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Fine-Tuning Your Small Business Value Proposition

Getting your business noticed can be challenging. To show your business stands head and shoulders above not only your smaller competitors but also the dominant players in your market, you need to differentiate yourself from the pack.

You may already be familiar with the concept of a “value proposition” — a fancy term for a short statement encapsulating why customers benefit from doing business with you. But even if you have one, it might not effectively differentiate you from your competitors or show the true value your business provides.

As a small business owner, you usually assume your value proposition should perform two key functions when it comes to the competition:

1. Show the value you provide that small competitors don’t.
2. Show the value you provide that large competitors don’t.

But, in reality, your value proposition should focus on just one thing: Showing the unique value you provide to your target customer. Period.

If you stray from that singular focus, you may invite unintended consequences. When comparing yourself to the competition, think about the potential downside of such a comparison: Most customers will immediately think to check with that competitor before buying from you. In this scenario, you’ll likely end up with a bidding war where price becomes the prevailing factor.

Take the example of New Day Computers, a business-to-business computer sales and service company owned by Tim Block. Tim is currently developing a value proposition. (Maybe we’ll help him select a better company name in another blog post). He already offers much of the same value as his main competitors, including:

– selection of leading brands
– competitive pricing
– consultation for complete office networking solutions
– live and in-person support

His old value proposition was “Great Computers. Great Service. Great Prices.” He soon realized the message had little substance and could be said by any of his competitors, and it was.

To find something of unique value to potential customers, Tim needed to dig a little deeper. He started by calling some of his closest customers to ask why they chose him over competitors—a practice we can’t recommend enough. After a few conversations, he found a common element: They could talk to real people with real knowledge any time they had questions.

With that information, Tim can craft a value proposition that highlights the uniqueness of his business and deficiencies of his competitors without naming them. He’s come up with a couple ideas:

– “Computer sales and service with help just a phone call away.”
– “Computer expertise from real computer experts—day or night.”

While Tim has a little wordsmithing ahead of him, he’s found a way to show value to his customers while highlighting a service competitors don’t provide.

Finding or creating a desired product/service offering for potential customers and reflecting it in your unique value proposition can be the difference between a customer considering your business and signing with your business.


About Business Owner’s Toolkit: With an emphasis on problem-solving dating back to 1995, Business Owner’s Toolkit™ ( offers more than 5,000 pages of free cost-cutting tips, step-by-step checklists, real-life case studies, startup advice, and business templates to small business owners and entrepreneurs. The site also offers a monthly newsletter, up-to-date news topics, and Ask Alice!, a column that closely follows industry trends and provides trusted advice to inquiring site visitors.

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