Obstacles to growing a business are not always monetary. Issues that restrict a company’s ability to grow are sometimes related to the wrong value proposition (i.e., focusing on your business offering, not on the customer’s needs). How do you know if you have the right value proposition that removes obstacles to growth? And if not, how do you get there?

Examine Your Point of View

Businesses often go to market focused on how special their offering is. How many times have you had conversations with business owners when they talk only about how important what they do is, instead of talking about the benefits a customer gets from the business and how a customer feels about those benefits? Many websites reflect that “me” focus instead of customer/reader focus, too.

Last week I had breakfast with my friend Liz, who wrote a book called Prism of Value. It’s about viewing yourself through another’s eyes, if you will, and building a strong message to communicate your value – which boils down to the value for them.

“This concept is so obvious that no one gets it,” Liz said.

That simple statement really struck a chord with me. Does it resonate with you?

Look Through the Customer’s Prism

When you talk to potential customers about what you do, their inner dialogue is often, “So what?” You have to be able to answer that!

When we talk about “value,” there’s how you see the world and how the customer sees it. When you’re positioning your business solutions, do you think the customer wants to know the value for you or the value for them?

In order to remove obstacles to growth, you need to define how the customer should view your business and frame what you do to create value for them.

Your Value Proposition

A new edition of Steve Blank’s business classic, The Four Steps to the Epiphany, is being released in March. This book that started the Lean Start-up movement scraps the traditional product model of launching a business and instead offers a Customer Development model: find out who the customer is and whether the problem you’re solving is actually important to them.

That’s an important point for existing businesses, too, since business and revenue growth depend on retaining existing clients and getting new ones. Your company value proposition is central to your ability to tell a prospective client what it is you will actually do for them and the benefits they’ll get from your products or services. It’s a promise to the customer of the return on investment they will get from you.

Steps for Redefining Your Value Proposition

If you haven’t looked at your company’s value proposition recently, this would be a good time to do that. Does it clearly state:

  • What you do
  • Who you do it for
  • Why it matters

If not, this is an opportunity for a touch point with your stakeholders.

  • Ask your clients, “Why did you select us? What benefits do you get from working with our business?”
  • Ask your employees, “What makes us special? How do we demonstrate that in our work or product?”
  • Ask your suppliers, “What do we do that makes working with us a good partnership for you? How could we get better?”

Look for genuine feedback and use the different perspectives as a way to crystalize benefits to customers. Then strive for clarity – tighten up your message so you’re communicating the right value to your customers and potential customers. Once potential customers are hearing the value you bring to them, they won’t be asking, “So what?” They’ll be saying, “Let’s work together.”

Here’s a simple example of a customer-focused value proposition: “I want to help you eliminate obstacles to sales growth so that you can exceed your business goals.”


Are you having difficulty breaking through to the next level in revenue growth? Could you use an experienced, outside perspective to diagnose your sales issues and build a plan to address them?

Sometimes, you need a guide to find the right path forward.

Sales Growth Advisors provides outsourced sales leadership services for small and mid-sized businesses – so your sales engine runs the way it is supposed to.