Provide a Concise Explanation of the Startup Idea

Entrepreneur Business Village Dubai in the night.
Image via Wikipedia

Late this afternoon I had a call with an entrepreneur that I’d helped in the past. He’s working on a new idea and wanted to get feedback. Yesterday he sent over some slides about the concept and I skimmed through them. After the usual first five minutes of a phone call I quickly asked for to hear the short pitch on the new venture. Unfortunately, he talked for five minutes straight and it still wasn’t clear. I then asked again for him to restate the idea in less than 20 words and he didn’t have any luck.

Startup founders need to provide a concise explanation of their idea. Here are some questions to think through:

  • What’s the offline analogy?
  • Who has the pain?
  • How is it accomplished now?
  • How would you explain it in under 20 words?
  • What’s the explanation for someone who’s in the industry (e.g. include the jargon)?
  • What’s the explanation for someone random on the street (e.g. exclude the jargon)?

A concise explanation of a startup idea is hard at first but becomes easy with practice and refinement. All entrepreneurs need to have it ready at short notice.

What else? What are some other tips or questions for developing a concise explanation of the startup idea?

2 thoughts on “Provide a Concise Explanation of the Startup Idea

  1. I like the 20 word idea. If you can’t explain it quickly… well, it shows you can’t even sell what you’re trying to sell in the first place.

    I’m kind of confused with the question “Who has the pain?”? What does that mean?

  2. Good question. “Who has the pain?” means who has the problem you’re trying to solve or who needs what you’re offering.

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