Do I stand out?

Standing out of the competitors and the resulting value proposition is based on the perception of the unique differentiation factors of your product/service/skill. In other words, your own unique solution to a customer's problem and the benefits and added value it creates.

As a micro-entrepreneur, it is important to reflect on your own positioning in the market: what makes you unique as an entrepreneur and a business, and how can you further develop the required competence?

When uncertainty persists, resilience is required

I have heard the saying "Tough times never last, but tough people do". In this context, toughness is probably not purposed to mean 'cold and cynical people who have been totally hardened by life'. Rather, it is about individuals who, through life's lessons and their own strong vision, have grown and strengthened mentally and learned to look beyond the present to the future with optimism and courage. In other words, they are people with strong resilience. That also sounds like a description of an entrepreneur. Not to say that the last three corona years have not prompted the legitimate observation that 'tough times' can last too. As the exceptional times continue, it is important to recognize and further clarify your own unique differentiation factors and to strengthen and maintain your skills. The value proposition created by expertise should be highlighted in a targeted way to your ideal customer base.

Your unique differentiation factor sets you apart from my competitors

The ongoing Tolerance project in Central Finland aims to support and enable entrepreneurs in change through training called Healthy Entrepreneur, Healthy Company, among other means. At the core of the training are the well-being of the entrepreneur and the company. Those are strengthened through foresight, competence development and clarification of the entrepreneur's own vision and goals. In other words, a prosperous entrepreneur who is clear about their skills and goals creates a prosperous and profitable business.

As part of the training the uniqueness of the service/product/activity, i.e. the differentiation factors are considered. The Finnish mentality has traditionally been associated with overemphasized modesty: "I only do a little something like this", even if it is an ingenious invention or implementation. This was also reflected upon in one of the training sessions and broken down by clarifying and encouraging the value of doing one's own thing.

In the workshop, we reflected together on:
• What makes me and my product/service different/unique?
• What am I particularly good at?
• What makes my product unique?
• Why people choose my service or product?

When you know who you're targeting, it's easier to market and sell

Clarifying your differentiation factor - and your customer base - also makes marketing and sales clearer and easier. When it is clear to you why your product/service is unique and really solves your customer's problems, it is easier to sell. I would venture to suggest that clarity is the "currency of the future". Discussions have shown that customers appreciate and understand the value of an entrepreneur's skills and work in different ways. If an entrepreneur has a choice, it is natural to choose customers who see the value of the product or service. One can speak of a niche, i.e. a well-defined market niche where there is not yet much competition.

Competence is built on experience and competence development

Brightening up your own competence edge requires strong experience and expertise, built up over years of hard work. In addition, the new normal and the uncertainties of the world require the development of one's skills and the ability to anticipate the future. The entrepreneur's knowledge capital is therefore one of the most important competitive factors in today's change. I would therefore suggest a slightly modified version of the original saying at the end: 'Tough times may last long, but tough (=resilient) people last longer.'

Stand out and convince - 6 steps to creating a value proposition - Digimoguli

Lee, J., & Wang, J. (2017). Developing entrepreneurial resilience: Implications for human resource development. European journal of training and development, 41(6), 519-539.

Santeri Halonen, Doctoral Researcher, MicroENTRE®, University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute

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