Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Perfecting Your Pitch

Hey all,

I know that I continually talk about honing your message and working on your personal brand but I have learned the importance of this first hand.  When starting a business one of the most neglected areas of your company is yourself.  Especially with more complex purchases, customers are buying into you just as much as they are buying your product or service.  That's why it's important to know what you do for your company and what your company does for others.  Having already experienced some family Christmas parties this year I found myself getting a little anxious when people asked me what I do.  Those of you who are entrepreneurs will know that it might be easier to explain what you don't do but it brought up an personal hurdle I felt I needed to jump.

Tips for crafting your personal pitch:
• Write down exactly what you do in only one sentence.  Your grandmother should be able to get it.  (No offense GamGam)
• Write down what your product or service actually does.  Once again, simplicity is key here.
• Think of someone asking saying "Yeah,  So what?" Find the strongest argument against this "Who cares?" statement and go with it.

Together these elements ensure that your pitch is both brief and conveys the value of what you do, what your product does, and why that matters. 

My example:
I call people who run business plan competitions to find out what's not working well.  Our product eliminates excess paperwork, organizes important information, and promotes the event to participants.  It saves time and money; most people would like more of each.

This may come off as a little blunt but I think that's the point.  If it is a good personal pitch people will be genuinely interested in what you do which opens the door to get into more specific details.   On the other hand, if they don't care about what you do, I just saved you a lot of time trying to explain it. 



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Before You Blog

I'm new to blogging but I know that in order to be a valuable resource to readers, a blog must accomplish three things.

1.  Make a promise...and deliver
By letting readers know the purpose behind your writing, you are not only creating a mission statement to help guide your topics but you're showing that you value your reader's time.  I try to write purposeful content that provides insight on my experiences starting a company in the hope that someone somewhere will learn something from my experiences.

2.  Provide solutions
Problems are easy to list, solutions are not.  As a reader of many blogs, I find myself most engaged when authors provide not only engaging content but insight into their process and how they conquer their own issues.  Research shows that people have the attention span of rabid ferrets online; I too enjoy quick bullets of information and try to utilize this format in many of my posts.  Readers check the bullets first and decide if reading further is worth their time.  Odds are you've already skipped over half the information in the paragraphs of this post, but you've probably been paying attention to the bullets. 

3.  Don't force it
If you don't have anything of substance to write about then don't write anything at all.  No one wants to read about your Saturday shopping experience or your drive to work.  People like to feel that someone cares about their situation rather than just listening to someone talk about their own issues.  If you want to write like that I suggest you get a journal.

Here are very different and excellent examples from pros:

As I move along the path to what I hope is an insanely successful business, I'll continue to provide resources on startup issues and being a young entrepreneur.  That's my promise to you.