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Why people don't understand your business

Have you ever pitched your idea to someone and got blank stares? Read below to find out why...

You know your product to well

We are always told that we need to know our product and business like the back of our hand, but sometimes we know it too well.

A while ago I was part of an accelerator program where we had to practice our pitch in front of an audience every Friday. Every Friday my business partner at the time and I would stand on stage praying that people would understand our business. “How could they not…it was so easy to understand!” Every Friday we would hear, “we still have no idea what you guys are doing.” The further along we got in our business the harder it was for us to explain what we actually did.

When we are so involved in our business and understand it extremely well, we tend to forget that other people are hearing it for the first time. We assume that they have been working on our business like we have and they have shared all the thoughts we have…the simple fact is…they have not!

You are talking to the wrong audience

If you have a highly specialized product or service talking to the right audience can be kind of tricky! For example, if you are a consulting company you may be talking to the business development employee when you need to be talking to HR. Even in the same office, people will have different understandings and motivations for the same service.

You haven't thought about what the end game is

We often get caught up in working “in” our business and not “on” our business. I am also guilty of this one! I remember being so focused on all the complexities of what would make the backend of my product work. I began pitching all of the details of how the product worked. My audience didn’t have a clue what I was talking about…nor did they care…at all!

When we start to think and tell people about our vision, people start to connect with us. If we convey our vision in an inspiring way, you will likely even get people who want to jump on board to help in any way they can. The end game is easier to connect with!


Explain it to a 10-year-old until they can explain it back

I had heard this advice quite often in university when we had to explain complicated concepts. I totally understood the value that simplifying a message could actually have until I was forced to do it. I was asked to make a presentation for a children’s camp that had a day on entrepreneurship. I was introduced as: “Please welcome Seth Barkhouse, an entrepreneur, he will tell you about his business.” I had a well-oiled business pitch, but not for 10-year-olds. I ran through my regular pitch and one child asked a question that made it obvious that I did not explain my company in a clear way so I quickly made it as simple as I could for the children and they seemed to get it. Then at networking, I found conversations went a lot smoother because people were able to really understand what I was doing quickly. Make sure you check your ego at the door and don’t complicate things to make yourself look smarter. It doesn’t work like that…there is elegance in simplicity.

Read our post on market validation

If you haven’t already, read our post on market validation. Market validation is absolutely crucial in creating a successful business. I won’t get into it too much, but make sure you check it out, you really don’t want to miss the keys to successful market validation.

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