Who knew that you would find yourself dazed when someone told you – What’s your Startup story? And that too out of the blue!
Something that you have been nurturing in your heart and soul for so long now.. But when someone asked you to elaborate on it, you found yourself tongue tied. Not to worry. Happens to all of us.
Happened to me when I was in front of an investor, all set and ready for a Pitch Meeting. I was all prepared with the most tedious and mind boggling questions like technology used, Artificial Intelligence, Automated Marketing for Lead Generation and blah blah blah.
And then, when all he said was – “Anu, tell me your story”, I went pale. All I said was a bunch of words filled in with a lot of “You know.. You know..” which meant I was buying time to think what to say!
After that lesson well learnt, next time I went prepared more from the heart, than from the mind and here are a few points from my learning..
1. Focus on the Customer’s Pain Point
It all begins with a Problem.
A genuine problem someone faced which you decided you would solve for them. It could be close to home, in your personal network. It could be something you saw on the road. The trigger could be anything. Anything, that needed solving – and you jumped in like a Knight in Shining Armour to resolve it.
Leah Neaderthal saw friends struggling with Sales. That inspired her to start her business Growthworks Solutions
Peter Boyd, a lawyer, began PaperStreet Web Design, because he could not take the fact that Law Firms had awful websites.
Daisy Jing of Banish had an acne problem! She decided she would help people by addressing them on YouTube. It was these people that inspired her to create her own line of products.
Think about what was the story behind the problem that inspired you to start up and pen it down with all your heart and soul. Put yourself in the shoes of the person facing the problem and describe it with the same pain that they would have felt dealing with it.
2. Propose how you plan to solve the Customer’s Pain Point
Solutions and advice are plenty and freely available when a problem is presented.
The idea is to have a clear action plan after deep assessment of the problem at hand. Not just an action plan but an action plan with timelines and milestones. That is a real solution!
It gives the person facing the problem a hope of a tangible solution. Without that your solution story is incomplete. Evaluate and brainstorm from all aspects to cover any loop holes that may creep up.
Think and propose as to how you plan to reach out to others who are facing the similar problem. You need to have a clear strategy as to how you are going to shout out from the rooftops to all the relevant people that you have a solution to their problem.
Yes, I am talking about How you plan to market your product.
3. Elaborate your Unique Selling Point (How you are different)
USP (Unique Selling Point) is a terribly misused Business Jargon.
For your Startup to grab its identity in the Ocean out there, it has got to give a solution which doesn’t already exist. Claiming to create yet another similar solution to yet another known problem is not going to help you win your game.
Having said that, its not that similar products do not exist. In the start of my career, every app that I thought would be the next BIG thing, was already there on the Google PlayStore. At first, I felt dejected. But then when I studied all those apps in the same niche, I realised they were all trying to solve a common problem but in a unique way.
Your solution to the common problem needs to have that Zing factor which the others don’t. It is hard to crack, but all it requires is a zest and a passion to actually solve the problem at hand in a way that no one has ever done it before.
4. Say the same story everywhere
This is funny and it happened with me many times. Probably because of my excessive passion towards my product. There were times I had brain waves while I was pitching to a potential investor. A product feature which I had not thought of earlier, just popped into my mind when I was asked a particular question. And I was so excited, I went on and on about how I would make it happen.
Please resist the urge to do that. Stick to your story. For brainwaves that suddenly come up, make a note of them , evaluate them and then include the in the next version.
Don’t get all excited and start talking about them till they are completely validated.
5. Delight the Listener
It’s your Baby. Express the passion that you feel inside for it. Whether you are writing about it or talking about it, express all the emotions that come up. Don’t inhibit a single emotion – be it positive or negative.
When the reader / listener goes through your story, they should feel inspired and charged. You are genuinely trying to bring about a change here (and yes, why not make some good money in the process). Let the genuineness of your intention shine through in your story.
8. KISS Concept (Keep it Simple Silly)
As I suggested in the beginning, its all about a problem and a solution. As simple as that. Keep it that way.
Business Jargon can be saved for the Business Plan. But when you are pitching your Startup Story, that’s all that it has to have. How you are going to solve a problem in a unique way that no one ever has.
Adios for now. For any help that you ever need – remember I am just a message away! Feel free to share your thoughts.