7 Small Businesses with Killer Value Propositions

To compete, you need to stand out. These businesses are offering something unique.
Find a value proposition — from hot tub boats to beard grooming toolkits for men — that makes your business unique. (Photo: Hot Tub Boats)

Good entrepreneurs build successful businesses in an existing market. Great entrepreneurs identify an unmet need and step into the gap. Rather than copying the ideas of others, they figure out how to provide something unique that customers want.

Your differentiator — what sets your business apart — is a key part of your value proposition.
But how can your small business really be one-of-a-kind in such a crowded marketplace?

Related: How to Craft an Elevator Pitch for your Small Business

Finding new ways to be different is indeed challenging, but it’s not impossible. Consider these seven small businesses that have created a new mold.

1. Flytographer

Olga in Paris for Flytographer

(Photo: Olga in Paris for Flytographer)

Good vacation photos can be hard to come by. Vacationers frequently return with awkward selfies and blurry photos taken by “that nice lady” at the Eiffel Tower who offered to snap a shot for you. Flytographer is a Canadian-based startup that connects travellers with local, pre-vetted photographers in various cities worldwide whom you can book for a vacation photo shoot so you and your family end up with photos worth looking at years later.

Roberta in Rome for Flytographer

(Photo: Roberta in Rome for Flytographer)

The photogs not only click the camera but act as informal tour guides, helping you find the most photographic spots in which to create your memories.

2. Hot Tub Boats

Some creative thinkers in the Pacific Northwest found a unique way for boat lovers to combat the wet winters of Seattle and enjoy the water year round. Hot Tub Boats, which merge the relaxing comfort of a hot tub with a boat ride, are available to rent or purchase and designed to meet worldwide safety standards. You can drive one with a joystick while you soak. Seriously, who wouldn’t enjoy a warm soak with an awesome view?

3. Stories Together Publishing

Stories Together is a publishing house that partners with nonprofits to create children’s books that portray the diversity in the world and offer stories more kids can relate to.

“The children’s publishing industry has been stagnant for a long time,” said Stephen Ketch, president of the company, citing that only roughly 10 percent of children’s books have a non-white character, whereas more than half of newborns in the United States last year were non-white. Stories Together recently published a book that features a main character with cancer. They are currently working on a book for immigrant children written by an immigrant.

4. Norka Sports


(Photo: Dmytro Vietrov/Shutterstock)

Jarrett Kunze, owner of Norka Sports, sells custom vinyl wraps for skis, snowboards, skateboards and more, allowing his customers to change the look and design of their equipment without breaking the bank.

“Custom skis and snowboards exist, but they cost hundreds of dollars,” he said. By using vinyl wraps, Kunze’s customers can personalize the design for a mere $65.

“Our value prop is unique because our product is unique.” -Jarrett Kunze

Norka Sports also promotes the local art industry, working with area designers and paying them a commission. “It helps local artists make some extra money with their artwork, it gives our customers more design options, and it helps us get some visibility with people who follow the artist,” said Kunze.

5. Liberty Premium Grooming


Curt Storring, owner of Liberty Premium Grooming, promises increased confidence for men with his product, a beard grooming toolkit. (Photo: Curt Storring)

Men: Do you know how to look good? Liberty Premium Grooming Co. takes a fun and unusual approach to facial grooming by combining education with their product line. Their beard grooming toolkit promises you can “effortlessly craft a beard that increases your attractiveness and boosts your confidence.”

But they’re not just about beards. “In the beard market, most companies talk about the necessity of men to have a beard,” said owner Curt Storring. “It’s basically all beard, all the time. We’re more focused on helping men increase their level of attractiveness — beard or not — which helps to increase confidence.”

6. GreenPal


(Photo: tommaso79/Shutterstock)

One small business that has found its niche in the gig economy is GreenPal, an on-demand lawn care service. Described as “the Uber for lawn care,” the company provides homeowners with a list of vetted lawn care providers, who bid on available work opportunities. GreenPal has simplified the process for both the customer and the lawn care vendor by managing everything from finding the right provider to processing payments directly through their app.

7. Bed Rest Concierge

Stephanie Johnson uncovered a void in the market when she was placed on bed rest for 26 weeks of her pregnancy. After learning that doctors prescribe bed rest for 20 percent of women each year, she founded Bed Rest Concierge to assist bedridden mothers-to-be with everything from household chores to designing a nursery to planning a baby shower. It even lets you schedule mobile pampering services.

Sometimes coming up with a unique value proposition requires a little extra creativity. Other times, inspiration may fall in your lap, as it did for Johnson. Regardless of how you do it, identifying how your business is one-of-a-kind and catering to your niche is essential for paving the road to success.

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