Blog / 7th February 2022

What problems do you solve for your customers?

It is really important all businesses are clear about the problems they solve, for whom and why they are best placed to do it. This article aims to help small businesses do exactly that..

GrowthBox has now worked with LOTS of different businesses and we are noticing some important themes. Being clear about the target audience was an early observation and we discussed this in a previous article (fish-where-the-fish-are). We want to help address another gap we are seeing through our free planning tool - that many businesses don’t have a clear ‘value proposition’ for customers. A clear value proposition really helps with growing a business effectively, not least in helping make sure your marketing really shows your customers how you can help them.

What exactly is a value proposition?

It is a meaningless term to many businesses and a quick web search shows there seem to be many different definitions across the marketing community and often confusion about the terms ‘Value Proposition’ and ‘Unique Selling Point’. Both are important – and marketing speak shouldn’t get in the way of growing your business – so let’s keep this simple and get back to basics:

VP and USP definitions

We could get strategic about this and talk through how a value proposition weaves its way across an entire organisation, from the way it produces the product or service it sells, the customer experience, and so on. It is without doubt hugely important that your value proposition lives and breathes through everything your business does. For this article we will focus on simply having a clear thought-through value proposition and how that will help with the process of finding and keep customers, helping position your business to its target audience in a way that they understand and shows how you can help them and, linked with a unique selling point(s) which we cover later in this article, show why they should choose you and not your competitors. Together, this will help grab attention and ultimately more sales.

So how do you get to a clear value proposition?

Well again, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Three simple questions provide a useful guide:

Simple? Sometimes a template can help. Here at GrowthBox we are big fans of Strategyser and the way the team over there break things down into simple and practical frameworks. We really like their canvas approach which neatly helps set out customer needs, pains and gains on the right, and on the left how your products and services relieve pains and create gains – or of course also help highlight where there isn’t a good fit between your offer and who you think your target customer is – which is just as valuable and might challenge your thinking!

Strategyser value proposition canvas

We have seen many use post-it notes or just plain scribble to complete this and work out what their sweet spot value proposition is. Once you have that you can build your whole plan around it: how will your business represent your value proposition in the way you communicate with your customers – from your website to your outbound communications – and how will you deliver this in the way you work with your customers?

Food for thought and we will have more advice on that in future.

You can also neatly summarise your value proposition into a simple statement for your audiences too – your ‘elevator pitch’. What is this? Imagine you are in an elevator with a potential customer. You have 30 seconds to grab their attention before they exit - or just 15 seconds when someone lands on your website - how will you get your proposition across?

In ‘Crossing The Chasm’, Geoff Moore suggests the following template to create a statement with your work on the value proposition at its core:

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

So, if we pretend to be a sustainable fashion retailer, this could be something like:

“For [eco-conscious fashionistas] who [want to look good without harming the planet], our [clothing] is the [latest fashion] that is [made from sustainably sourced and recycled materials.]

Then you can add your ‘unique selling proposition’: what makes you different or superior to your competitors – why your customer should choose your business rather than someone else? Easily overlooked. For Volvo, they strongly position themselves around safety. For Apple, arguably it’s cool and user-friendly tech. For my window cleaner, its about fixed pricing and a good and reliable service experience versus others.

Last, consider why your target market should believe you – add in proof points such as customer testimonials, feedback etc. Then you are good to go compete.

For more advice have a look through our advice pages. We will be adding more content all the time – subscribe for regular updates to your inbox. And of course, if you need help with marketing your business, try out our free planning tool for recommendations to get you moving forwards or tell us what marketing help you need and we will find the best people to help you get it done.

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