Developing a Value Proposition Canvas
When an idea has been planted in your mind, it’s important to revisit your customers’ needs often to stay committed to their needs above your excitement! You can use this to interrogate the value of your idea and test your own assumptions.
The Value Proposition Canvas helps you do this and is made up of two parts – the customer profile and the value map. This tool tries to help you imagine how your customer would perceive the value (or otherwise) of what you are offering.
Sometimes it can help you to simplify your idea - “of all these features, THIS is one that really does what they need”. Other times it helps you realise that this solution might not be the right fit for this particular customer at this particular time.
1. Start with the customer profile
Hold the problem you think they have in your mind and write this in the form of the “jobs” or the tasks they are trying to do to move forward (e.g. get a new job). Zone in on the pains of your customer - the negative stuff that is acting as a barrier to getting this job done at all or making it difficult (e.g. the application form questions don’t let them get across their experience, they aren’t securing interviews).
Finally, jot down their gains – the positive things that would reduce the effects of those pains or remove them altogether (e.g. an application process that asked different questions, a way to talk to someone instead of relying on paper application).
2. Test your idea
Check your service against what the customer really needs. Start with the products and services that your value proposition builds on – what is on display in your ‘shop window’ to catch the eye of this customer (e.g. “Recruitment processes with a difference”.)
Move onto specifically outline the features of your service that act as pain relivers – how do they explicitly ease the pains you outlined for the customer? Lastly, outline the gains – the special value and benefits for your customer. Keep cross referencing each side to make clear connections between what matters to your customers and what you are offering.
3. Invite people to either challenge or validate your assumptions about them.
Put simply - ask them. Ask your potential customers if they think this would work for them and explicitly ask them where they see gaps or opportunities for it to be even better. Keep updating your canvas as you get more feedback until you are happy you’ve spoken to enough customers.