As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the early days of a startup are all about selling. When the product or service is just a mere vision documented on a few slides, founders have to face various stakeholders and persuade them to trust the story being told. The difficulty is in the fact that every target group looks at it slightly differently.
There are few steps to building the story
How do you explain what and why you are building in a 15-second pitch? The vision for the business is key, and the ability to articulate that in a way that the other party understands is essential. What I learned through the process so far is that with every iteration of telling the story, I discover yet another way one can read it. As a result of this ‘story — reaction — feedback’ cycle the idea is getting crystalized, but often more questions to be answered are raised.
We started with: “building first in its kind, decentralized, platform enabled IT services company”, with a deep underlying belief that what we have in mind will change the ‘future of work’. We want to unlock the potential of Tech Talent in Central and Eastern Europe, and connect it with most interesting technology projects around the globe, while transferring the economic opportunity down the stream.
Still, for someone who doesn’t come from the IT services world, the above might be too much. We will keep iterating it, until we nail it to a simple message so our grandmas can understand it.
We believe it’s important to know, what we don’t know. In the narrative that we are building, there are assumptions which we think are true but require verification. As we map out the business model for Talent Alpha every major question we can’t answer with full confidence, ends up on our ‘key hypothesis’ list. We then decide how we will go about finding the answer and put a deadline to do so.
One of them, which we already manage to answer was “Small and medium software houses struggle to sell to enterprise clients”. Through discussions, and more or less structured interviews we try to verify this and many other points. As the pieces of the puzzle unfold the confidence in the grand plan grows.
WThe founders’ team needs to practice and deliver the pitch continuously. Whether it’s the first employees joining the team, partners and clients who we want to connect on our platform, or the investors we are raising seed money from — the story needs to resonate.
The common elements of the pitch like: market, problem, solution, and team are a must. What helps in validating each are 3rd party data, and facts about companies in the same market. But in the end of the day everyone tries to answer two fundamental questions: