As we must expand our capital searches in this economy to funding sources outside of our immediate industry insiders, we now continue our exploration of clearer, simpler language for the pitch for capital (see more on this topic posted under writing & pitching).
Let’s consider the buzzwords “monetize” and “leverage.”
Monetize: We love this word, probably because the inability to monetize new technology once brought us to the crash of 2000. So we are quick to use it to prove we have a revenue model that can build a larger business model that will lead to ROI, and so on.
But to those not within our inner circle, it sounds like flim-flam – because it is another collective word (like “content” see– part 1 of this series) that is not specific. We understand that we will monetize our offering (a product or service or channel) in multiple ways which we are used to discussing. But outsiders want to know simple stuff: what are you selling for what price at what margin through which channels to what customers and will they buy it? And, if they will buy it, can you actually get to those buyers to make them an offer?
So, instead of “we will monetize our content through online distribution,” say something longer but simpler. “We will become the world’s largest bookstore by collecting the most books into inventory for selling online to readers, bookstores, and distributors, at discounted prices based on our volume purchasing. Our margins will be excellent due to the savings realized by online distribution and by avoiding the high cost of physical retail stores.”
Leverage is another favorite word of our times, and one that has many meanings. We tend to use “leverage” as a verb, meaning to increase results, as in the advantage gained by using a lever: “We will leverage our strategic alliances to penetrate the European markets.”
But: financial people use this word when referring to borrowing money for re-investment in some venture on the chance of a higher return on their investment. “Leverage” is also used to imply bargaining power. In statistics, “leverage” is used in connection with regression analysis.
Given the current economic conditions and constant discussion of economic issues, I suggest we abandon using this word and choose another, for example, “influence,” “advantage,” or “power.”
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