An entrepreneur’s one sentence pitch is often their most valuable weapon. Get it right, and you could be on your way to making it big. Screw up, and you may find yourself back at square one. For many early-stage entrepreneurs, perfecting the elevator is one of the biggest challenges of starting up.
Below are the top three mistakes new founders make in their one-sentence pitches. In these Founder Hotseat clips, Founder Institute CEO, Adeo Ressi, critiques three pitches demonstrating these critical mistakes.
1. Defined offering
What exactly is that you have to offer? The needs to be short, simple and capable of being understood by everyone, like “a website,” “a mobile application,” “hardware,” or “desktop software.”
2. Define your audience
This is the initial group of people that you will market your offering to. In the case of consumer applications, it is usually a demographic, such as “women age 25 to 35 years old.” In the case of business applications, it is usually a job function at a type of corporation, such as “system administrators at medium sized technology businesses.” In the video below, Adeo critiques IPlanEvents for being way too broad. He says “You need to specialize. That’s a huge spectrum and you need to focus on one specific market.”
3. Secret sauce
Your “secret sauce” adds a unique approach to solving the problem and demonstrates a mastery of the market. Some examples are “by sending automated email alerts based on analysis of highest response times” or “with virtual worlds constructed in reaction to the movements of the players.” In the video below, Adeo critiques a pitch from Travl8tor. His advice: “You need something that makes me believe there is something special about this service.”