On a Business Model Canvas, the value proposition segment is the first part to attend to. In this segment, you answer the question, “what do you do in your business?” In another sense, why should customers choose your product/service over your competitors? There is a sense in which customer orientation becomes important in defining and developing a business` value proposition. That way, you will always be guaranteed of loyal customers because you put them first. Some Start-Ups fail to grow a loyal customer base because the business owners would possibly be suffering from the inventor’s dilemma. A perception where a business owner fails to see the need for change and improvement.

Luckily, there are tools for use in the event that a business owner decides to put his/her customers at the centre of his business growth strategy. In this article, I will focus on the empathy map as a tool for use in designing and developing your value proposition. With this, it will be easy to tell potential customers why they should choose you.

The Empathy Map

The empathy map can be defined as a business development tool which allows you to know your target audience a lot better. This tool ensures that you have a well-informed process of aligning your business strategy with your value proposition seeking to address customer`s wants, needs, feelings and goals. What a way to restructure your business as we transition into post-COVID19 lockdowns era. As a small business owner, the importance of thinking more about your end-user should be underscored. Therefore, to come up with a value proposition using the empathy map you can follow these steps…

Understand what your customer is thinking and feeling

Customer engagement is critical in gaining insights into this element. You should consider enquiring with your customer to find out on the things they are currently concerned about. This involves understanding their immediate fears which could be influencing their purchasing decisions.

It is critical that you find out if your customer is satisfied with your product/service. This will assist you in identifying the things your customer is concerned about with your product/service. You should ensure that your customer shares with you some of his/her dreams and aspirations.

Paying attention to these factors will shift your focus towards the emotional elements to your customer`s behaviours. With this insight, you can rest assured that you begin to think of ways to make your customers happy by understanding factors influencing your customer`s behaviour.

This brings us to the next element…

Identify what your customer is hearing?

You should find out if possible any information influencing your customer`s behaviour. This means enquiring on the messages and information about your trade and products/service they could be exposed to.

With the lockdowns activated, obviously customers are aware of disruptions in service provision in many sectors. Going through this step will assist you to ensure that part of your value proposition is communicating that your business will ensure for continued and improved service provision. In your business strategy, this means setting up efficient business and customer communication channels. Obviously, this goes way beyond just communicating your efficiency but identifying ways in which you can meet their most pressing need. Your innovative capacity then becomes critical and the beauty with the empathy map is that it takes you a step further…

What is your customer seeing (perception)?

Innovation is a critical factor in business. With this step, you would want to understand the environmental factors to your customer before you think of introducing your new or improved product/service.

Try to identify the ways in which your customer interacts with his/her environment. Quite often products/services are designed to suit either a private or public environment and each environment has its own demands and expectations. Durability is key for public environments while efficiency takes centre stage in most public environments.

 Now that you understand what your customer is exposed to and you have incorporated that in your value proposition…

Identify your customer`s challenges

Value in products/services is derived in their ability to assist a customer in overcoming a certain challenge they currently experience; this could stem from an unmet need. As a business owner, inquire with your customers on what challenges are they currently experiencing. You would want to border on enquiring with the customers on the factors hindering them from attaining their goals.

Their responses should give you some ideas to use in designing your product/service which you will present as your business`s value proposition. A good product should leave the customer satisfied and happy.

So, how can you find out ways to make your customer happy.

Search for your customer`s moments of joy

The best way to please your customers is giving them the thing they want, remember the customer is your king. You need to search for the things that your customers like in your product/services. Having found these, you would want to find out ways in which you can improve and amplify these factors in your product/service.

To amplify on the elements that satisfy your customer, try to match these with your customer`s perception of success and perfection. Your customer should also be able to share some of his goals both long- and short-term goals and these will guide you in developing your product/service as your business grows.


The value proposition is the segment in your business model, therefore, becomes an important element to help you define and design your product/service. Making use of the empathy map as laid out in this article will assist you in ensuring that the process of product/service design is customer-oriented. At the centre of this approach is having cutting edge customer communication and service channels.