Proposition and purpose: what do you do for your customers?

Your proposition: how you make a difference to the lives of your customer

What  description do you offer to the world of you and your business? Your proposition should describe not simply what you are but what you do for your customer.

Consider what you are versus what you do.

When someone asks you what you do, what do you reply? Something similar to;

I’m an accountant.

I’m a physio.

I’m a photographer.

Do you tell them what you are rather than what you do? If so, how is this working for you? Are people interested in hearing more about what you do?

Arouse interest in your proposition

To make a connection with a potential customer or contact it helps to be able to quickly arouse their interest. Sum up in a few words how what you do can make a difference to their lives. In terms they can understand (no jargon). Try articulating the results that they value, but without exaggeration.

Take the label accountant: nothing wrong with the description but perhaps open to interpretation. To some people accountant may mean “bean-counter” (rude I know), to others it may mean Finance Director. It’s not what you are that counts it’s what you do that interests people. Ensure it is in terms they can understand and that they value.

For example, compare these statements. Who would you prefer to continue talking to?

I’m an accountant. I submit client’s CT600 forms to HMRC.

 I run a successful accountancy practice. One of the things I do is complete accurate and timely company tax returns for small business clients, so you pay just the right amount of tax and won’t be hit with late filing penalties.

Or how about this one;

I’m a physiotherapist. I mobilise joints, undertake soft tissue treatment and specialise in electrotherapy.

 I own a thriving physiotherapist practice. When you’ve sustained an injury or had surgery I help you make a quick recovery, prevent a recurrence and keep you active into the future.


I’m a photographer. I do family portraits, weddings and special occasions.

 I’m a photographer. I produce high quality pictures which capture the essence of you and your loved ones, help celebrate your special occasion and provide you with exquisite, lasting memories.


Your proposition should be important to your customer and you

Once you know how you make a difference to the lives of your customer you can articulate what you do, for them.

You know which valuable problem you are solving or benefit you are delivering for your customers. This is why you are in business.

This purpose should also resonate with you, not just your customers. It should be something you feel good about and ideally enjoy making a living at.

This expression of how you make a difference to the lives of your customer forms the core of your purpose and your marketing proposition.


So next time someone asks you what you do, what will you reply?


Suggested Action: Write a single sentence which sums up what you do, for whom and which includes how this is of benefit to your customer.


To get you started here are a couple of straightforward templates and my own examples.


Who (your target customer), why (their problem/need), what (your service), which means (benefit/value to customer).

For owners of small service businesses who are struggling to find the time and techniques to make your marketing work, my Making your Marketing Happen Service shows you how to generate regular effective marketing activities for a stream of new sales enquiries.


Who (your target customer), gain (benefit/value), how (what you do), why (their problem/need).

 I help owners of small service businesses develop a stream of new sales enquiries by showing you how to generate effective marketing activities in the limited time you have available.

[Tip: I like to use “you” when developing these descriptions in order to make a little “eye-contact” with the reader/listener.]


What other examples of good business descriptions/propositions have you come across? Please leave them in the comments section so I can compile a list to share.

For more help have a look at my resources page or download my Accomplish Quick Guide to Marketing

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