to fixing washing machines.
EXAMPLE TARGET CUSTOMER: Homeowners in the city of Cape Town who want well-maintained homes.
2. Clearly state their 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.
It’s entirely possible that your business solves a lot of problems. In the case of our home repair example, there are a ton of micro-problems—everything from leaky faucets to faulty thermostats.
Many bigger businesses have different value propositions for different products or services. But for now, let’s keep things simple and focus on the overarching pain point you address for your customers. Your small business was born out of a need that you saw was unmet, and that’s what you should zoom in on here.
EXAMPLE PROBLEM STATEMENT: Homeowners don’t have the expertise to complete repairs themselves nor the time to figure it out.
3. Share how you solve it
Next, you’ll clearly state how you solve your customer’s problem. You don’t want to be long-winded here (“I possess all of these specific licenses”), but you also don’t want to be too vague (“I repair things.”).
Ultimately, this section is about the differentiation between you and your competitors. Why are you the right 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: I have 20 years of experience as a facilities maintenance specialist.
4. Tie back to results
You can’t expect your customers to connect the dots themselves—you need to explain exactly how they’ll benefit from working with you.
With our home repair business, the results might be that customers will get appliances and infrastructure repaired around their home. But push yourself harder here. What does that actually do for them?
They get increased peace of mind. They save time. They have fewer hassles and headaches.
As you pick which one to focus on, return to the information you have about your target customer and their pain points. Which single benefit do you think will resonate most with them? You can even collect feedback or test different statements to see which one hits home the most.
EXAMPLE: Our high-quality home repairs save homeowners from stress.
Here’s how your value proposition turned out...
After walking through each of those four steps, here’s what we have to work with:
- TARGET CUSTOMER: Homeowners in the city of Cape Town who want well-maintained homes.
- PROBLEM STATEMENT: Homeowners don’t have the expertise to complete repairs themselves nor the time to figure it out.
- SOLUTION: I have 20 years of experience as a facilities maintenance specialist.
- RESULTS: Our high-quality home repairs save homeowners from stress.
All of the fundamentals are there. But if you smash them all together, your value proposition might seem a little long and unfocused. You’ll need to do a little finessing here. It can be helpful to drop the different elements into this simple template to at least get started on the right track:
We do [X] to help you do [Y] so you can [Z].
After working through that and making some final polishes and tweaks, here’s what our example value proposition might look like:
You deserve to stop stressing over home repairs. We use our 20 years of maintenance experience to complete high-quality fixes that save you from headaches and hassles.
Not bad, right? Of course, that’s not the only way to package it. You’re free to play around and find the right sequence that works for you, your business, and, most importantly, your customers.