Benefits Aren’t Enough-Your Product Must Add Value [Startup School]

Tom Education, Startup School

One of the most common errors I encounter when working with new entrepreneurs are value propositions focused only on benefits. While it is important to be able to articulate your product’s benefits, we also need a tangible metric that aligns the value proposition with your end user’s priorities.

In order to select the correct metric, use the criteria you identified as your end user’s top priority. For example, if their top priority is time to market for producing goods, and your product’s value is that it will lower the cost of production, your value proposition will not persuade your target customer to buy your product. I know that sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many new entrepreneurs get it wrong.

Once you are able to state your quantified value proposition in one sentence, create a supporting diagram that shows the customer’s current state as compared to the improved state if they were to use your product. Also, be sure to use the words of the customer in your diagram so they can understand that it is customized to them – or at least to their industry.

Finally, be sure to make the numbers you use ones that you are highly confident your product can deliver. You do not want to be too aggressive and fall short of what you set as an expectation. Often, entrepreneurs are much too optimistic in claiming how beneficial their product is to customers. As a result, they sometimes are unable to meet expectations and lose credibility. It’s best to follow the platitude of, “underpromise, overdeliver.”


About Tom

Tom is a co-founder of The Center for New Enterprise Opportunity (NEO Center) - a small business incubator in Lansing. He believes that by helping entrepreneurs be more successful through education and investment, we enrich both the market itself and our community as a whole. You can follow him @TomforLansing

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