Whenever someone asked me about what my former startup was about, I found myself rambling on and on about it – the product, the culture, etc. Surprisingly, I saw the same thing time and again from a lot of other entrepreneurs.
I have one piece of advice for all of us: Stop doing that!
When you pitch, you need to grab the listener’s attention quickly, and communicate all of the core elements of your idea in a clear and concise manner. Get a one sentence pitch and nail it. This should help you not only with your pith, but also with refining your idea in its early stages.
I agree that this is not as easy as saying it. So, here is some guidance on the same:
1. Define your offering
Put out what you are offering the customer – not the investor, not the employee, but the customer – in a simple and understandable way. Use simple terms such as “website”, “mobile app”, “device”, etc. Do not try to use fancy terms such as “marketplace”, though they may be technically right – you will need to explain them, and you are only alienating your audience by making them feel dumb.
2. Define your customers
Put out your core audience clearly.
- B2C startups: demographics, geo-location, etc. (Ex.:18-25 year-olds in London)
- B2B startups: functions/job-descriptions, sector/industries (Ex.: digital marketers in the tech sector)
3. Bring out the pain-point
This is why your startup exists. Bring it out. Keep it simple and understandable. Ex.: Increase visibility of small but high-quality digital marketers.
4. Sell the “Secret sauce”
Bring out what makes you stand apart. What makes your offering better than your competition (Please do not say you have no competition!)? It should outline your unique approach to the pain-point and shows your understanding of your customers and their needs.
- Avoid using superlatives. Never say “first,” “only,” “huge” or “best,” as these words signal lack of market research.
- Eliminate any buzzwords, acronyms or industry jargon from your pitch.
- Keep it short. It’s easy to write a long sentence, but the right thing is to be concise.