I've been trying to put together a one line pitch for days. Either my startup sounds too complicated or too simple. People automatically compare my startup to other websites.
May be something like this:
So that it could sound like this:
"I'm with Instagram, a software company; we enable people to add visual filters to their pictures and then share them with others."
"I'm with Facebook, an online social networking company; we connect people with their friends."
"I'm with Google, an online search engine; we help people find the best webpage for what they're looking for." OR "I'm with Google, an online advertising company; we help advertisers connect with people who are searching for what they sell."
"I'm with Ford, a car company."
I think the most important part of a a one-line pitch should be the "what you do part" because if you're an innovative startup (and who isn't these days?) then people may not understand what you do from the kind of company you are (see Ford example). Overall, the goal should just be to give people an idea of what you do, nothing more, so that your pitch becomes a conversation opener. I think the reaction you should strive to get with your one-line pitch should be "How do you do that?"
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"I'm with __ and we (state the problem you solve as it pertains to them)" It is not enough to say what you do. You have to tell the problem you solve. Alternatively, you can state what you do in a quirky way. For instance, I am in a business group and we had a chiropractor come to a meeting. When I introduced myself, he replied, "My name is __ and I am a spinal maintenance technician." I immediately asked what he meant by that. I was engaged at that point. Pure, simple, marketing genius.
Whatever you say, you want the person to be lead to a follow-up question. I have always referred to what you are asking as an "elevator pitch". You find yourself in an elevator with your ideal target market, what would you say to them? If you just say your name and what you do, the most frequent response would be, "Nice to meet you." and then they stare at the door waiting for it to open. You want to avoid that. How can you do that with your product or service?
ABC Corporation provides “Category”, solutions to “Target Customer”, for “Purpose”, which allows them to “Benefit”, by leveraging unique “Technology”.
Source: Tom Fountain from Mayfield Fund, a speaker at Stanford Business I watched on YouTube.
One-line pitches ARE hard to write. I often find the best one-line pitches take months to develop: you try something out with people, you see what sticks and what doesn't, and then you keep refining.
So the first piece of advice is: you've been trying only for days? That's normal to not be done yet!!
The second piece of advice is: you are the wrong person to listen to the one-line pitches. You need to keep trying with new people every time. What works for them? What works for people who don't know about your company. You know too much. Ask people to try to describe the company back to you. If they are comparing it to other websites then listen: maybe there is a valuable explanation for you there. Note also that a description that works for one person may not work for others. I remember an old business where a VC tried to tell me to call it 'GPS on steroids'. It worked for him ... but for a lot of other people it didn't work at all. So see what works the best for the most people.
The third piece of advice is: look at many other company's one-line pitches. A great place to do this is AngelList: you can see hundreds of one-line pitches, for yourself. See what works for you, what grabs you, what intrigues you, and what doesn't work.
You will notice that these one-liners follow different structures. That's because different structures work for different businesses. For instance, right now I see:
There is no easy answer I have discovered, and no one structure I have discovered that works in all cases. Each is unique to the business you are in. Just keep trying, and keep listening to see what lands best with the most people.