How to Craft a One Liner Pitch



In today’s world of multiple communication channels and light speed transactions and decisions, the ability to pitch your startup in one sentence is critical.  This is all the more important when trying to get on the radar of a distracted Venture Capitalist.

Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs are so immersed in the minutiae of their business, that they forget the importance of communicating clearly and simply to an audience who is being exposed to their idea for the first time.

A decade ago I hired global ad agency M & C Saatchi to help a startup I was advising. Their philosophy is ‘Brutal Simplicity of Thought’ and is clearly a key to their success. Their rationale, backed by science, is that simple ideas enter the brain easier and stay there longer.

A concise one liner is easier to remember and easier to share with others.

There are two approaches to pitching your startup in one sentence. The first is to create a ‘high concept pitch’. Alien was pitched to studio executives as ‘Jaws in Space’. As is true of all ‘less is more’ approaches, creating an effective and impactful high concept pitch takes time but can be worth the effort.

A word of caution…unless your high concept pitch explains your business in a clear and compelling way, don’t use this technique.  Test it on people who nothing about your business and take careful note of their reactions. The objective is to bring simplicity and clarity to your pitch rather than coming over as a smart ass.

An alternative approach is to use the following formula:

My company [company name]

Has developed / is developing [product / service]

That solves the problem [define problem]

For [target market]

So an example might be:

Acme has developed an app that delivers a light electric shock via a smart phone that solves the problem of investor attention disorder, faced by entrepreneurs raising capital.

Whichever approach you use, if you want to be heard, understood and remembered, make sure that an effective one sentence pitch forms part of your pitching arsenal.

Reprinted by permission.

Image Credit: CC by Phil Whitehouse

About the author: Martin Soorjoo

Founder of The Pitch Clinic, Martin Soorjoo is a pitch strategist. He coaches entrepreneurs world-wide, helping them launch and raise funding. Prior to founding The Pitch Clinic, Martin spent 15 years as a former award winning attorney. He has worked with start-ups and investors, including senior investment bankers, venture capitalists and angel investors. During this period Martin raised several million dollars, including negotiating one deal worth $75 Million. This experience has equipped him with unique insights into the challenges start-ups face and how investors make decisions. He is a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and an expert in body language.

Martin is the author of ‘Here’s the Pitch‘.

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