Edited excerpt from My Golden Rule for Pitching Your Startup or Product by David Cancel:
There’s a simple rule I use when pitching a product or even a company to someone. I call it No “and”s. You have to be able to describe your idea in a single sentence without using the word “and.”
The problem with using “and”s is that they often confuse ideas instead of clarifying them. The “No Ands” rule is a simple constraint that you can use to focus your pitch. It will teach you to clarify your positioning and, hopefully, result in fewer glazed-over eyes and confused recipients.
(1) The “No Ands” rule is powerful because it forces you to prioritize and focus, and doing few things well is the key to startup success. What is your customer’s job to be done? What is your core value proposition? Answer those questions with no “and”s.
(2) “The “No Ands” rule is a simple constraint that you can use to focus your pitch” — cf. Embracing constraints.
(3) If your pitch isn’t clear, your strategy isn’t clear, because conversations about messaging are really about strategy.
(4) Cf. (i) Building a valuable product — a checklist of questions to answer and (ii) Clarifying your strategy using a simple template.