How to Create Your Unique Value Proposition (and why it matters)

Last Wednesday I went to a networking event and came away with two great connections! Yes, two great connections makes me very happy.

It wasn’t always that way.

I used to come away with a pile of business cards but not a single prospect. It was easy to blame the crowd but finally I realized the problem was me. I wasn’t clearly stating who I was and how I could uniquely fill a need.

How could I expect anyone to want to work with me, or refer me to someone who would, if I couldn’t tell them what I offer?

What I was missing was my Unique Value Proposition.

We each have a unique value and a UVP statement makes it easy for anyone to understand what we bring to the table.

Before we dig into creating your UVP, let’s bust a couple myths.

  1. Abundance vs. Scarcity
    Are you afraid you won’t get enough work if you are too specific?

    When we work on UVPs at the Nonprofit Consultants Institute we hear concerns about not getting enough work. So let’s get one thing clear:

    There’s plenty of work out there.

    In fact, none of us could handle all the work available. Plus not every client’s personality and organizational culture will be a good fit. So there is room for you!

  2. Competition vs. Colleagues
    Do you worry about too much competition?

    Instead of seeing other consultants as competitors, think of them as colleagues. Building a community of nonprofit specialists makes you more appealing.

    Your colleagues become part of your network. They know you fill a niche and you become the go-to person for that unique service or a potential partner who can help them get bigger, more complex engagements.

Creating Your UVP
Your Unique Value Proposition states what you have to offer and, most importantly, how an organization will benefit from working with you.

It quickly answers the question, “why should I choose you?

At the Nonprofit Consultants Institute we do a little soul searching first. You can try it – reflect on your unique combination of life and work experiences – knowledge, attitudes, outlook, values, intuitions, approaches to work, genetic history, general philosophy etc. They make you uniquely who you are and may influence how you work and why someone may want to work with you.

Now that you are ready to start, follow these steps to write your UVP:

  1. Start with a general description of your services. Just write down what you do.
  2. Now rewrite each of your services as a benefit. How would you help a nonprofit organization?
  3. Review what you’ve written, this time eliminate any jargon or shop-talk, you want everybody to understand what you do. (At your next networking event, you want to make those connections.)
  4. Finally, turn it into one great sentence. Be specific and precise!

If you are new to consulting – just starting out or changing careers – discovering your UVP will give you confidence and hope. If you have experience, it’s an opportunity to distill all you’ve done in your career (and life) for a greater understanding of the value you bring to the marketplace.

Your Special Contribution to the Nonprofit Community
Knowing your UVP will help you build a successful business. But it can do more than that. Chances are you are like me, you choose to work with nonprofits because you care. You want to make a difference.

Good news! Understanding and owning your UVP is the foundation of your business and informs every aspect of your work – it will make you successful, collegial and positive. It will fill your work with meaning by harnessing all you are (and have been) and putting that into service for the greater good.

That’s a win-win!

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