Create a Value Proposition that Differentiates Your Business from the Competition

March 27, 2014

Guest blogger Michael Zipursky shares tips on how to define the value your business offers to attract customers.

Michael Zipursky, CEO of Consulting Success, shares tips on creating a value proposition for your small business brand.

Within the last 14 years, I've worked with over 15,000 consultants helping them to land more clients through my business – Consulting Success. Consumers and corporate buyers have more choices today than they've ever had before. While that's great for them, it poses a challenge for you, the small business owner or consultant. How can you position your business so that you’re seen as the best choice? One of the most powerful ways to answer this question is with a value proposition.

What is a Value Proposition?

According to Wikipedia, a value proposition is "the promise of value to be delivered and the belief from the customer that value will be experienced."

In simpler terms, a value proposition is a statement that conveys "Here is why you should buy my product or service."

Four Reasons You Need a Value Proposition

There are four main reasons you need to have a well-crafted value proposition

  1. It helps you to get the attention of your ideal buyer.
  2. It sets you apart from your competition.
  3. It makes you the obvious choice in your marketplace.
  4. It positions you as an authority and expert that people want to buy from.

The Good vs. Bad

Let's look at some specific examples of value propositions and compare what separates the good from the bad.

Create a value proposition that differentiates your business from the competition_Good Value Proposition example

Gordon Graham, (www.thatwhitepaperguy.com) has a great value proposition located at the top of his website. What makes it great? It's specific. He clearly communicates who his ideal client is (B2B technology firms), what he specializes in (writing compelling white papers), and the benefit that he provides (get more leads, buzz and sales). 

Create a value proposition that differentiates your business from the competition_Bad Value Proposition example

To start, where is their value proposition? There is no clear statement that pulls the reader in. "White Papers that Grab Reader Attention," is that it? How about "No brochures or websites. Just great white papers!"? Both of these statements simply describe what this company is offering. They don't describe who their ideal buyer is or suggest what makes them a better choice.

Drop the Slogans

A value proposition is not a slogan. This is common mistake many small business owners and consultants make. They believe that because Nike says "Just Do It" and McDonald's has "I'm lovin' it" that they too can use a short and cute statement. That doesn't work, here's why...

Billion dollar companies spend millions of dollars each year on advertising and branding campaigns. People know who they are and what they do.

As a small business owner or consultant, you don't have that luxury. You're not a household name. Because your value proposition is often the first thing your buyer encounters (whether on your website, brochure or even when you introduce your company in person), it needs to be clear. It must communicate a) who your ideal buyer is and what you specialize in; b) the result you produce and the benefits you offer; and c) why the buyer should choose you over the competition.

How does the value proposition for your small business stack up? Do you even have one, and can it be improved? If your business offers great value to the market you serve, it's time you communicated that with a value proposition that positions you as the preferred choice.

Michael Zipursky is the CEO of Consulting Success (http://www.consultingsuccess.com). A consultant for over 14 years, Michael’s work has helped over 15,000 consultants land more clients, increase their fees and become more successful. His work has been featured in MarketingProfs, Huffington Post, Maclean’s, Fox Business and Financial Times.