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After almost three years of working closely as a marketing advisor with founders of startups in Silicon Valley, I have found that many of them struggle to articulate their vision for their companies. They often have an idea of the direction they want to take, but then it seems as if everything they plan goes south. They go through this period of not trusting their own decisions, which can then lead to them losing their path and team members becoming confused as well. To help remedy this, I suggest that founders form a strategic pitch deck so they can help themselves get ahead.
The pitch helps them answer who they really are. Sometimes, founders can forget who they are and how they want to be perceived by their target audience. When you create the pitch deck, there are questions you should be asking to understand who you are and what you do.
What is the problem you’re solving?
I have worked with companies whose employees give me different answers when asked what the business does and where they see an issue. This shows they don’t really know or understand the problem that needs solving. As a founder, it is key to get everyone on the same page about an issue. Try sharing the data and statistics you’ve gathered from the market with workers. This can help illustrate the problem and how people are being affected to give your team a greater understanding of what needs to be solved.
What is the functionality of your company?
Founders typically have an immaculate understanding of what they do, but in my experience, when it comes to getting everyone on the same page about the function of the company, challenges can arise. Some team members can improvise when they aren’t sure how to express the function of a company, but this can become a hazard for the company if damage or confusion has been caused. By keeping things simple, you will be clarifying the functionality of the company to employees and your target audience.
Here are three ways to simplify your message:
• Consider the formula, “You are [well-known brand name] for [the product or service you offer].” This helps provide a general understanding of the brand. For example, you are “Yelp for maids.”
• Develop an elevator pitch, a speech short enough you could listen to it in an elevator.
• Create a synopsis of your vision and direction.
Is the vision as clear as you think?
You could tell all your team members what you envision, but they all might have a different interpretation of what you mean. For instance, do your team members know what the company believes in or understand its values? In my experience, some business leaders experience difficulty trying to get an investment without a clear vision for their brand. But I believe when everyone is on the same page, you will likely be able to scale the company faster. To clarify your vision, ensure it is simple, but not too general. Some founders I have worked with expressed something along the lines of, “We look to make the world a better place.” There is more to a vision than that; it should be simple enough for people who are not in your business to understand your vision, but more importantly, it should be specific to your company.
Competition: How do you manage it?
I believe this is where many companies struggle. When new competition comes in, it can be hard to come up with solutions on the spot for setting your own brand apart. Your team members should be on the same page about how they will manage competition once new companies start to emerge and how they will help the business continue being different. One way to ensure this is to always be innovating — even when you don’t have competition — so you can create a larger barrier for startups that come in. You want to ensure that your company is going to strive.
What are your metrics?
I believe you should think about volume, velocity and conversion at every stage of the marketing funnel, the process that takes prospects from the point of interest to the point of buying. It is ultimately the path to purchase, and a successful funnel will help you meet your revenue goals. If you don’t have enough leads coming in or they are coming in too slowly, consider trying an alternative method until you find a way that brings more leads into the pipeline. If you aren’t converting in the middle of the funnel, speak to sales and find out what you can improve on to close your deals.
Every team member should be on the same page when it comes to your strategic goals for your business. The above five questions can help determine whether your team members are on the same page about the brand, and they highlight areas that need improvement.
January 2, 2019 at 08:29AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs