Getting people to quickly understand what your company is about is at the core of our work at Upflowy. The one sentence pitch (or elevator pitch) has been the way companies generally explain what they are/do in a few simple words.
But, to perfect your one sentence pitch can be a tricky exercise without the right guidance or “formula”.
When we advise young companies and the best way to create their first point of contact with their customers, we often ask them to help us understand what the business is all about.
We also ask them to be as concise as possible because the landing page and signup flow communication has to be as short and impactful as possible.
The CEO of Founder Institute, Adeo Ressi built a great framework for startup one sentence pitches on the premise that: “If you can’t describe your business in one-sentence, then you don’t understand it well enough”.
The one sentence pitch displayed by Founder Institute is a guide to help you, but we want to go to the next level, to add the element of ‘why’. Here is what we have come up with:
“Because we believe [in this ambitious vision], [my company] [is building/is bringing to market/has launched/is] [your 2-3 words defined offering] to [enable/empower/offer/help] [a specific persona] to [achieve a defined outcome] [by leveraging this unique asset/by adopting this innovative approach]”.
So why is our pitch a better formula to follow? Let us explain.
The one sentence pitch
The Founder Institute’s one sentence pitch madlibs gives a great example of how a company can easily explain their business simply and effectively, it looks a little something like this:
“My company, [name of the company], is developing [a defined offering] to help [a defined audience] [solve a problem] with [secret sauce].”
Here is ours:
“My company, Upflowy, is developing a no-code engine to help growth leaders to create high performing sign upflows and to iterate on them, without having to rely on engineering.”
For years I’ve been using it and asking for pitches in this format. As an advisor, as an investor, as a potential cofounder, I can see an efficiency to it, it creates the base for a shared understanding. It also helps to filter through very fast projects outside of your area of interest.
However, I always felt this pitch was not great to convey passion and meaning. It was mainly factually sharing what the person was working on. But not enough about the person’s story and intimate drive to create a successful startup.
So it got me thinking and here is what I came up with.
How to bring your pitch to the next level – it is all about the ‘why’
If you are aware of Simon Sinek and his work, he is very famous for his TED talk and explained why people buy Apple products with the golden circle. If you haven’t seen it, this is a must-watch.
Communicating about the reason ‘why’ you started a business in the first place is more important than communicating ‘what’ you sell or ‘how’ it is better than the competition.
As Simon Sinek said: “The goal is to do business with people who believe in what you believe.”
What you want to remember is it’s important:
- To your users (to capture the early adopters who need to bet on your early-stage product)
- To your collaborators (to capture the talents who need to bet on your idea while taking a salary cut)
- To your investors (who need to believe in your 10-year plan)
- To yourself (who need to stay motivated through the up and the downs of the journey)
It’s fine for Apple to not remind us every single day of what they believe in because their culture is part of our culture, their communication contains gist of what they believe through and through.
But for a young startup, they need to communicate about it every single hour of their day.
Understanding the ‘why’ of a founding team really communicates their ambition, more than the very limited Minimum Viable Product they currently work on, that’s how they’re going to motivate their teams.
Here is what I now recommend people to use as an updated madlibs. You’ll note that we’ve made it a bit more flexible for advanced companies as well. We’ve also refined some of the placeholders to help people figure out what they need to focus on.
“Because we believe [in this ambitious vision], [my company] [is building/is bringing to market/has launched/is] [your 2-3 words defined offering] to [enable/empower/offer/help] [a specific persona] to [achieve a defined outcome] [by leveraging this unique asset/by adopting this innovative approach]”
- An ambitious vision
The power of an ambitious vision is to transcend what your current line of products and services is about at an emotional level. If people see you as a computer company, then they will expect you to only offer computers. Apple is able to sell music, watches and create new lines of products and their constant innovation is always welcomed, because their vision talks to most of us, as individuals. By defining an ambitious vision as close as possible to a self-evident truth for the future, you not only project the image of a potential unicorn, but also, and most importantly, allow yourself to connect with your potential customers at a deeper level they can emotionally attach to. Why are you here, and what are you going to help them become in the future?
- The defined offering
This is where you bring back the people you’re pitching to back from a distant dream for the future to a very down to earth, easy to grasp current reality. Your defined offering should be as simple and current as possible, enabling you to position what you sell in an immediate way in order to provide a clear image of what you are about. The defined offering shouldn’t spoil the surprise, but rather be very generic: “A direct-to-consumer brand”, “A no-code SaaS tool”, “A meditation app”
- A specific persona
Referring to your audience in a specific way not only creates confidence that you understand your market, it also helps the person you’re pitching to identify with the right persona. If they’re a potential buyer, then they’ll know you are focused on solving their own pain, while if they’re an investor or another type of stakeholder, they’ll be able to identify with this specific persona even if they can not directly relate to the pain you’re solving for.
- A defined outcome
Where the Founder Institute Madlibs was focusing on describing the “problem you solve”, we find that there is more value in highlighting what is the expected outcome of your product or service. We agree that each founder or company owner or sales person should be fully aware of their customer problem, but in such a short pitch, articulating the customer value has more impact than stopping on its pain. For Upflowy, it’s the difference between stating that “sign up flow has an average drop rate of 63%” and that we help our customers “build high performing sign up flow and iterate on them”.
- The secret sauce
We find that most secret sauces are either articulated as a unique asset only your company is able to leverage, or simply as an innovative take on a specific industry. So we phrased it that way to make it easier for our reader. That being said we can be wrong and would love to hear how we can improve.
Here is ours:
“Because we believe that to grow faster, companies need to experiment more, Upflowy has launched a no-code engine to enable growth leaders to create high performing sign up flows and iterate on them, without having to rely on engineering.”
Try it for yourself. Focus on your “why” to perfect your one sentence pitch. See the depth you can add to the way you portray your business.
Remember, as Simon Sinek said – “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Use this one sentence pitch in your marketing material, tweet it to your audience (and even tag us – we would love to give you a plug).
As we dive deeper into the power of “why”, stay tuned for some excellent articles on the following:
- Should your ‘why’ be on your landing pages / ads / signup flow?
- How to include your ‘why’ in your online presence without being too obvious
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