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Definitive guide: How to fill in the Value Proposition Canvas?

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Sep 23, 2021 11:39:56 AM
Value Proposition Canvas

What is a business without customers? A failed project. Having a competitive advantage gives companies a unique value, which allows them to stand out in today's saturated market. Especially those that have understood that their business model must be customer driven. The question is: do you understand your customers, do you know what they are looking for, what they need, what frustrates them and what makes them happy?

Here is the following tool that will help you answer all these questions.


  • Value Proposition Canvas
  • Do you identify with...?
  • It will help you with...
  • Guide to using Canvas

Value Proposition Canvas

Value Proposition Canvas (VPC) is a graphical tool created by the Strategyzer team, which allows the value proposition of your business to become visible and tangible, therefore easier to create and manage. The Value Proposition Canvas was designed to complement the Business Model Canvas (BMC) created by the same team. BMC is a tool that helps you design a sustainable and scalable business model, and once you have that part ready, you need to analyze in more detail what your customers need. This is done by thoroughly analyzing two of the blocks of the BMC: Market segments and Value proposition.

Market segments refer to the people or organizations that are potential customers and the value proposition are the products or services you offer to those segments. The objective is that the value proposition solves the problems experienced by your potential customers.

Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas

If you want to understand more about what a business model is, the 9 blocks of the tool, what the BMC is for and how to fill in the Canvas, I invite you to read the following blog: Build a Business Model Canvas step by step.

Do you identify with...?

According to Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Greg Bernarda, and Alan Smith (2014) in the book "Value Proposition Design", they state that if you have been in any (or all) of the following situations when trying to create a value proposition for your business, you will love what the Value Proposition Canvas tool offers.

  • The task of creating value seems overwhelming.
  • You feel you might be pursuing the wrong tasks.
  • It is difficult to learn what consumers really want.
  • You get frustrated with unproductive meetings and poorly aligned teams.
  • The team does not work with defined processes and tools.
  • You've been involved in audacious projects that didn't work and ended up being a waste of money.
  • The failure of a good idea has let you down.

If this has been the case for you, it is worth reading more about the Value Proposition Canvas and how it will help you avoid going through these situations again.

It will help you with...

Leaving behind the bad scenarios with failed projects and frustrations, I will mention how the Canvas could help you to deliver value to the customer.

  • Arrange information in a simple and clear way, resulting in the visualisation of patterns. This way you can create effective business models and value propositions that truly solve customer problems.
  • Alignment in the team, with well-defined processes and tools the organisation will speak the same language, allowing for more productive meetings.
  • Avoid wasting time with ideas that won't work, as you will gradually test hypotheses and refine the proposal, thus reducing the risk of failure.

Guide to using Canvas

Value Proposition Canvas

Let's start on the right side of the canvas: the customer profile. Here you will need to refresh what you put under "market segments" in your Business Model Canvas, as you will be delving into the desires and frustrations of your potential customers. Remember that consumers are people, some impulsive and others more cautious, different ages, genders, lifestyles and so on, so you need to be very clear about who your buyer personas are. It is important to clarify, you must design a Value Proposition Canvas for each of the segments.

1. Jobs to be done: Refers to the customer's tasks or goals, whether in their work or daily life.

It includes tasks the customer is trying to complete, problems to be solved or needs to be satisfied. These may be functional, social, or emotional.

  • Functional: Refers to specific jobs such as decorating a room, mowing the lawn or hanging a portrait.
  • Social: Describes tasks related to the perception of other people, for example, having a trendy handbag to reflect oneself as a fashionable person.
  • Emotional: Relates to feeling a specific emotion, such as security, peace, or happiness.

2. Gains: In short, what makes the customer happy. Describes what the customer wants to achieve and expects to receive.

Some gains are required, expected, or desired, but there are also benefits that surprise customers.

  • Required are those that are mandatory, without that gain the solution does not work, for example, if you buy colored pencils, you assume that you will be able to color the drawings.
  • Expected gains are basic benefits that the customer expects, but without them the customer would still provide value, such as the design of a product.
  • The desired gain goes beyond what the customer expects, i.e., it is not something basic to the proposition, but they would love to have it.
  • Finally, the gain that the customer does not expect goes beyond the basics and desired by the customer, a feature that the customer had not thought of and takes them by surprise.

3. Pains: Pains and frustrations of the client in trying to complete their tasks and impediments that make it difficult for their Jobs to be done.

This can include the consequences of doing their job badly or not completing it at all. Moreover, pains follow the same logic as tasks, they can be functional, social, or emotional. "The supposed solution doesn't work", "I look bad doing this" or "I feel bad doing this".

Once you have completed the client's tasks, gains, and pains, you should analyze the level of importance of each. Tasks can range from important to insignificant, gains can be essential or a simple "nice to have" and pains can range from extreme to moderate.

Now let's move to the left side of the canvas: value map. Here you will need to refresh what you put under "value proposition" in your Business Model Canvas, as you will analyze what your product or service offers to the customer profile described above.

4. Products & services: The list of products and services you offer as a value proposition. That proposition should help the customer to complete functional, social, or emotional tasks.

The value proposition can be:

  • Tangible: manufactured products such as a mobile phone, a table, a lamp...
  • Intangible: such as advisory services, customer service...
  • Digital: online products or services.
  • Financial: such as investment funds, insurance, financing...

5. Pain relievers: Refers to how your value proposition alleviates your customers' pains, frustrations, or impediments.

6. Gain creators: Relates to how your proposition generates benefits for your customers.

Here you should describe how your products and services deliver required, expected, or desired gains. Likewise, you should not respond to every customer desire, but concentrate on the most relevant ones.

Once you have analyzed your value proposition, pain relievers and profit creators, you should analyze the level of importance of each, as they can range from essential to a simple "it would be nice to have them".

Now, remember that the goal is for the value proposition to solve the problems experienced by your potential customers, and this is achieved by achieving harmony between the two parts of the Value Proposition Canvas: customer profile and value map.

You know you've achieved it when customers are excited by your value proposition because it answers their need, facilitates their tasks, relieves their pain, and creates significant benefits.

Therefore, once you have completed the canvas you should review each of the pain relievers and gain creators and make sure that they respond to a pain and benefit expected by the customer, if any are left out it is probably because they do not add value.



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