FAQ's and expert insights

It's not good enough.”

Many people start to feel stuck in this phase because they are striving for perfection. It makes sense to feel that way given all the work you’ve put into your idea up to this point. Keep in mind that the goal is not perfection. Your value proposition is likely a work in progress that you’ll continue to refine moving forward.

"My business idea is totally new. I don't have any competitors."

This point of view is not very helpful, since it is your job to help potential adopters see how your product/service will fit into their lives. If you have identified a salient pain point among your target customers, then you have identified your competition; it is the set of behaviors they currently engage in to accomplish (however imperfectly) what they want to accomplish. For example when Quicken developed its financial software, they positioned themselves against the status quo; using a pencil and paper to balance checkbooks, etc. The value proposition was the increased functionality of having computer record keeping, but to sell it to consumers they had to convince them it was just as easy to use as pencil and paper. Try to think in terms of how to sell your product relative to the status quo.

"What if I have multiple customer segments? Do I create more than one value proposition statement?"

Sometimes entrepreneurs are reluctant to leave a source of potential value on the table. They think, “if we add THIS, it would be appealing to THIS segment. And if we emphasize THAT, it becomes more attractive to THAT group.” There are two problems with this. One, there are usually NO potential customers who are concerned with ALL possible features. The idea of expanding the potential market is usually a false one. Two, it undermines focus and makes it harder for ANY potential customer to understand the true source of value. Your job as an entrepreneur is to identify the target customer (based on what he/she truly cares about) and then to provide that ONE THING.

Adam Compain discusses how he quickly retracted his assumption that early stage entrepreneur activities aren't valuable.

Monisha Perkash of Lumo Bodytech describes her use of data and testimonials to inform a value proposition.

TJ Duane of BrightCrowd walks through his early struggles of falling into assumptions.

Sabrina Manville of Edmit gives a concise account of their value proposition and the intent behind it.