Starting a Startup Pt. 4: Your Solution and Value Prop

These series of posts are based on my recent experience with starting a startup, and how I went about it with my partner to get us both on the same page for us to develop a strategy we both believe in and can execute on.

 

If you’ve been following my posts, at this point you know why you’re doing this, who is your ideal customer and target market, and what problems you want to solve for them.

And you’re probably demanding when are we going to start building a solution, because you already have a solution in mind, or have even started building one. So in this post, we’ll start looking at what we need in our solution.

But first…we need something: your value proposition.


The Value Prop

Your value prop is basically what you are offering the world, to who you are offering to and why you the best to offer it.

As you can see, all the exercises we did previously helped us develop all the pieces we need four our value prop. The value prop is now our north star in guiding where our solution should go.

Below is my favorite value prop format, but of course there are others you can use.

The Value Prop Template

Our <product>
helps <customer segment>
who need a better way to <do something>
by <what the product does/value prop>
and is better than <current solution>
because <reason/difference>

This value prop statement is one simple statement that gives you focus and clarity about what you’re doing. To test if you have a good value prop, you should explain it to your target market, and if they don’t say the following then you need to refine or find a different value prop:

 

Value Prop Examples

Here are some examples I’ve cooked up to practice how to use this format for existing companies out there:

McDonalds

Our restaurants
helps low-income families
who need a better way to provide meals for themselves and their families
by providing low cost American fast food cuisine with a consistent experience
and is better than these families visiting another restaurant or cooking themselves
because
– we make each meal quickly
– every meal is the same in presentation and taste
– we are affordable
– children find our food options enjoyable

Apple – MacBook

Our laptops
helps consumers who demand a beautiful, consistent, easy to use computing experience
who need a better way to perform their computing tasks
by providing an elegantly designed and integrated software and hardware experience
and is better than buying a laptop with a different OS
because
– our software is designed specifically for our hardware and vice versa
– our user experience is amazing/we make using computers delightful

Telsa

Our electric cars
help drivers who want to save the environment
who need a more environmentally friendly car that goes above and beyond gas-powered cars
by providing beautiful, fast, thoughtfully designed electric vehicles
and is better than buying a gas-powered car
because
– our cars are safer since there is no engine
– our cars don’t use fossil fuels since they are electric
– all our cars go from 0 – 60 in 6 seconds
– our cars have the latest technology and hardware
– our cars are beautiful

 

Your Solution

Now it’s solution time! You have your¬†north star which is backed by customer research you conducted.

This is where I leave you to do your thing. But I’m not going leave you completely, I’ll leave you with¬†what I believe is the most crucial piece of advice: be as lean as possible.

You need to prove to yourself that every dollar you invest into your solution is backed by customer feedback, either they’ve told you then need a certain feature, or you can see based on usage that the feature is missing. Don’t overbuild, and don’t wait too long to get your product in front of your customers.

Good luck!

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