One simple trick to make writing your startup description suddenly easy

One simple trick to make writing your startup description suddenly easy

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Are you trying to write your ‘company description’?

Are you trying to compose a pithy elevator pitch?

Are you trying to explain what you do in your pitch deck?

Can you just not quite get it right? Are you pulling your hair out?

I’m going to explain how you can get mad inspiration and nail that message easier.

The issue

You are in too deep. You want to say too many things! A great explanation is crazy simple. It cuts through the BS and gets TO THE POINT!

Only you aren’t doing that, are you? You’re probably using all sorts of buzz words, explaining technology, focusing on the wrong points.

You need to reset and get out of your head and see things differently.

Only, that’s hard right. You’re neck deep in your startup.

There’s a better way

I work with a lot of founders doing strategy consulting, writing ‘Perfect Pitch Decks‘ and mentoring founders. 99%, they can’t explain their business in a sentence. That’s not great when your goal is to get people to understand you, before they buy from you, or invest in you!

As soon as I’m on a call or want to check out a startup, I do two things.

The first thing I do is check your website.

The second thing I do is check you on two sites to see if you have raised, as well as figure you out. What are those sites?

This week I was doing a deck with a client and we were wasting so much time trying to write the second slide, which is one sentence on what they do.

I started getting frustrated, so I said: “Look, who are your main competitors?”

They told me two.

I let them go on thinking and talking whilst I busted out AngelList and CB.

Then I copied and pasted examples from their competitors.


Just so much easier to start getting perspective when you see how other people do it!

This really helped us get to the point and then write our own.

How to do it

This is pretty simple, but let me explain it step by step.

Firstly, list your MAIN competitors. You should know this already…

Then do to AL and CB and search for them. Type in their name in search. Do I have to explain search? 😉 Click on them.

Here is an example from CB

The one at the top is always longer than the one at the bottom. Pay attention to both.

startup description crunchbase

Here is an example from AL

Sometimes the descriptions are longer, but there is only one.

startup description angellist

They aren’t always the same. So pick the best one and copy/paste it into a word doc.

Then go to your next competitor. Do the same thing.

You are collating a list of the best examples.

Now you are done with hunting.

What you want to do now is… read them!

What do you really like about some aspects? What do you not like about how they did it?

Now you don’t want to have the exact same pitch! Ha.

So write down what is really unique about your startup. Write what is different to how the competition does it.

Then combine the smart bits your competitors wrote with what is special about your company. It’s more fun to do this with a few people on your team as you get different insights.

Next… forget about what you wrote for a few days. You’ll then read it again and want to change it.

This is NOT a magic bullet, but you’ll definitely do a better job than you are doing right now!

If your competitors have raised millions to date, you can be sure that their pitch has been battle tested. Park your ego and don’t think your competition are dumb asses. They are not.

That’s it. Now go and do it!

Final note… it’s ok not to be perfect. Iterate. Go and pitch your new “startup description” to people and see how they respond. If your pitch isn’t right, you will know. When you have got it right, people will say something like ‘interesting.’

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Comments 2

  1. Exactly what I did for Venntive, except it’s more targeted to future customers rather than investors. Then I tweaked it a lot following Belal Betrawy’s Is-Does-Means methodology which works for site content, decks, cold calls, and emails.

    Since you want to make it really easy for investors to understand the why for your startup, I think going through the Is-Does-Means exercise is very productive. It’s a more thoughtful version of JTBD.

    We usually talk about what our business/product IS and what it DOES, but we often stop there instead of talking about what it really MEANS for the customers.

    There is still a place for the description that comes from that “smart company description.” It just may not be where you originally thought it should go, i.e. website home page, 2nd page of a deck, but further back in the About section, after you’ve hooked your audience by directly appealing to what your product MEANS for their lives.

  2. Post

    Lydia- I’m not doing any fancy shite here. The only goal is to help write an acceptable company description which many struggle with.
    I don’t know if it was explicit but the target audience was investors.

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