How to pitch your business idea?

As a startup mentor I get pitched with a few business ideas everyday. One thing I have been observing with all these young entrepreneurs is the lack of a systematic approach and incoherent explanation. The explanation usually start with the solution and then they try to force fit it into a problem. Any solution makes sense only when there is clarity about the problem it solves.

Any problem happens when a user or customer tries to execute some tasks like washing laundry or buying groceries. These tasks are executed by a clearly defined customer in terms of demographics, lifestyle, the need being satisfied by the tasks and all this in a given context. This is the first step of clarity.

This is when we are clear about the problem being solved. This addresses Who, What, When, Where and Why. Who is the user? What is he trying to do? When does he do it? Where is he doing it? Why is this a problem, i.e.,What are the associated pains which make this a problem?

Example Problem: Students Staying in hostels need fresh clothes and they need to wash clothes in bathrooms either daily or weekly. There is not enough water, no space to hang them and not enough time. The laundry may not be delivered on time and when charged per pair it is costly.

Now comes the proposed solution part. Here we explain How we propose to solve this problem. This should match to the stated pains and missing gains.

Example Solution: We will provide a laundry service which picks up laundry from hostels and delivers back the next day. We will be providing separate bags for each students to avoid mixing up. The charges would be based on weight of the wash loads.

We have led the listener from a clearly defined problem to a clearly defined solution. This opens up further discussion and questions about the details of operations, marketing, partners etc. which can be answered as they come up.

However, we also need a strong opening line or tag line which gets an immediate attention of the listeners. In the above example , saying that we are a laundry service provider is not exciting enough. In stead, how does this sound? “We ensure that students staying in hostels will always have clean clothes to wear “. This does not talk about the actual solution but the value proposition, by bringing out the customers and their challenge.

Go ahead…create your pitch statements and post them here. I would love to see them and suggest a few changes as applicable.

About Sridhar Chakravarthi M 4 Articles
Flt.Lt. M. Sridhar Chakravarthi has been mentoring startups since 2007. He is a national coordinator for Indian Startups Network and a volunteering mentor at Bharat Yuva Shakti Trust. He also mentors startups in Africa through Grow Movement. Feel free to reach him at sridhar@indianstartups.com

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