No Value Proposition – No Business.

Yet another “Me too” or “a solution looking for a problem” – Ideas that fly or not ?

What says your idea, product or business is going to fly or not? In the capital raising business we get plenty of chance to evaluate new business ideas and products. It is amazing how many mad inventors we come across in contrast to entrepreneurs or business people. So what’s the difference: inventors have ideas – entrepreneurs have validated value propositions and business models that work.

 Recently at MORGO Steve Bayliss tabled a great approach to marketing and new product definition. Here is Steve’s test that he applies to new product ideas:

  • ‘Genuine innovation solves a customer problem more delightfully and accessibly than existing alternatives. And as importantly, innovation isn’t a novelty, nor a response to a competitor move, nor a line extension the core brand has no right to make’.

The key point  here is the significant difference between current solution and yours. 

If you can not articulate a good value proposition,  then fix it or give up!

Fundamentally you do not have a business unless you can offer your customers something of value. I strongly advocate if you can not quantify the gain of your client, as a result of using your product or service, then sales will be hard work.

If you are not adding measurable value to your customers, you are going to become, at best, a discretionary spend for the few people who get it,  rather than being a must buy.
Fundamental to your pitch, is the succinct story that describes your value proposition in a palatable way.

If your sales have plateaued – more than likely you are selling technology or ideas, rather than business solutions – your pitch is wrong.  Spend time uncovering your true value proposition – change your pitch and your approach to business focusing on areas that customers will pay for as a top priority.  A starting point, go ask your existing or potential customers how their business will be different as a result of using your product or service.

It blows me away how many companies describe themselves by their craft  … “we’re a software company”  …well no CFO or CEO the ones with cheque books wakes up at 3am wanting to by software. I know software people wake up dreaming of new software platforms…but people don’t need software platforms they need “solutions to real business problems”.

In the business to business environment if you can not quantify commercial gain for your customers you do not have a sustainable business. 

As far as assessing whether your company will make it or not a value proposition that has been validated by the market is the first step – fail on this count and no savvy investor will touch you.

1 thought on “No Value Proposition – No Business.

  1. For such a simple idea, ‘value proposition’ is surrounded in needless confusion.

    Straight to the point Mark, I like it! Understand your value or face stagnant or declining revenue.

    I see B2B companies running into four main areas of confusion when developing their value proposition, so here are some pitfalls to be aware of:

    1) Lost in terminology (unique selling proposition, tag line, brand promise, position statement etc),
    2) Mixing up of features, benefits and value,
    3) Mixing messages of brand experience (who you are and culture) with the value you deliver,
    4) Realising that a value proposition is a tool that fits into a good sales process, amongst other sales tools.

    The unfortunate outcome is that value is hidden or diluted in your messages and does not increase sales.

    To be successful in developing your value proposition (particularly in complex B2B companies) try the following:

    1) Sort out exactly what you are trying to achieve across Sales and Marketing. Typically, value proposition development will be lost in a larger ‘brand refresh’.

    2) Dig deep into what you do and match that to what customers want. Developing a value matrix is a great way to cut through confusion and get to the specifics that generate value. This can be difficult for technically focused people and will highlight how well you know your customers business problems.

    3) Develop your value proposition in the context of your sales process. The value proposition is a critical tool, not a silver bullet.

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