Creating and managing your online business requires you to follow the same basic principals of any business - relying on sound Business Strategies. There are however, a few practices that differ or that just are unique to an online business. Here we share our views and experience with you to help you develop a more effective and profitable online business.

Build a Story and Then Identify Your Value Proposition

Build a Story and Then Identify Your Value Proposition

Getting your value proposition right is critical to your business model. Whatever else you may think is important in developing your marketing plans, clarifying your positioning in the market is essential, it needs to be done right up front and it needs to be clearly about your customers not you. Your (Unique) value proposition will be the one thing that truly sets you apart from your competitors — it is the one thing that will resonate with your market. Not price, not quality of service or how technically innovative your or your products are. It is all about expressing your value to your market in their terms.

But how do you craft such a pitch?

You might find yourself continuously searching the internet for the perfect tool to let you define your value proposition. You are most likely going to read many lengthy articles only to find that there's a mountain of advice out there. 

We have done a lot of this work for you and extracted what we believe to be the best 3 tools to let you quickly get started with defining your Unique Value Proposition or UVP. Our thanks to Tor Gronsund, Founder, Lingo Labs. Entrepreneurship lecturer, the University of Oslo and BI Norwegian Business School who in fact provided 10 such tools in his article “7 Proven Templates for Writing Value Propositions That Work” (there are 3 extra in the follow on article he includes).

Before Your Get Started

It is probably best you first of all understand what your brand is about. One very practical and simple exercise we have come across is Laura Busche’s article The Designer’s Guide to Building a Brand Story – where she explains how to build a storyboard. Read the article by all means but to help people out we provide the storyboard template at the end of this article for your reference. Use this for your own business BEFORE you start on defining your value proposition.

Below are what we believe to be the 3 best approaches for helping you define your value proposition.

#1 Geoff Moore's Value Positioning Statement

Probably the most popularized -  in his seminal book Crossing the Chasm - Geoff Moore suggests a specific template for outlining your value positioning. In addition to the first part below, Moore also introduces a second statement focused on competitive positioning.

Template

For  ____________ (target customer)

Who ____________  (statement of the need or opportunity)

Our (product/service name) is  ____________  (product category)

That (statement of benefit) ____________ .

Sample(s)

  • For non-technical marketers
  • who struggle to find return on investment in social media
  • our product is a web-based analytics software that translates engagement metrics into actionable revenue metrics.

#2 Simon Sinek’s WHY

According to Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.” Sinek’s Golden Circle framework shows you how to turn an idea into a social movement by leading a focus on WHY.

This step-by-step process teaches you to clarify your Why, articulate your Hows, and the importance of being consistent in What you do.

Template

Why: ___________

How: ___________

What: ___________

Sample(s)

  • Why: In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.
  • How: The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly.
  • What: We just happen to make computers.

#3 The Minto Pyramid aka SCQA

SCQA – Situation, Complication, Question, and Answer – also known as The Minto Pyramid Principle, helps you organize ideas to write compelling business documents. It be memos, presentations, emails, blog posts or – key to all the former – value propositions.

Template

Situation - describe what the current situation is

Complication - describe the issue in the situation

Question - describe the question in response to the issue

Answer  - suggest answer to ease out or mitigate the issue

Sample(s)

  • With the rise of smartphones and online video the use of data has exploded.
  • Consequently, wireless networks become congested and slow.
  • How can mobile operators increase their quality of service?
  • Our patented routing algorithm helps mobile operators radically increase throughput.

ONCE UPON A TIME… 

HE/SHE ALWAYS…

BUT ALWAYS HAD A PROBLEM…

TRIED TO SOLVE BY…

In this scene, you will describe your user personas. Who is the main character in your brand story? What does he/she look like? 

Define some of the main tasks that your user is regularly involved with. What does he/she do every day? What are his/her main responsibilities in life and work, as related to the product or service that you offer?

State the main issue that your user faces when trying to complete his/her tasks. What is the unsatisfied need or aspiration in this story?

If the previous problem is real, your user is probably already solving it. What are some alternate solutions to the issue at hand? How is your user managing to partially satisfy this aspiration?

BUT WISHED THAT…

UNTIL ONE DAY…

UNLIKE HIS/HER SOLUTION, THIS...

THEIR WISH CAM TRUE, TO…

Outline the flaws in the solutions that your user is currently buying. Despite purchasing these other products or services, your customer is still unsatisfied. What are existing solutions lacking?

Describe how your customer will most probably learn about your product. What happened on the day he/she first heard about you?

List some of the aspects related to your product experience that set you apart from competitors. How does your offer differ from your user’s current solution?

Describe how your customer will most probably learn about your product. What happened on the day he/she first heard about you?


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