Demystifying the “Value Proposition”

The words "value proposition" can inspire fear as a new or aspiring business owner.  Our business coaches and loan officers spend a lot of time helping people just like you to understand the term, and then figure out how to apply it to their business.  It's even covered extensively in our Launch & Grow class series, and our Impact Pitch competition.

We've got diagrams, canvases, and simplified how-to, all combined into a handy blog post.  But sometimes the best way to explain something is with examples.  Here are a few of our favorite examples of how clients (real and fake) arrived at their own value propositions.

Examples of Value Proposition Brainstorming

From Coach Darren

  1. Company Name: FlyFast, LLC
  2. Customer: Those who are live in urban areas, are sick of Uber and tired of LYFT, often have their own vehicle but are too stingy to pay for parking and too drowsy in the morning to drive. They tend to get out of bed on the wrong side, forget where they put their coffee-maker, love donuts and corgis, make $100k + annually, and just want to do good in the world.
  3. Problem: "I can't get from here to there fast enough in the morning! This causes me to feel stressed, unhappy, and overall, just a huge grump, which impacts my relationships, increases my speeding ticket expenses and hinders my ability to function normally.
  4. Solution: FlyFast, LLC delivers customers from here to there with the utmost efficiency and speed, blowing past the competition and guaranteeing an on-time arrival to their destination.
  5. Product Difference(s): Here at FlyFast, we take things seriously, going above and beyond the competition. Literally. With our fleet of remotely operated, two and four-seater passenger drones, we skip the traffic and bring you to your destination, flying right next to the crow (as they know the right way to fly from point A to point B!). Soar to new heights with your work and your life. Now you can sleep in, relax, drink your coffee, and let us do the dirty work. Flying to a neighborhood near you.

From Director Steve

  1. Company Name: Le Gal’s Mobile Trust and Estate Planning Services
  2. Customer: Persons in need of estate planning but are unable to leave home
  3. Problem: People who are housebound or unable to travel have difficulty accessing trust and estate planning services
  4. Solution: We bring our mobile office to your home and prepare your documents while you wait.
  5. Product Differences: We are the only service that caters to persons who are unable to visit a brick and mortar office for estate planning services.

Value Proposition: We are the only mobile estate planning office in the region that prepares trust and estate documents for persons who are not able to visit a brick-and-mortar location.

From Coach Neil

  1. Name: Diapers Done Right
  2. Customer: Parents to newborns/infants within 35-mile radius of Redmond, WA. Middle to upper-income levels, interest in environmentally friendly products, and lifestyles.
  3. Problem: Regular diapers are disposable, end up in landfills, wasteful
  4. Solution: Diapers Done Right offers sustainably sourced, washable, reusable diapers with door-to-door service. We pick up your used ones, leave you with clean ones. All diapers are laundered at our main facility using environmentally safe practices and organic and natural materials.
  5. Difference: Diapers Done Right turns single-use diapers into reusable, environmentally friendly diapers. One-of-a-kind laundry and delivery service mean you will always have clean diapers on hand, delivered right to your door. Our subscription-based system means you will not have to worry about purchasing or picking up diapers!

From Coach Christine

  1. Company: IntraSoft – “Business Tools Together”
  2. Problem: Small business owners often do not have the time or knowledge to find and implement the right productivity tools for efficiency and maximum profits.
  3. Solution: Our customizable integrated software combines accounting, communication, scheduling, planning, and tracking tools into one platform. It eliminates having to learn several programs and the disconnect between them. As a result, managers and employees save time and money while our software does the heavy lifting.
  4. Product: Our cloud-based platform has all productivity tools in one easily accessible and sharable location.
  5. Target Customer: Small to medium size businesses with under 20 employees and $500K or more annual revenue.
  6. Main Benefits: Our product takes the best features of the major business productivity software and puts them on one platform where they work together to coordinate systems and maximize productivity and profits.

More examples: https://optinmonster.com/32-value-propositions-that-are-impossible-to-resist/

From Director Susan

  1. Horizon Musical Studio
  2. Value 1:
    1. Customer 1: Parents/children-  elementary through High School
    2. Problem 1: Parents can't find extracurricular activities for children that are educational and hip. Or are looking for non-classical based or non-formal, rigid music instruction.
    3. Solution 1: Relaxed environment and contemporary focused using games and videos that they relate to. Help kids fit in and also have a unique talent of their own.
  3. Value 2:
    1. Customer 2: Adults looking for new things to try; involved in musical theatre.
    2. Problem 2: Adult students are afraid of feeling stupid/foolish or instructor being condescending.
    3. Solution 2: Supportive environment. Meeting adults where they are at. Self-driven methods and independent participation. Treating them as peers.
  4. Products: Offering Lessons in Elementary Piano, Pop Singing, Musical Theater. Collaborating with talented local guest instructors.

Value Proposition: Bringing You to New Horizons Through Creative, Collaborative, Contemporary Music Education

From Coach Jessica

When I am working on identifying value propositions and target markets with clients who are struggling see the value of narrow definitions (i.e., my product is good for everyone), I use Amazon as an example

  1. "Amazon started by selling used textbooks to college students who are on a limited budget."

It is my most effective example when helping them see the value in a narrow and specific value proposition and target market.

From Coach Miriam

  1. Company Name: Beyond Cleaning Seattle
  2. Customer: Humans who experience anxiety, ADHD or have other mental health needs and who own or rent a space that they can’t, or don’t have time to, keep clean
  3. Problem: Customers need peace, quiet, and order to maintain their well being, which can be negatively affected by the common approach of sending in a cleaning team of 2-3 people who need to clean very fast and get out in a hurry
  4. Solution: The owner offers a peaceful, non-anxious approach to cleaning using nature-friendly cleaning products, taking on fewer customers, and serving them thoroughly with less noise and less emphasis on speed.
  5. Product Difference(s): Brings calm, peace, and order to the home with a gentle approach to cleaning

The owner was actually quite clear about her Value Proposition when we started coaching sessions. We have talked it over and she has worked hard to clearly state how her services are different from the common model of fast and furious housecleaning. This was not necessarily better than every other house cleaning business but a better choice for HER customers.

When I work with students in Launch & Grow classes on value propositions, I ask them to imagine bringing a box of chocolates to a friend. Anyone can bring a box of chocolates. I ask them to think of their company, products, and services as the contents of the box.

  • What is different about how you deliver the box?
  • What is special about what is inside?
  • What is different or better about the chocolates you are offering?

Want more? Get help with business planning:

  1. Launch & Grow class series – In-person or virtual 7-week class
  2. Your Business – Smart Start for Veteran and Military-Connected Entrepreneurs
  3. Work one-on-one with a business coach.  Meet our coaches.
  4. Get advice on specific areas of your business through our many classes and trainings.

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