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As a startup founder, you will pitch your business thousands of times to potential customers, partners, team members, investors, and more.

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. In order to do this, the Founder Institute recommends using the simple one-sentence pitch format described below.

Remember: If you can't describe your business in one-sentence, then you don't understand it well enough.

The Founder Institute's One-Sentence Pitch Format

Startup Madlibs

Let's go through each of the items

  • The defined offering needs to be short, simple and capable of being understood by everyone, like "a website", "a mobile application", "hardware" or "desktop software."
  • The defined audience 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."
  • Now that you have an offering helping an audience, you need to solve a problem. The problem needs to be something that everyone understands, such as "reduce the time collecting bill payments" or "engage in an immersive entertainment experience."
  • The final component, the secret sauce, adds your 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."

Here are some more pointers; First, avoid using adjectives, particularly superlatives. Never say "first", "only", "huge" or "best" as these words signal inexperience. Second, properly define your target market. For example, "women" or "small businesses" are way too large and not nearly targeted enough. Third, eliminate any buzzwords, acronyms or industry jargon from your pitch. Finally, keep it short. It's easy to write a long sentence, but the right thing is to be concise.

In the short video below, Adeo Ressi, Founder & CEO of the Founder Institute, explains the One Sentence Pitch in full:

Need more help with your pitch?

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