The following is from my upcoming ebook, Be True Cut Through: 2020 Edition.
If you’re going to make a living, let alone a fortune, you need to determine your value proposition. This pertains to your business, but also you as a person if you’re looking for an employer or clients. There are several terms connected to your value proposition including “elevator pitch,” “brand,” “slogan,” and “benefit.” These terms are distinct from each other, but your value is the root of them all.
Whatever business you’re in, your success depends on bringing your value to the people who will pay for it. Marketing is the work of communicating that value. In this chapter, I’ll discuss how to determine it based on either your skills or your product.
What Is Your Value As An Entrepreneur?
Do you know what your job should be? What kind of business you should be in? You need to start by taking stock of yourself and what drives you. Very few young people know what they want to do in life when they start college. The lucky ones pick a relevant course of study, and find jobs right after graduation. A lot of people, like me, major in whatever is interesting and muddle through.
To figure out your vocation, there are personality tests, strengths finders, and more all around the Internet. However, I suggest searching your memory, way back to early childhood. Theologians believe we’re closer to understanding God’s will when we’re small children. Later in life, about age 8 or 9, or around adolescence, is when we start losing our innocence. This is when peer pressure begins and we’re less true to ourselves.
What interested you when you were 5 or 6 years old? What games did you play? Did you play cops and robbers? Did you like building things, or taking care of your dolls? Speaking for myself, I was fascinated with storybooks. My parents tell me I was reading simple words when I was four years old. When I was 5, I remember trying to make my own book, drawing an illustration of a boy fishing and writing the sentence, “Ha ha a boy.” I was reading lots of children’s books when I was 6, and had my favorite authors and illustrators.
After struggling as a freelance web designer for 5 years, I remembered that blogging was what brought me to making websites in the first place. After writing the first edition of this book, a business coach reviewed it and suggested I’d be better as an author, public speaker, or consultant. Therefore, I’m pivoting from freelance services to coaching, publishing articles, and selling information products.
It may take a few attempts for you to find the right business model, or the right position in a company. Skills can be learned, clues to your purpose are there when you’re a little child, before the world corrupts you. Think about a problem in the world that bothers you intensely. Your business should either solve that problem, or provide you an income while you solve it in your spare time. That’s your value as an entrepreneur.
Value Proposition: 6 Factors
Now let’s define the value proposition of your business (or product.) The YouTube channel MatShoreInnovation gives us a framework in the video, “How to write a value proposition? Defining 6 core elements of Value Propositions” This is the foundation of your marketing message, and it determines other things like your elevator pitch, slogan, and brand.
Definition of the Target Market:
These are the people you want to serve or sell to. They can be consumers or other businesses. They might be on a tight budget, or they might want to show off. They might be young, middle-aged, or retirees. They should share your moral principles. You’ll need to create a buyer persona, which is a profile of your ideal customers.
Definition of the Problem to Solve:
This is your target market’s biggest unmet need. You can address other needs down the road, but you’ll want to start with the biggest problem early in your career. This can be learned by interviewing people in your community, making surveys, visiting online forums or social networks, etc.
Before you create a product, or establish your service, you should find out if other businesses are already solving the target market’s problem. If they are, it will hinder your success. You want to fill a gap in the market; do something no one else is doing, or do it better.
This is the solution, the actual reason to buy from you. In marketing, it’s said you should express the benefits of your business and not your features. This means avoid technical jargon about your specs or process. Talk instead about how you’ll make your customer’s life easier.
A famous example of benefit marketing is the original iPod. Apple could have bragged about the iPod’s storage capacity or quality materials compared to other mp3 players. Instead they said, “A thousand songs in your pocket.” The result was the rebound of the struggling Apple brand.
Reason To Believe/Proof:
This is when you address the target market’s doubts and prove your business is what will help them. This is where user reviews, testimonials, recommendations, and demonstrations come into your marketing strategy.
Point of Superiority/Differentiation:
Going back to addressing the competitors/alternatives, this final factor in your value proposition is where you explain why you’re preferrable. Either your business does it better than the rest, it’s unique, or it does something no one else does.