Dear M & M: What is a value proposition and why does everyone keep saying I need one? –Jack

Dear Jack: Many say a value proposition is the single most important thing every business should have. A very important part is that your proposition includes the second part that most do not pay attention to.

The first part is your offer. What are you telling people you can do? The second part is, do people actually believe you can fulfill this promise? Somewhere in the middle you have to understand does anyone care? Why would they buy from you? Do you have a meaningful advantage over other people selling similar products or services? Do you have a better mousetrap?

Always on the back of your mind are there enough customers ready, willing and able to buy. Can you make enough money to compensate for your efforts and pay the bills to cover the expenses in doing it?

One can see it never is that simple. There are always more questions to ask. Here are some examples of some great value propositions. Ubar — The smartest way to get around. Slack — To be more productive at work with less effort. Digit — To save money without thinking about it. Less Accounting — Bookkeeping without the hassle.

Most dictionaries describe a value proposition as an innovation, service or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers.

When it starts working is when people actually believe you can do what you say you can do and that you are the better mousetrap.

Take a good look at your company. What is your value proposition?

Source: Wordstream Online Marketing

ASK M&M is prepared and submitted by Mark Schmitt, director of the Small Business Development Center at Cochise College; and Mignonne Hollis, executive director at the Arizona Economic Development Foundation. To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Cochise College (520) 515-5478 or email schmittm@cochise.edu or contact the Arizona Regional’ Economic Development Foundation at (520) 458-6948 or email hollism@aredf.org; www.aredf.org.