It's not a memo, It's a mission statement.

10th Apr 2015

Read Time: 2:31

It's not a memo, It's a mission statement.

Boiling your messaging down to deliverable.

If you would be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. ~Robert Southey

Great messaging isn't frilly.

Given the subject of this post, I'll just jump right in. If you can't deliver a good elevator pitch about your business it might be time to go back to the drawing board and boil down the "what do we do" section of your business model. We dreamers really get into the what if's and wouldn't it be cool's. It's what this entrepreneurial spirit is all about - dreaming up a better solution. The rub comes when you bring all those ideation tactics into your pitch. Potential stakeholders need to know, quickly, what you do, how you're different, and what you need from them to get started. Don't waste words and keep the messaging topical to your present audience.

Great messaging is easy to digest.

Einstein once said "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself." Here's an area where we tech monkeys tend to struggle. Our working language lives just past Platform Nine & Three-Quarters to most of the business world even if they won't admit it outwardly. We think of streaming music as a constant buffered data feed from a server somewhere via mobile network or WiFi. The rest of the world looks at it as 'I push this button and the music starts. It's basically magic.'

We need to work toward a succinct description that is contoured to the working language of the audience. This means avoiding the technical minutia of your authentication model to your potential financiers. Don't worry, your IT buddies will understand why you're telling bankers that you make computers talk with each other.

Great messaging is custom tailored.

You're going to have to write a few elevator pitches if you plan on talking to different audience segments. Tech firms want the details on your tech stack and will understand them thoroughly. Financial firms hire tech analyst to do that due diligence. All they want to know is that you've got that info available. Talk to them about profit margins inside year one and proposed quarterly expenses.

My current project has a pretty simple user story, and 4 pitch decks. We're talking to a lot of people in very different industries with skills and assets we want to incorporate. This means we need to talk to them within their wheelhouse. This can be a lot like learning a new language but is well worth the effort.

Final thoughts.

The old adage of Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) is still very much alive and well. Unfortunately, it can be really difficult to keep things simple. My great friend, mentor, andformer boss, John Andrews once said 'Surround yourself with great people who are smarter than you in all kinds of industries'. Put together a board of advisors. Not just for your business or startup, but for yourself as well. Make friends with and grow mentor relationships across age and industry backgrounds. Just as important, mentor others. You might not be a genius overall, but your collected experiences are unique to you and over a point of view that others might not have.

Get yourself and your ideas out there... clearly.

~jt

Blog by Jay Thornton