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How to Craft a Winning Value Proposition

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The business landscape is perpetually shifting, but the basic fundamentals of business rarely change.

Whether your company is a scrappy startup or an international juggernaut, it needs to find a way to consistently provide value to customers – and just as important, it needs to communicate that message succinctly and effortlessly.

At the foundation of these efforts exists the value proposition, a deceptively simple set of key messages that serve as an anchor for all sales and communications efforts for an overall brand or a specific offering.

Crafting the Value Proposition

Today’s infographic comes to us from Quick Sprout, and it covers the steps in establishing and communicating an effective value proposition that can help differentiate you from your competitors.

How to Craft a Winning Value Proposition

A quality value proposition is clear, easy to understand, and communicates the specific results a customer will get. It also must explain how the product or brand is different and better than competing ways to solve the same problem (i.e. competitors, legacy processes).

Nailing these criteria helps to create an effective foundation for all sales and marketing efforts, and it can also provide a useful compass for guiding any future messaging.

Discovering Value

While the concept behind a value proposition is pretty simple, that doesn’t make coming up with one a simple task.

There are literally millions of companies in the world, and likely tens of thousands that do something similar to your company. How do you stand apart from these competitors? How do you clearly articulate the value that you can provide?

One suggestion is to look at the customer experience methodically, and to fill out an exercise similar to this one created by digital brand strategist Peter Thomson:

Value proposition canvas

As Peter skillfully articulates, a value proposition is the intersection between what you make and why people buy it. This intersection is what connects business strategy and brand strategy.

Articulating Value

What good is discovering value if it can’t be articulated clearly and concisely?

After you’ve explored the customer experience, here’s a way to put it into words:

1. Identify customer benefits
Make a list of all benefits you offer to your customers

2. Link benefits to value offering
Identify what value your products bring to your customer

3. Differentiate and position yourself
Make it clear who the target customer is, what you offer to them, and how you are different

Using these points, a winning value proposition can be crafted – and if it’s something that is being shown online (i.e. landing page, product page) it may make sense to include the following elements: a headline, a subheadline or paragraph, three bullet points, and a visual element.

The Tactics

Finally, here are some tactics that are relied on to further the effectiveness of the value prop:

Tactics for developing effective value props% Use
Clearly explain the value of products and services71%
Clearly explain why the ideal customer should choose your solution56%
Develop unique value props for separate products or services52%
Target specific value props for specific buyer personas45%
Competitive research40%
Testing value props through various media20%

What other tactics do you use to craft a compelling message about your company or product?

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Technology

Tech’s Bizarre Beginnings & Lucrative Pivots

By embracing uncertainty and making timely pivots, we visualize the bizarre origin stories of the most successful tech companies today.

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Tech’s Bizarre Beginnings & Lucrative Pivots

When you’re building something great, things are bound to get messy.

As many as 80-90% of startups fold and those left standing also fail, repeatedly. Rarely does a business take a straight run at success, and that includes the likes of Apple, Facebook, and their fellow tech giants.

Product lines can come to a screeching halt. Ideas can be stolen. And, yes, even geniuses like Steve Jobs get forced out. But by embracing uncertainty and making timely pivots, the tech companies in the infographic above have become some of the most influential—and valuable—organizations on the planet.

Let’s take a closer look at some of tech’s intriguing beginnings and lucrative pivots.

Samsung’s Evolution from Fish to Phones

Samsung spent much of the 1950s and 1960s testing market waters. The South Korean company tried everything from insurance to textiles, and most oddly, trading dehydrated fish.

Following its experimental phase, Samsung released its first consumer electronic product in 1970—a black-and-white television.

After making a name for itself with TVs, Samsung entered the telecommunications hardware sector in 1980 by way of acquisition. Its product diversification strategy was a successful one. Samsung went on to gain international prominence throughout the 1990s and restructured in 1993 to focus on electronics, chemicals, and engineering.

  • Today, Samsung is worth more than $275 billion.
  • It has the second-largest market share of smartphone sales in North America, behind Apple.

Facebook Ratings to Friend Requests

Thanks to movies like “The Social Network”, Facebook’s origin story has been hotly discussed.

“Facemash” was developed in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room, as a platform that compared and rated pictures of coeds. When it pivoted from rating coeds to connecting coeds, “TheFacebook” quickly took off across Harvard and spread across the university ecosystem.

  • In 2012, Facebook became the first social network to reach 1 billion users.
  • It now boasts more than 2.7 billion users across the planet.
  • In total, the company has more than 3.14 billion account holders across its platforms, which include acquired companies like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

— Henry Ford

About Them Apples: Mac Starts with Schools

From the jump, Apple was strategic.

To open up the market for personal computers, Steve Jobs (Apple’s now legendary co-founder), personally lobbied multiple levels of government to increase tax incentives for companies that donate to schools—a remarkable undertaking for a scrappy startup.

After his federal lobbying fell through, Jobs was successful in the state of California. By initially focusing on education—and giving their computers away for free to the California school system—Apple amassed a potential user base and claimed mindshare.

“… for about $1 million, Apple put an apple in every elementary, middle, and high school in California.”

— Hacker Education

Today, an Apple computer is the go-to tool of the creative class. In 2018 alone, the company sold 18.21 million Mac computers. By early 2020, there were 1.5 billion active iPhone devices, and by the end of August 2020, Apple was worth more than $2 trillion.

Apple proves that even with a solid strategy and excellent products, the corporate machine can still veer out of control. Jobs was famously forced out of the company in 1985.

In his absence, ventures backfired. After his return in 1997—and the subsequent introduction of the iPod—Apple went on to become one of the most lucrative tech companies in the world.

Tech company revenues

Sony Sticks to Electronics

Sony’s brand name has long been synonymous with quality—but its first electronic product didn’t make it to market.

After WWII, Sony wanted to make a rice cooker to serve post-war Japan, so the company developed a simple wooden rice cooker with electrodes attached. Due to inconsistent electrical power throughout the country, the project was shelved.

Sony, however, stuck to electronics. After establishing its brand name with TVs, Sony branched out into gaming and is now the largest video game console manufacturer and game publisher.

  • As of 2020, its global revenue neared $77 billion.
  • The company brings in 26.7% of sales from game and network services.
  • Meanwhile, nearly $4.5 billion in revenue stems from its mobile communications segment.

YouTube’s Dating Game

Gen Z has become the first generation to watch more YouTube than TV. But when YouTube was founded in 2005, it was a bit more akin to Tinder.

Back when video dating was still a thing, YouTube aimed to take the experience online. The company even went so far as to offer women money to upload videos. However, the idea didn’t click. YouTube’s co-founders decided to release a platform that would allow for any video type—and from there, sparks flew.

  • YouTube was acquired by Google in 2006 for $1.7 billion.
  • By 2019, it had more than 1.68 billion users worldwide.

“If you’re competition-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”

— Jeff Bezos

Twitter Ditches Talk for Type

For the platform known for a deluge of words and character-count limits, it may be a surprise that Twitter was meant to be a podcasting platform called “Odeo”.

When Apple announced its entry into the podcasting world, the team realized they couldn’t compete. Instead, Odeo turned to its engineering manager Jack Dorsey to pivot the company into his side project, now known as Twitter. Although original Odeo investors weren’t happy with the move, the strategy proved successful.

  • In 2019, Twitter raked in $3.46 billion in revenue.
  • It averages 150 million daily users.
  • Twitter collected advertising revenue of nearly $3 billion in 2019.
  • It was valued at nearly $35 billion in 2020.

Rubber Boots to Phones: Nokia’s Puzzling Pivot

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Nokia made a very different kind of product—rubber boots. The Kontio product line was successful, but in the early 1990s, the company pivoted to focus on mobile connectivity and hardware.

Released in 2003 and 2005, the Nokia 1100 and 1110 still hold the record for the world’s most popular phones, with more than 250 million units sold of each.

Although Android and iPhone have sped past Nokia as smartphone manufacturers, Nokia is still worth about $24 billion. While its phones were incredibly popular, the pivot took a financial toll, and the company’s mobile and services division was acquired by Microsoft in 2013.

Shopify Rides into Sales

Frustrated with the online sales experience, the founders of Snowdevil—a Canadian secondhand snowboard shop—decided to create their own online experience. Instead of their gear taking off, it was their platform that caught wind with consumers, and the team knew they were on to something.

In the span of two years, 2004-2006, Snowdevil became Shopify. Less than a decade later, it went public in 2015.

  • Today, Shopify claims 20% of global market share among ecommerce platforms.
  • It has more than 800,000 online sellers using the platform.

Nintendo Games Span Centuries

When it comes to gaming, Nintendo has more than 150 years of experience to draw from.

Beginning with hand-painted cards in the 1800s, Nintendo sold cards for multiple games, including gambling. Their nature-inspired and cartoon-like style was carried into the 20th century when Nintendo partnered with Disney to create playing cards.

Like other tech companies, Nintendo has ventured into some unusual markets over the years, including ramen noodles.

However, its primary focus has remained on games. In 1985, Nintendo released what would become the world’s most popular video game, Super Mario Bros—which has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

The Winding Road to Success

Silicon Valley’s “fail fast” philosophy—pressure testing and pivoting—can be a lucrative, albeit grueling, one.

It’s an adaptive strategy that isn’t relegated to tech companies alone. Pivots large and small are often a key part of any company’s evolution, from products and services to marketing strategies.

Beyond bizarre beginnings and pivots, if there’s one thing successful companies have in common, it’s the audacity to evolve.

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Technology

Mapped: The Top Female Founder in Each Country

Who are the leading female founders worldwide? From Brazil to Singapore, we show the global landscape of companies with women at the helm.

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Mapped: The Top Female Founder in Each Country

View the high resolution of this infographic by clicking here.

Companies with at least one female founder generate 78 cents of revenue for every dollar of venture funding, while male-led startups generate roughly 31 cents.

Yet, startups with only female founders receive just 3% of total invested dollars globally.

The above infographic from Business Financing explores the global landscape of female-led startups. It shows the top female founders according to the highest amount of capital raised, in each country profiled.

Global Rankings: The Top 10 Female Founders

Which female founders have received the most funding worldwide?

Based on data from Crunchbase, individuals were selected across 102 countries if they were a founder or co-founder of an active company as of May 21, 2020. Companies were selected depending on their status in seed, early stage venture, or late stage venture funding.

With $22 billion in funding, Lucy Peng, co-founder of Ant Group and Alibaba tops the list. Peng taught economics for five years before co-founding Alibaba with 18 others in 1999. Today, she is worth over $1 billion.

Peng’s 2.1% stake in Ant Group is estimated to be worth roughly $4.8 billion. Ant Group filed for an IPO worth an estimated $225 billion valuation in August 2020.

Female FounderFundingCompanyIndustryCountry
Lucy Peng$22BAnt FinancialChina
Rebekah Neumann$19.5BThe We CompanyReal EstateU.S.
Tan Hooi Ling$9.9BGrabTransportationSingapore
Kate Keenan$1.4BJudo BankFinTechAustralia
Victoria van Lennep$1.2BLendableFinTechUnited Kingdom
Cristina Junqueira$1.1BNubankFinTechBrazil
Frances Kang$581MWeLabFinTechHong Kong
Sophie Kim$282MMarket KurlyAgro & FoodSouth Korea
Ilise Lombardo$278MArvelle TherapeuticsBiotech & HealthSwitzerland
Milda Mitkute$260MVintedEcommerceLithuania

Following Peng is Rebekah Neumann, who has raised $19.5 billion with The We Company. Neumann studied business with a minor in Buddhism at Cornell, and later co-founded the gig-focused firm in 2010 with her husband Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey. Following the notoriously disastrous IPO of WeWork, she and her husband have since left the company.

Coming in third is Tan Hooi Ling who founded Grab in Singapore. The ride-hailing app is a major competitor of Uber in Asian markets.

Cristina Junqueira, who co-founded digital banking firm NuBank, also makes it into the top 10 list. Currently, NuBank operates as the largest fintech firm in South America, with over 20 million users. Meanwhile, Lithuania’s first tech unicorn, Vinted was co-founded by Milda Mitkute and serves as the largest secondhand clothing platform worldwide.

Unicorns Bucking the Trend

While funding for female-led startups has been disproportionately low over the years, the number of unicorns—private companies valued in excess of $1 billion—headed by women has grown over fivefold.

Since 2013, women-led unicorns have jumped from just four to 21 in 2019. While these numbers are still objectively quite small, they continue to climb.

Among the newly minted unicorns in 2019 was Airwallex, a company that allows businesses to track cross-border revenues. In April, the startup raised $160 million, valuing it at $1.8 billion.

Along with Airwallex, Scale, Glossier and The RealReal are also found on the list.

New Waves of Venture Capital

In 2019, 2,300 venture deal rounds included startups with at least one female founder. Of these, a number of startups raised over $100 million in funding in 2019 on a worldwide level.

StartupFunding AmountCountry
Guild Education$157 millionU.S.
Luckin Coffee$150 millionChina
Northern Arc$130 millionIndia
Kuaikan Manhua$125 millionChina
SpringWorks Therapeutics$125 millionU.S.
Rent the Runway$125 millionU.S.
Genera Energy$118 millionU.S.
Tala$110 millionU.S.
Kronos Bio$105 millionU.S.
Insitro$100 millionU.S.
Talaris$100 millionU.S.
Away$100 millionU.S.
Glossier$100 millionU.S.

Interestingly, funding data shows that women VCs are three times more likely than men to invest in women. This, coupled with the growing number of female partners at venture capital firms, is bringing a new perspective to tech financing.

At the same time, it’s opening up new markets. For instance, the $57 billion child care industry is largely overlooked by the VC world. San Francisco-based Winnie raised $9 million in funding in 2019, capitalizing on a marketplace specifically for parents.

Consumer products and markets focusing on solutions for women present areas of significant growth, particularly on a global level.

What’s Next For Female Founders?

While just a fraction of all venture funding is allocated to women-led companies, trends illustrate clear resilience.

Female-founded firms continually outperform—and shareholder returns are only getting better every year. As both startup and venture capital ecosystems continue to evolve, the future of women-led entrepreneurship is as bright as ever.

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