How To Discover Your Value Proposition

I recently wrote about how value propositions and elevator pitches can get in the way of progress. To be honest, I am a living case study of how this happens.

Just over one year ago, I started my company Performance Applied LLC to focus on empowering leaders and organizations to breakthrough barriers and inspire peak performance. As a new business owner, I was inundated with information and advice about marketing and entrepreneurship. I met with other entrepreneurs. I read a bunch of books. I checked out all of the resources available to new business owners. I also worked with coaches and mentors. My mission was simple: find the patterns that lead to success and apply what I learned to my business.

One pattern began to emerge: successful organizations have clarity and focus around their offering. The best organizations are very clear about why they exist and they can easily state their value proposition. But was that true?

Others seemed to think so.

So I tried to take this advice and apply it to my business. I set time aside to think about my value proposition. I studied other people's value propositions. I made several attempts to craft a value proposition. I even wrote down my value propositions, carried them with me, and looked at them daily.

But there was a problem.

The value propositions I wrote never felt right to me. They felt fake, confining, and stale. Even though I made several attempts over several months to discover my value proposition it continued to elude me. I couldn't get clear about the value my business created. To make matters worse, every attempt I made to craft my value proposition felt mechanistic, tiring, and weak.

I even started to feel a little depressed. How could I succeed if I was so unclear?

Something interesting emerged through my struggle. The more I worked on my value proposition the more I started to realize that it wasn't something that I could force. It was something that had to emerge and it emerged when I was active and productive. Whenever I coached someone, consulted, or taught I felt clear about my value. I felt good about what I was doing and others felt the value I created.

So this is what I learned.

Feeling your value proposition is more important than stating it. If you don't feel confident when you state your value proposition others won't believe it. Your inner game shows and it can make or break your business.

Questions:  So how do you feel about your value proposition? What steps are you taking to feel confident about the value you create?