What’s your superpower? What’s the magic that you bring to the table that makes your customers come back again and again?
It turns out that your business superpower is your value proposition. For definitional purposes, let’s establish what is and isn’t your Superpower.
YOUR SUPERPOWER IS:
The connective tissue of your business. Your value proposition plays a key strategic role in the life and health of your business.
Your strategy’s GPS. I like to use Google Maps because I know it tells me the most efficient route to my destination. If traffic should change mid-route, it gives me a heads up and the choice to course correct based on what it sees in the environment. Similarly, your value proposition always tells you the best, most efficient route to achieve your business objectives.
Your backbone. There’s an expression that goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Your value proposition helps your business stand firmly in its power.
YOUR SUPERPOWER IS NOT:
Your elevator pitch. Nope, it’s not. But, you can wordsmith your value proposition to be your elevator pitch. I do it and so do many others.
Your brand nor your brand essence. This would be like mixing apples and oranges. Your value proposition infuses the brand but it is not the same as the brand.
Your sales and marketing messaging. Your value proposition lives at a broader, more strategic level of your business whereas sales and marketing are more execution oriented. If you were to mix them or equate them, you would miss the forest for the trees.
HOW DO I WRITE ONE?
This is all well and good, you might be thinking. But, what are the ingredients of a value proposition such that it really is that Superpower? It has four:
– A keen understanding of your customer(s). A crystal clear picture of your customer segment(s) is a great first step in creating a solid value proposition that you can have for the long haul.
– A solid grasp of their pains. This is hyper critical. Some pains are headaches and yet others are migraines. People have more emotional attachment and willingness to solve the migraines and not the headaches. Make certain that what you have diagnosed is the migraine.
– A core solution that is the reliever of the pains. Baby aspirin won’t fix a migraine. Make sure you’ve developed the right painkiller for that migraine.
– A solid belief in how you are the best choice. This is about knowing your competition and knowing what and how your offering is superior to theirs.
AND, WHY DOES IT MATTER SO?
And, companies who have a solid lock on their value proposition tend to stick around for the long haul. Why is this so? Well, your Superpower infuses and influences every single part of your business model as depicted in this image. It’s why I call it the connective tissue and the spine of your business.
Companies that execute their business strategies in alignment with their Superpower are everywhere. Target, Apple, Costco, Amazon and Toms are good examples. There are any number of other good examples that you can think of, too.
And, yes, there are really good examples of companies that suffer because they don’t live up to their Superpower potential or maybe their Superpower is weak or missing. Sears is one such example and Uber is another.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR?
There are some easy to spot symptoms of a missing or a weak Superpower. A company typically needs to shore up, fix or redevelop a Superpower if it is experiencing the following :
– Flat or lower revenues
– Fewer sales leads
– Qualifying the wrong sales leads
– Can’t close sales
– Customers aren’t coming back
– Stiffer competition
– Tepid investor interest
– Low employee morale
– Rising costs
– Poor margins / profits
– Shopping cart abandon
– Higher site bounce rate
– Poor brand reputation
– And many others
A word to the wise: there may be a temptation to treat a symptom as the main business problem only. Do yourself (and your business) a favor by resisting that urge and doing the work to discover the root cause of the symptom – typically a missing or weak Superpower.
HOW LONG DOES THIS TAKE?
Some of you may be wondering how long it may take to draft a Superpower statement that really does a great job of including those four ingredients highlighted above. It may take a few times to arrive at one that really knocks it out of the park not only in terms of how factual it is but also how authentic it may feel for you.
In other words, it’s an agile and iterative process not unlike how you may have adopted agile and iterative methods to build and grow your business. Take your time to make it right for you, your business and your customer.
CEOs of funded startups and growth stage companies use Parissa as their secret strategic weapon when they are ready to accomplish some pretty heady goals: new customers, beating back the competition, better customer retention, etc. They are often at a strategic crossroads and are tired of running their businesses with a series of individual plays as opposed to a gameplan. Parissa offers strategy coaching and consulting services and work side by side to help them set and conquer goals to drive to their definition of success.