by Craig Shimasaki
What is a Value Proposition? It is NOT how the science or technology works. Moreover, it is NOT the neat things the science or technology can do. It is how your product fulfills the acute needs of the customer; it is the way your product solves a problem for its customers--the more acute the customer’s need, the greater the market will be for your product. Believe it or not, there are great innovative product ideas that have no customers! Take for instance the 8-track tape player, which is still an innovative idea--it provides the ability to select and play 8 different tracks with just the push of a button. Today, these relics are merely collectors items because the “need” of today’s listeners is instant access to any song, virtually thousands, while on an airplane, jogging, or at work (vis-à-vis the iPod) with little or no encumbrances. Listening to a mere 8 tracks of 1 recording artist only in your car or home while lugging bulky equipment and bulky tapes is not a solution to today’s music listener’s “problems”. The science and technology of your product may be innovative, but how compelling is its solution to a problem? Does your future product fulfill a real market need or is it irrelevant because it solves a problem that is not important to any group of future customers?
The Takeaway Tidbit
A Product's Value Proposition is One of the Most Critical Elements Any Entrepreneur Should Know!!
Successful entrepreneurs clearly understand the market need for their product. They have a compelling value proposition that attracts investors and assures that once the product reaches commercialization there will be customers wanting to buy it. Make sure your product idea has a compelling value proposition and emphasize this in your business plan. Entrepreneurs often become myopic and fall in love with their technology but fail to pay enough attention to their product market. Remember, you are not selling science; you are selling an innovative product that uniquely meets a set of customer needs. Yes, the technology and science are critical but without a market need for a product and a compelling value proposition, no enterprise will be successful.