Your value proposition forms the core of your business model. Without a value proposition, it is impossible to know if and how your business will make money, which partners you need, the nature of your key operations, and how you will acquire and retain customers. The purpose of this workbook is to help you through the process of crafting a value proposition for your business.
Download and use this workbook to:
- Understand the value proposition creation process
- Test your target customer assumptions
- Describe your product vision
- Create and test the minimum viable product
- Develop a value proposition statement
First 3 Pages
Fundamentals of Entrepreneurial Management
Crafting Your Value Proposition
MaRS – Fundamentals of Entrepreneurial Management Series
Introduction: Crafting a value proposition
Whether you have an idea and would like to start a business or you already have a business and want to know how to accelerate growth, the first significant building blocks for any business are to craft a strong value proposition and a sustainable business model. These two elements depend on one another.
Workbook 1: Crafting Your Value Proposition
This workbook is the first in a series of two workbook guides that address the fundamentals of business strategy for startups.
• Workbook 1: Crafting Your Value Proposition
• Workbook 2: Business Model Design
Although the learning material is spread over two workbooks, you can consider them as two
parts of a whole.
The workbooks have been developed specifically for early-stage startups, and they address
the key issues that entrepreneurs and their teams face. The following guidelines were key in
developing this material:
• The information is based on solid practices and methodology
• The workbooks are not about reading——they are about doing
• Speed and momentum are essential for startups
Who should use this workbook?
This workbook guide is created for people with a business idea—you might have started product development, some customers might have expressed interest and you might already have a few customers or users of your product.
The frameworks, practices and processes described in this workbook series work for early-
stage startups as well as new ventures within larger organizations. If your idea is in the life
sciences, military technology or any other highly regulated industry, then this workbook guide is not for you. The practices and key market assumptions that underpin this workbook are more applicable to new ventures operating under normal market forces.
For the purposes of this workbook, we assume that your technology works—or can work once you spend some engineering time on it. If that is not the case (e.g., you are working on a new chemical product, but for some reason the material is not stable), then you have a problem with the invention itself. This type of “invention problem” must be resolved before this workbook can aid you with reaching your value proposition.
The activities in this workbook are applicable once you have validated your technology. Its focus is on maximizing opportunity and reducing commercial risk by identifying and validating the underpinnings of a sustainable business model.
How to use these workbooks
1. Make it a team exercise
We recommend that entrepreneurs work with their team and advisors when going through the steps of this workbook. Doing so will ensure that together you develop a common understanding of where you are, the direction in which you are heading and the process of how to get there. Fundamentally, the issues addressed in these workbooks should not be explored by a single person or department in isolation—they should be a shared responsibility and experience.
2. Record and test your assumptions
When documenting the work in the workbook activities, establish a format that suits your
working style and is not too labour-intensive. Overall, we recommend that documentation be done in such a way that it does not slow the process. One such method would be to use a slide deck—a PowerPoint template accompanies this workbook for this purpose. The presentation format lends itself to documenting your plans and progress through shorter phrases and bullet points, and we recommend that format since much of what you write will be changed, clarified or expanded over time.
3. Use the icons for help
The MaRS workbooks are created under the assumption that you have little or no experience as an entrepreneur and the topics covered in this workbook. To help provide context for some of the ideas in these workbooks, we have clarified them by defining key terms and offering real-world examples. In addition, we have provided links to articles provided by MaRS through the Entrepreneur’s Toolkit. For this reason, you may find it easiest to use these workbooks on a computer with an Internet connection.
Look for these icons:
denotes a key industry term that will recur in these workbooks
indicates an example drawn from a real-world business in order to illustrate an
denotes a link to a more in-depth online article
appears wherever you are asked to record something while completing the activities