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 engine, tool, platform, solution and enabling technology.
Some of my clients have built software engines which bring new power to social media aggregation or database compression and querying, and so on. In each case, the power of the engine is disruptive and extends the power and control of its business users, but each also requires connection to both a “front end” and a “back end.” Both are standard tools in many varieties, and need only to be linked in with simple technology “hooks.”
When presenting the business opportunity to an investor outside of our industry, the word “engine” becomes a negative flag. If it is an engine, where is the car? What can anyone do with it? If it is a “tool” or “utility,” its value is decreased as an incremental “nice to have” rather than a “need to have” product. Although we are talking about positioning now, this positioning is embedded in the language we choose to use.
Sometimes my clients default to “platform” or “solution,” or even “enabling technology.” These words bring along their own weaknesses, since we must define the “platform” and “solution” and what is “enabled,” in each of its applications and values and market potentials, and now we have lost our simplicity again. Pitching that a new company can cover the world in all its markets at once is a non-starter.
In these instances, final success has arrived by segmenting the investment pitch into a focus on the one or two primary market segments that endorse the product’s feature set as a “must have” product. This simplifies the pitch into “our product solves this problem in this market sector and can expect a demand of XX and a market penetration of YYY in ZZ years.” We can also present one additional pitch in a second, adjacent market segment, particularly one in which we might use the same sales force or reseller channel and similar marketing materials.
Simplifying language in the pitch to be direct, complete, and understood by an 8-year-old is the secret to expanding your capital search in these lean times.
Have examples? Need a private review of your pitch? Please share here.
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