When I was fishing on the commercial boats years ago your personal value proposition was simple. Either you caught a lot of fish or you didn’t get invited back. What’s the use of having someone take up space on the commercial fishing boats and not catching fish to produce income for the skipper and boat owner.
In changing times like these when prospective customers are feeling the financial pinch or in serious financial trouble, it’s important to look at your “value proposition” to see whether you are offering your prospective customers the best value they can find.
Let’s take a concrete example. With car owners trying to hang on to the cars for as long as possible, maintenance and repairs becomes important. But when you go to a business in the motor trade what certainty do you have that you are getting value for your money? Speak to most people and they will tell you of their personal stories where they feel cheated and robbed from dubious practices in the motor industry. One smart service garage owner has deliberately repositioned his business to cater for those car owners who need to make their money go further when they are getting their cars serviced or repaired. While other businesses have seen their turnovers drop by between 15 to 20%, this business owner’s business has increased by 20%.
Remember that the value proposition that you offer to customers is what is called “perceived value”. The value needs to be seen from the viewpoint of the customer. The prospective customer may not only be looking for a sharper price but also perceived quality, helpful and friendly service and peace of mind that the business is not out to rip them off but provide superior value.
Value is an important competitive driver, which is the value and quality of any product or service that has a superior or more favourable position than the businesses compared to it. Any small business needs to provide something better or different to its competitors at an acceptable price and must meet the customers standards or exceed their expectations.
Take a good look at what you are offering prospective customers to see if it would be worth your while to change your value proposition. What is it that you are offering now and how are your customers speak expectations changing? A careful analysis might show you where value could provide better return on investment for your small business and turn on once-off customers into repeat buyers. Superior customer value is not motivated by altruistic reasons but by enlightened self interest.