Who can relate? My team regularly came to me with a flurry of detail of the challenge du jour, hopeful for my sage advice and direction. They’d explain this problem or that problem in great detail. Sometimes it was regarding a promotional piece they were putting together, other times it was a project management hurdle that they couldn’t get around, over or even under.
More often than not my response was “10 Words or Less.” Explain to me in 10 words or less what the problem is. If you can’t, then go think about it and boil it down.
Ah, the magic of 10.
Give me just 10 Minutes.
10 Words or less.
Top 10 Reasons
Pitching or marketing your product or service can also take on the Magic of 10 — 10 slides in 10 Minutes.
If it’s not simple, most people won’t understand. It’s not that your idea is above them or is so unique or complicated, it’s that our brains are busy. It’s important to resonate in just a few words, else it’s unlikely that anyone is going to extend any energy trying to figure out your value proposition.
So what are we to do to get our complicated ideas into the minds of our intended audiences? Here’s the good news: As Guy Kawasaki outlined on Entrepreneur.com, nearly every start up pitch can be boiled down to a 10 slide deck but I think it also applies to just about any sales presentation you may need to make or challenge you’re trying to describe. And if you’ve followed my blogs in the past you know that I’m a big advocate of the 4P’s which definitely come into play here.
A 10 SLIDE PLAN FOR PRESENTING YOUR PRODUCT
Slide 1 : Title. This is like writing your name on the SAT — you get credit for it and it’s easy. Include your name, your company’s name, a website URL, Twitter or other social media handles, and contact info.
Slide 2: Problem. Here’s your 10 words or less task. What is the problem you’re solving. Simple statement followed by why it’s a problem worth even solving. Sure, sure you may have more than 10 words but it should be really simple. If you use more than 2-3 sentences to describe this, it’s too long.
Slide 3: Product Overview. The biggest and best P of all. What have you created? Here you get to explain how your product solves the problem above. Having a good product is critical to making the other parts of this presentation meaningful. If you struggle here. Stop and go back to the drawing board. You won’t do anyone any favors by faking this point.
Slide 4: Customer Overview: Who is going to buy this? What do you know about them? Be specific. If you think your product is going to resonate most with women 35-50, then say it and explain why. If your customer isn’t your purchaser you need to explain. I remember seeing a presentation that predicted an adoption of and app by 20% of all women in the work place. Huh? How would you ever begin to quantify that? You’re setting yourself up for failure when your stats aren’t based in reality.
Slide 5: Show your MoJo: Mr. Kawasaki has this (he calls it Secret Sauce) after the product overview slide, but I think I prefer it here because you’ve introduced your customer. Now, as an audience member, I’ll have a more robust understanding of what you’re selling and to whom. Makes your mojo more meaningful.
Slide 6: Promotion and Distribution: How are you going to reach these customers? Where will they buy it and how much are they willing to spend? I think it’s important to include any notes about marketing research (primary or secondary) that you’ve done. People, especially investors, like facts. Make sure to include points about repeat business or downstream add-ons which will drive repeat or upsell business. (See Slide 8 bullet below as this may be a good time to include your forecast and projections.)
Slide 7. Competitive Space Overview: Who are you competing with? There are always options for your customers, including doing nothing. Do your research on who is also competing for your customers, their attention and even unlike products within your distribution channels. Anyone else ever visit Amazon.com to purchase something and leave with something completely different thanks to their recommendations or deal of the day? Don’t overlook distraction as competition.
Slide 8. Your Team: Summarize the experts you’ve enlisted to get this far. Don’t skimp on showing yourself as well rounded, but don’t be pretentious either. I see a lot of startups who tout where their teammates successfully exited — no one mentions the ones they UNsuccessfully exited or what their exit looked like. Some people get the benefit of exiting without having actually contributed to the company’s beginnings. Be genuine about your accomplishments and experience.
Slide 9. Forecast and Projections. Mr. Kawasaki listed this here and I’m leaving it here but, also I think it could equally be a logical part of the Promotion and Distribution slide slide 6 . (Kawasaki actually calls Slide 5 the Business Model which could really lend itself to incorporating your forecast and projections.)
Slide 10. Explain Your Need. Luckily for the start ups I usually see at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (www.thedec.co) their co-founder nearly always wraps up the Q&A with “how can we help” but on the off chance that no one asks you want to make sure you cover off on this topic. Whether you’re looking for a co-founder or an angel investor, again, being specific is your best bet.
So there’s my homage to Guy Kawasaki’s Infographic (you can see it on my small business marketing Pinterest board here). His idea was the obvious catalyst for this blog and I hope that I’ve paid appropriate respect to his ideas but added enough of my own flavor to be helpful.
Good luck and happy marketing (or pitching!)