Polishing your pitch: Don’t try to be everything to everyone.

Last week I met an entrepreneur who asked if he could talk to me about his startup. I said “yes,” and he began his pitch. He had an interesting concept, fantastic tech, and he was already funded. As I pulled out my iPhone to jot down some notes, I asked him a simple marketing question, “Who did you build this for?”

I saw panic race across his face and beads of sweat began to form on his forehead. His answers were all over the spectrum. Answers ranged from soccer moms, to kids doing homework, to professional videographers in Hollywood. Essentially he gave me a shotgun pitch when I was looking for a laser.

Upon reflecting on his pitch, I believe he was trying to prove that there was a market for his startup. All of his additional use-case scenarios just added noise to his pitch and watered down the impact of his presentation.

The most important thing when you’re pitching your startup, is to build a clean, concise narrative. Focus on one demographic and demonstrate your startup’s immense value to that user group. Work on getting traction with one market before you try to expand.

It’s impossible to be everything to everyone and it distracts from the important parts of your pitch.

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  • The most important thing I learned from Crossing The Chasm: attack a niche. It doesn’t even need to be your final market, you’re allowed to change your plans for world domination allowed the way. But without the beachhead to target, you’re in trouble. And that focus should be a key to your pitch.

    • Neofliplay

      How do you know when your “beachhead” is established enough to move on to bigger markets?

      • It’s simple actually: if you don’t know, it isn’t. 🙂

    • John

      Terry, is that book really still useful and relevant enough in 2011? I was going to order it from amazon but noticed that its a fair few years old now.