So do you have an idea? Start with the “Value Proposition”!

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CEO & Digital Marketer
Much more than a simple promise, a company's value proposition embodies its uniqueness and its ability to respond in an exceptional way to the needs and desires of its customers.

Before deciding whether or not to start a business or to invest a lot of money in something that no one is interested in, you should ask yourself two questions:

  • Who are my customers?
  • What are the benefits of my idea/product/service for my future customers?

To answer these questions, why not use a tool like the “Value Proposition Canvas” to clarify and structure your idea?

The Value Proposition Canvas helps you to clearly define your idea and to put your potential customer at the center of your project. It's far too easy to imagine what customers are thinking and never talk to anyone about it to validate your assumptions. What is the value proposition you want to offer and if you really meet their needs or problems with your products? The Value Proposition Canvas will give you the structure to list your hypotheses, test your market and finally validate them (or invalidate them).

To start working on your Value Proposition, here are some basic tips on what you need:

  • Print a large Value Proposition Canvas (or simply draw it on a whiteboard);
  • Buy sticky notes (one color per customer segment) and pens;
  • Bring your team together;
  • Focus for 2 hours (turn off the phones!)
  • Stay up (don't sit down);
  • Get the coffee machine ready!
Value Proposition Canvas, Coaching, Coteries Lab

The customer profile

Start always by the right side customer on the right!

Select one of the customer segments you want to target to create a detailed profile. Be specific in your segmentation to have a clear and usable understanding of your customers' profiles.

Start by analyzing the” Customer task ” (Customer Jobs): what are they currently doing in their work or in their life to achieve certain goals? What is the process and what tasks do they perform?

Example: they need to open three different programs before completing a report task.

Identify the sCustomer suffering (Customer Pains): List all risks or obstacles related to their tasks or the activities you described in the previous section. Anything that hurts people and results in suboptimal results.

Example: wasting time, mixing information

Finally, identify the customer earnings (Customer gains), that is to say the more or less expected benefits.

Example: get work done twice as fast (and have more time to drink coffee 😉?)

Once you've thought through and listed all of this, prioritize all of the customer's tasks, pains, and gains, from the most important to the least important.

Half of the work to describe your value proposition is done, but it's not over. Remember that product ideas should not be included in your profile! In addition, try to analyze your customer with as much objectivity and perspective as possible.

Before going to the left side of the canvas, you should leave the office to talk to your target customers. Why? Simply because the work you've done now is essentially listing the hypotheses (unless you're creating this customer profile directly with some of your targeted customers). To be able to move forward, you must validate (or invalidate) these hypotheses. Talk (and even better, listen!) to your customers will provide you with this type of information. And probably also discover hidden ideas, which you can exploit later. It's an iteration process: don't be afraid to refine your model!

The “Value Map”

Now you can start filling in the other side of the canvas: the Value map (also called product offering).

Remember that the Value Proposition Canvas is made up of two distinct building blocks that you shouldn't mix.

It's time to be creative! Now you can let your idea shine, while respecting the structure of the model: list all the functionalities of your product or service in order to build your value proposition.

Identify “pain relievers”: what will help your client eliminate risks, poor results, or obstacles in their work or life.

Do the same for creators of gain (gain creators) by explaining how you are going to create such desired results.

Finally, rank them in order of importance (from most important to least important).

When you compare both sides of the model, gain creators and pain relievers should address the challenges and gains of your customers (described in the customer profile). There has to be an adjustment, otherwise you're going to build something that nobody wants (which is the main reason why new products or startups fail)!

Don't get too ambitious by trying to answer everything in the first version of your product. Focus on the essentials.

With a clear overview of your value proposition, you can now move forward and start building your product. This does not mean that your product will be perfect or that the information you have gathered from your customers will allow you to succeed. The customers you interviewed may not be representative of the entire market. But at least you've made huge progress on your journey to reach “product-market fit.”

Do you need advice or coaching on your Value Proposition Canvas? Do not hesitate to contact us!

And finally, take a look at the official explanatory video (in English) of Strategyzer to explain the Value Proposition Canvas:

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