A Complete Guide to Value Proposition Canvas

Every business relies on the needs of the customer. A successful business is one that can fulfill those needs. Most of the time people think of it as a tool to create new products and use it to find a market that befits it. This perception is not 100% true. The Value Proposition Canvas is also useful for products that have occupied the market for a long time. The Value Proposition Canvas was created as an alternative to Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas. While working on the Business Model Canvas template Osterwalder came to notice that people were unable to find a match between the customer segments and the value proposition for the brand. It was then that he developed other tools on the sidelines of the Business Model Canvas. This came to be known as Value Proposition Canvas template and could be used for determining that exact match.

Components of a Value Proposition Canvas

The Value Proposition Canvas is used when a business wants to launch a new product in the market or refine the offering made by the business for its existing product or service. The Value Proposition Canvas is built using the Customer Profile and the Value Proposition of the business.

Customer Profile

This part of the Value Proposition Canvas is targeted to define what the customer needs. All the benefits that the customer needs from the said product or service, what makes the customer happy, and what makes increase the chances of adopting a value proposition are termed as the Gains in a Customer Profile. The second part is the pains that lists out all the negativity that the customer comes up with while dealing with the said product or service. The third part is the Customer Jobs. Customer Jobs are the tasks the customer is trying to perform including social, emotional, and functional.

  • Customer Jobs: The goals that the customer wants to obtain or satisfy are termed as Customer Jobs in a Value Proposition Canvas. The jobs need to be related to the field of work of the business so as to be useful in the long run. A customer job could be anything specific to a broader concept that the customer has in mind. Example could be
    • What the customer needs to do to achieve his goal?
    • What are the tasks that the customer is trying to do to fulfil his desires?
  • Pains: This is the negativity that every customer has in mind whenever he/she goes to buy in a new product or a service. The thoughts that prevail in their mind and may even act as a hindrance to buying that product are collectively termed as pains. Example of pains could be
    1. Will it be costly to buy the product?
    2. Will the product last as long as it says?
    3. What if the product fails before its specified tenure?
    4. What are the annoyances of the customers towards a product or a service?
  • Gains: The benefits that a customer expects from the product or service the business is promoting or launching fall into the customer gains category. There can be gains that the customers will expect to have while there will also be those that the customer never expects but they just come along with the product or service due to some offering or discounts. Examples of gains could be:
    1. Savings that make the customer happy
    2. Level of quality
    3. Positive social consequence the customers may desire from the product or service
    4. The way the customers measure success
    5. What do they desire? Low price, less investment, lower level of peril or improved value?

Value Proposition

This is the second part of the VPC and deals with the Products and services offered by the business. Gains in the VPC highlight the way the product or service maps to the customers’ gains by offering benefits to the customer. On the other hand, pains are those factors that cause the customer to think of not purchasing the product or service. The section Pain Relievers deals with such pains and how to get rid of them. The third section Products and Services lists out all products and services which the business targets towards the customer. These products or services can cause gains or pains to the customer.

  • Products & Services: This is one of the easiest parts to deal with. The business lists out its products and services that it needs to launch and promote under this section. The products that work together to bring value to some specific product or service are also listed here. To be more specific a business can also add the different versions of a product or a service. Examples can be
    • Manufactured Products
    • After Sale Service
    • Music Downloads
    • Financing
    While adding products and services here, it is significant to note that not all products and services are that important to the business. They may just be there for a mention while there are others that will form the core of the value proposition.
  • Gain Creators if you are adding products and services to the VPC, you are bound to have some gains and some pains (later about that). The gain creators are the products and services or the features that they possess which make the life of a customer easier. Examples of Gain Creators are :
    • Produce results that the customers expect
    • Create savings such as discounts that will benefit the customer
    • With a new product or service provide an easy learning curve to the customer
    • Make life easier for the customer by adding new features, providing a better product at a lower cost, or making it easily available
  • Pain Relievers If Gain Creators are an important section of the Value Proposition Canvas then so are the Pain Relievers. Pain Relievers can be thought of as those steps that are taken to overcome the difficulties that a customer may be facing. Pain relievers assuage pain, mitigate risks, jettison exasperations that hinder a customer from achieving his goals. Some of the pain relievers could be
    • Fiscal savings
    • Help the customer feel at ease
    • Try removing the difficulties a customer faces
    • Eliminate risks from the customers’ mind
    • Eradicate mistakes that a customer might generally make
    • Allow the customer to interact with you through a medium such as feedback

Ensuring a Complete Fit

Now that you know about the components of a VPC and what they mean, it is time we moved on to finding a solution that would best fit your plans to launch the new product or service or even promote an existing one with the customers in the market. This is the last step in a Value Proposition Canvas template. According to the value proposition canvas definition, a business aims to achieve a 100% fit between the value proposition and the customers’ needs. However, this is a misunderstanding. Achieving a 100% is not possible. If any business says that it has been able to do so, then the business is not only lying to the customer but to its own self as well. Such a condition is possible only when the business is providing wrong data to the Value Proposition Canvas.

Considering the customers jobs, pains and gains the fit that can be achieved will lie somewhere between 50-70%. If you achieve this ratio, then you have studied the customers’ needs well and understand the areas that require your attention. Ensure that the customer is never in doubt about your capabilities to deliver according to the needs of the customer. While trying to achieve this fit see to it that there are no such Gain Creators which can cause Customer Pains. Some Pain Relievers can also cause Customer Gains which is not a matter of worry. While building the VPC just don’t put all your focus on any one side of the VPC, provide equal attention to both.


Let us consider an example.

The main purpose of a Value Proposition Canvas is to help the business judge whether the products, services, and the features they provide to the customers will satisfy them or not. If the Customer Profile matches the Value Proposition, the business gets a FIT solution. In case it does not match the outcome of the VPC will be an UNFIT solution.

In the example below a customer is searching for a vehicle that can take him long distances, has some charging options, and advanced features built into the car and also wants a warranty for the battery. Add to this the brand name. There are two options that have been provided. The first turns out to be UNFIT while the second one is a FIT solution. Check out why.

Customer Profile:

A customer requires to travel long distances very often and remain different from others also. The vehicle he uses does not have enough charging points, and luggage space as well. He wants a car with a durable battery, a known brand, and has good interior ergonomics.

Value Proposition 1:

  • Products & Services – Fiat Premier
  • Pain Relievers – Best Selling Car, Tax Savings, Limited battery Warranty
  • Gain Creators – Advanced Features, Many Awards
  • Result: – Unfit

Value Proposition 2:

  • Products & Services – Audi e-Tron GT
  • Pain Relievers – Multiple Charging Points, Developed interior ergonomics
  • Gain Creators – Battery Warrantied for 10 years, Most Reputed Car, Self-Driving option also available
  • Result: – Fit

Let Us Wrap It Up

A Value Proposition Canvas is an alternative to the Business Model Canvas of Dr. Osterwalder. While working on the Business Model Canvas he noted some discrepancies which he wanted to remove and as such developed the VPC. The VPC consists of two parts, one that describes the pains and gains of a customer, and another that describes how to create gains and remove pains that come with the product or the service. The VPC is not meant for only new products or services but can also be used for existing products and services.

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