A simple rule for pitching your startup or product

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.

Notes:
(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.

3 thoughts on “A simple rule for pitching your startup or product

  1. Powerful rule. I’m not sure whether the focus should be on “pitching” your company per-se, which will inevitably result in a more textured discussion, or whether the focus should be on your single-sentence value proposition. But that’s nitpicking.

    • Excellent point. That’s what I was getting at with the note that talked about the connection between pitch / marketing and strategy — your marketing or pitch is the articulation of your strategy and understanding of your value proposition.

  2. Pingback: How to make your talk or presentation gripping and memorable | A Founder's Notebook

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