Drafting your value proposition
When drafting your value proposition or business plan, you need to answer three important questions. What is your idea, why have you brought it to market and how will you deliver on your promise? This sounds relatively straightforward, but you need to write it in a way that convinces your audience of its merit and ability. This is achieved by defining your product, your market and your competitors and dispelling any misgivings the reader may have.
Define your product or business
Your idea is defined by how useful, necessary or marketable it is. This means that you will need to explain what your product or business is, what it does, how it does it and why this is important.
Present the promise and how your product delivers
Most sales pitches work on the principle of features and benefits. By defining your product, you will have already talked about the features, so now is the time to explain the benefits of these features. To the customer, the benefit is the most important aspect of the product or business, and whoever is reading your proposition will know this.
Can your offering do something that other offerings can’t? If not, is it easier to use, quicker to use or more efficient than existing products? To answer this, you need to consider similar offerings on the market and your potential competitors. You’ll also need to know your target audience, what they want and in what way you can appeal to them.
Identify gaps or opportunities in the market
Once you have talked about what you can do, go further and explain why this is needed. Do you offer an office energy audit service that saves businesses money, or a razor blade that gives you an even closer shave? Now is the time to show that there are potential customers out there who want these products or can be convinced of their desirability.
How will you market your product?
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to have the best, the cheapest or the most exciting idea – you also need to know how to sell it. Selling in this context means making your target audience aware of the product and landing the sale. For this part, you’ll need a Unique Selling Point (USP), and an avenue or method for putting it in front of customers.
Answer potential doubts
The best way to head off potential doubts is to first present your idea to other business friends and have them raise their concerns. How can you compete against existing providers? Does your product tap into a current trend? If you are asked questions like these, answer them in the proposition to show you have considered all angles.
Finally, honesty and modesty are important in your plan. Every value proposition thinks it is offering something unique and obviously necessary, but bombarding your reader with hyperbole will leave them cold. If you identify potential obstacles to success, and there should be some, state them and then address how you intend to overcome these issues.
Most importantly, realise that your task here is not to please everyone. It is better to be specific and appeal to one reader than to be vague and uninspiring to all.