Hello, I’m John Young a 47 yr old inventor, married with 2 children. I have a totally new way to open boxes and cutting.
Every enterprise is an invention or innovation.
If you can express your idea as a value proposition you define for yourself and potential investors the reasons for backing your product or service.
Remember a Value Proposition is not a Mission Statement.
In business and marketing, a value proposition is a statement summarizing the customer segment, competitor targets and the core differentiation of one’s product from the offerings of competitors. In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore writes, “Positioning is the single largest influence on the buying decision.” Value propositions are often used to describe value added.
The value proposition should answer the questions: “Why should I buy this product or service?” as well as “Why should I do anything at all.” It is a clear and specific statement about the tangible benefits of an offering. Simply the best.
Here is the template for creating a value proposition, to which many refer to as a positioning statement. Note the first portion of the value proposition asserts the value of the offering and the second sentence asserts the positioning of that value.
Anyone in business, politics, or public service should be able to answer the question, ‘What’s your value proposition?’
For example, in September of this year, the school system in my county will attempt to pass a 1-cent sales tax increase to help fund the building of new schools and to upgrade current schools. They are just beginning to communicate their value proposition to the community at large.
With this referendum, the community should receive 20-30% of the tax revenues from people who do not live in the county, as their shopping in our county helps to pay for our schools. Additionally, the school system does not need to burden the community with additional debt by instituting a local sales tax. There are negatives as well, but a value proposition is, for the most part, intended to frame a persuasive proposition for someone to act the way you want them to.
Some of the dynamics and concepts in crafting a cogent value proposition are: Definition of Terms One definition that the American Heritage Dictionary provides for value is “Worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor; utility or merit.” One definition of proposition is ‘the act of offering’ or ‘that which is proposed or offered.’
Value—like beauty—is often in the eye of the beholder (e.g., we each place slightly different importance or weight on things). We typically associate the receiving of value as, in a civil case, a preponderance of benefits (i.e., at least 51% benefits and 49% costs), or in a financial sense, benefits minus costs = > 0. The terms benefits and costs includes both tangible and intangible factors and thus need to be defined by the person receiving the benefits and paying the costs.
In essence, a value proposition is an offer to some entity or target in which they (the possessor) get more than they give up (merit or utility), as perceived by them, and in relationship to alternatives, including doing nothing. In terms of form, a value proposition is generally a clear and succinct statement (e.g., 2-4 sentences) that outlines to potential clients and stakeholders a company’s (or individual’s or group’s) unique value-creating features.
At the end of the day, the real foundation of developing a unique value proposition rests on identifying and understanding what an individual or group values, which can be both stated and/or implied. For example, business executives can talk about integrity, honesty, and corporate governance all they want, but if their actions conflict with their rhetoric, we should look to what they actually do as a true representation of their values.
If a customer says price is not important, but they continue to buy on price, the actuals should trump the intents. Questioning a conflict or inconsistency between what targets say they value and what they actually do can often help to uncover their real priorities and weights. As in conjoint analysis, value is often evaluated in comparison to other items, criteria, and/or features. (Do you value A more than B, given these criteria and parameters?) Identifying and understanding value requires both context and perspective.
For example, a shareholder may view a reduction in force as a positive event, whereas an employee may view it as arbitrary and political, while a customer may view it as upsetting since they could lose their trusted account manager. As illustrated by the adage, “where you stand depends on where you sit,” knowing a particular group or individual’s perspective is crucial in understanding their specific value drivers.
As any good negotiator or sales person will do, the essence of the value identification process is to perform a thorough needs analysis with the value proposition targets, be they employees, partners or customers.
The needs analysis should cull out the value parameters (e.g., timing, magnitude, risk) and the current and anticipated pains and challenges of the individual or group. If your value proposition is analogous to a typical sales campaign, then you need to diagnose the different pains of your targets and understand which one hurts the most, and where they can get the “biggest bang for the buck.” Additionally, you need to understand the risks or side effects of your solution so you can either prevent or mitigate them, and develop, as necessary, the risk-adjusted value proposition.
In most value descriptions, there are both qualitative and quantitative components. A finance person (internal or external) may primarily describe value using some sort of Return on Investment (ROI) or Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) framework, whereas a customer may describe value as having greater status or looking better (e.g., focus could be functional, financial or emotional).
Economists often use the ‘willingness to pay’ process as a way of quantifying what someone would be willing to pay to have “greater status,” for example. Each specific value description is a fact that must be understood in formulating the proposition. Once you understand how a group or individual describes value, you will want to craft your language in a way that aligns with their terms, and differentiates you from other alternatives. This practice of becoming ‘fluent’ in a company’s or individual’s language is quite popular in sales, psychology, change management and numerous other areas where you want to be seen as part of the group and on the ‘inside.’ As a value proposition is a form of persuasion, on a social psychological level, we are more easily persuaded by those who are familiar and/or similar to us, and thus using the same language or metrics is one way to establish that rapport (see neuro-linguistic programming for more about this area).
Crafting the Value Prop (Determining Content)
On the whole, there is no ‘silver bullet’ when it comes to crafting a relevant, timely, and cogent value proposition given the dynamic nature of value, of the marketplace, and of a company’s capability set. However, it is also true that many companies—Volvo, for example—are not going to significantly shift their overall value proposition (i.e., safety at a premium) to the market given its intertwined nature to their brand and their core competencies. In the round, the value proposition concept is a valuable tool to utilize with each important constituency as it forces you to look both internally and externally in crafting a statement that is actionable by you and/or your company, while being credible and compelling to your target audience.
Rule #1 Become a Bigger Fish in a Smaller Pond
Dieter Rams (born May 20, 1932 in Wiesbaden, Hessen) is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design.
Back in the early 1980s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world around him – “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.” Aware that he was a significant contributor to that world, he asked himself an important question: is my design good design?
As good design cannot be measured in a finite way he set about expressing the ten most important principles for what he considered was good design. (Sometimes they are referred as the ‘Ten commandments’.)
Here they are.
1. Good design is innovative.
The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
2. Good design makes a product useful.
A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasises the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
3. Good design is aesthetic.
The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
4. Good design makes a product understandable.
It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.
5. Good design is unobtrusive.
Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
6. Good design is honest.
It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
7. Good design is long lasting.
It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
8. Good design is thorough, down to the last detail.
Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
9. Good design is environmentally-friendly.
Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
10. Good design is as little design as possible.
Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials.
Back to purity, back to simplicity.”
Remember this was written in 1980 and is as relevant today as ever!