I think the most important thing that the Founders Institute helps you do is clarify your vision for you company. The one minute pitch is the vehicle they use to do this. The expectation is that you will find a way to convey the problem you intend to solve; how you intend solve it; and how you intend to make money solving it in one minute. This is really, really hard. A correctly done one minute pitch leaves the audience convinced you are trying to solve an interesting problem, enthusiastic and wanting to know more.
Writing a one minute pitch basically requires you to distill you business idea into a hundred words. It requires absolute clarity of vision. This is where 6 Hellos ran into problems. As engineers Paolo and I kept getting lost in the weeds, focusing on features we thought would be interesting rather than on attempting to figure out what our vision was. To large extent we’re still grappling with that.
While we haven’t nailed our one minute pitch yet, we’ve learned a lot about the importance of vision when trying to build a business. Now if you’re an engineer, you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself, “this whole vision thing sounds like a lot of BS.” As an engineer that’s what I thought. However, over the last couple of months I’ve come to the realization, albeit reluctantly, that a large part of starting a business is the ability to articulate clearly what your trying to do.
If you think of your vision, and by extension your one minute pitch, as the first impression most people will have of your company its importance becomes a lot clearer. Starting a business is hard; you need a lot of help from a lot of people. You will have a much easier time finding the help you need if you are able to articulate what you are trying to do clearly and in a way that leaves the people you talk to excited.
If you’re thinking about starting your own company I’d highly recommend you take some time to think really hard about your vision. Sit down write a one minute pitch. Run it by your friends, family and mentors. Listen to what they say. Try and figure out if they truly understand what you trying to say. Take their advice and produce a few iterations of it. When you have a one minute pitch your happy with internalize it! Learn to deliver it in a way that seems natural (this takes a lot of practice.) Then you’ll be ready to discuss your business at a moment’s notice with anyone and everyone.