A value proposition is an articulate description of why customers should choose your business over others. In other words, your value proposition is the foundation of your competitive advantage. So it’s important to highlight it in your business plan to show potential investors and other stakeholders that you’re worth their time and money.

This guide will show you how to write a value proposition for a business plan. We’ll cover the following topics:

  • Why you need to include a value proposition
  • Aspects that make up your value proposition
  • How to write a value proposition for a business plan (and everywhere else)
  • Tips to write a value proposition that converts

What is a value proposition?

In a business plan, your value proposition comes after your executive summary and company description, meaning readers already have a general understanding of your business. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a value proposition describes the value you promise to deliver to your ideal customer or client. 

Basically, you use your proposition to explain why someone would invest in your business and solution over anyone else. You already know why your business is special, but the key is to make it clear to anyone who reads your business plan. 

Your value proposition is only a simple statement rather than a long message, such as Grammarly’s “Great writing, simplified” or HelloFresh’s “Take the stress out of mealtime”. Both these companies tell you how they help you in just a few words. 

But don’t let the simplicity keep you from coming up with a good value statement in the first place. The important thing is that your statement answers the following questions:

  • What problem or pain point does your business solve?
  • What are the benefits people get from your solution?
  • Why should someone invest in you rather than your competitors? 
  • What’s your advantage over other companies?

Aspects that make up your value proposition

When developing your value proposition for your business plan, make sure you consider and include the following elements:

  • Vision – this describes the ‘why’ of your business, meaning why you do what you do. Your vision shares your aspirations and how they help guide your efforts.
  • Mission – this is where you explain what you do and how you do it. Describe the strategies you use to achieve your vision. 
  • Values – here, you describe your values as a business and what characteristics clients thank you for (or will thank you for). 
  • Unique selling point – your unique selling point (or USP) is the distinct advantage you have over your competitors that makes you stand out in the market. It can be your price, quality, design, selection, or even words. Or perhaps you offer a highly efficient service because you have a system like Countingup that speeds up many of your internal processes?
  • Ideal client – you need to know who your ideal customer/client is to clearly communicate why they need your solution specifically. Try creating an ideal customer profile where you add all the relevant information you have about your ideal client. The more specific your profile, the easier it will be to explain your solution’s value to that group of people.

How to write a value proposition for a business plan (and everywhere else)

There are a few ways you can create a value proposition for your business. Here are some methods you can use.

Value proposition canvas

This visual tool helps you position your solution around your customers’ needs. You can use the value proposition canvas to build your first statement or to enhance the one you already have. The canvas has two components: the customer profile and the value map. Let’s look at the parts that make up each component.

Customer profile

  • Gains – the benefits your customer expects and needs that will increase the likelihood of attracting them to a value proposition.
  • Pains – the negative experiences, emotions and risks customers want to escape.
  • Customer jobs – the tasks customers try to perform, needs they try to satisfy, or problems they try to solve.

Value map

  • Gain creators – how your solution helps create customer gains and satisfy their needs and expectations. 
  • Pain relievers – how your solutions help eliminate customer pains.
  • Products and services – the products and services you provide that create customer gains and relieves their pains. 

Explore each section from your customers’ perspective, imagining how each benefit increases pleasure or decreases pain for the person using your solution. 

For example, every self-employed person has financial management tasks they need to complete. By using Countingup, they can manage their finances from one simple app and minimise their time spent on these tasks. They’ll feel less stressed and more inspired to move their businesses forward. 

The Steve Blank formula

If you think the value proposition canvas is too complicated, you can try the simple formula by entrepreneur Steve Blank. He noticed many startup founders focus on features instead of benefits when attempting to create their value proposition. Instead of summarising how their company offers value to customers, leaders get stuck trying to choose which features to highlight. 

The Steve Blank formula gives you a way to transform your ideas into a simple sentence. Simply write down your ideas like this:

We help (X) do (Y) by doing (Z)

Let’s look at each component a little closer:

  • We help X = Who is your ideal client, and what problem or pain point do they suffer with? 
  • Do Y = Where does your ideal customer want to achieve by using a solution like yours?
  • by doing Z = What value does your business deliver to the customer, and what makes you unique from your competitors?

When using this formula to come up with your value proposition, remember to go with your gut. Sometimes the first thing that comes to mind is the best. 

For example:

Countingup helps self-employed entrepreneurs manage their businesses efficiently by streamlining key financial processes. 

Tips to create a value proposition that converts

To wrap up, here are a few quick tips to help you create a value proposition that will inspire investors to keep reading your business plan and convert leads to customers. 

  • Keep it short and concise – your statement needs to instantly tell people why they should buy from you. 
  • Be precise – your value proposition should offer targeted solutions to specific needs.
  • Focus on the customer – your goal is to prove how you solve customers’ problems, not your own. 
  • Value takes many shapes – there are a bunch of ways you can deliver value to your customers, including money, convenience, time, and superior quality or service.

Take your business to new heights with Countingup

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 

Save yourself hours of accounting admin so you can focus on growing your business. 

Start your three-month free trial today. 

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