So, you've got 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 its customers' needs and desires.

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

  • Who are my customers?
  • How will my idea/product/service benefit 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 clearly define your idea and place your potential customer at the center of your project. It's all too easy to imagine what customers are thinking, and never talk to anyone to validate your assumptions. What is the value proposition you wish to propose, and whether you are really addressing 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 (or invalidate) them.

To start working on your Value Proposition, here's some basic advice on what you need:

  • Print out a large Value Proposition Canvas (or simply draw it on a whiteboard);
  • Buy sticky notes (one color for each customer segment) and pens;
  • Gather your team;
  • Concentrate for 2 hours (turn off the phones!)
  • Stand (don't sit);
  • Get the coffee machine ready!
Value Proposition Canvas, Coaching, Coteries Lab

Customer profile

Always start on the right-hand customer side!

Select one of the customer segments you wish to target to create a detailed profile. Be precise in your segmentation for a clear, usable understanding of your customers' profile.

Start by analyzing "customer jobs ": what are they currently doing in their work or life to achieve certain objectives? What processes and tasks do they perform?

Example: they have to open three different programs before they can perform a reporting task.

Identifycustomerpains: list all the risks or obstacles associated with the tasks or activities you described in the previous section. Anything that hurts people and leads to sub-optimal results.

Example: wasting time, mixing up information

Finally, identifycustomer gains, i.e. the more or less expected benefits.

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

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

Half the work of describing your value proposition is done, but it's not finished. Remember, don't include your product ideas in your profile! In addition, try to analyze your customer as objectively and objectively as possible.

Before you go to the left side of the canvas, you should get out of the office and talk to your target customers. Why should you do this? Simply because the work you've done now essentially consists of listing assumptions (unless you're creating this customer profile directly with some of your target customers). To move forward, you need to validate (or invalidate) these assumptions. Talking (and even better, listening!) to your customers will provide you with this kind of information. And probably also uncover hidden ideas, which you can then exploit. It's a process of iteration: don't be afraid to fine-tune your model!

The Value Map

Now you can start filling in the other side of the canvas: the value map (also known as the product offer).

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

It's time to get creative! Now you can let your idea shine, while respecting the structure of the template: list all the features of your product or service to build your value proposition.

Identify the "pain relievers": what will help your customer eliminate risks, poor results or any obstacles in their work or life?

Do the same for gain creators, explaining how you will create the desired results.

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

When you compare the two sides of the model, the gain creators and bread relievers must respond to your customers' difficulties and gains (described in the customer profile). There has to be a fit, otherwise you'll be building something nobody wants (which is the main reason why new products or startups fail)!

Don't be over-ambitious and try to cover everything in the first version of your product. Concentrate on the essentials.

Having a clear overview of your value proposition, you can now go ahead and start building your product. This doesn't mean that your product will be perfect, or that the information you've gathered from your customers will enable you to succeed. The customers you've interviewed may not be representative of the market as a whole. But at least you've made huge strides in your journey to achieve "product-market fit".

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

And finally, take a look at Strategyzer 's official video explaining the Value Proposition Canvas:

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