Can you pitch your new idea in 10 words?
By Chet Wesley | link to original article
Ten words or less. That's how many words I've got to convince you to take action on what I'm about to say to you. Or so Guy Kawasaki says, when you're pitching anything new, be it a new company, non-profit organization, product or service.
If you don't know who Guy Kawasaski is, you should, and if you've got the time, you can hear what he has to say Thursday evening at R3 Gala. It's not everyday someone like Guy Kawasaki comes to Fredericton.
One of the key people responsible for the success of Apple's Macintosh computer, he is renowned the world over for his ability to get new ideas funded and turned into successful companies. Today he is co-founder of Silicon Valley's Garage Technology Ventures, where he invests in technology-driven start-up companies and oversees his latest creation, alltop.com. He receives rave reviews from clients like Nike, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, the Calgary Flames, Audi, and Wal-Mart, to name a few.
After reading his book, The Art Of The Start, a get down to the nitty gritty guide for anyone set to start anything, I was left with a few things I'd like to share. And I'll try to do it in 10 words or less (yeah, right).
It's the part, early on in the book, when he gives a list of FAQs. At first glance, of course, like anyone else, I'm expecting to see a list of « frequently-asked questions, » followed by some answers. But instead, his FAQs stand for « frequently-avoided questions. » That was a new one for me, and it got me intrigued. Here's two:
Question: I'm scared. Does this mean I don't have what it takes? That I'm not committed?
Answer: You should be scared. You can get rid of the fear by doing something everyday about your idea. Eventually, you won't be afraid of it anymore, because it will get replaced with new fears.
Question: How do you know if it's time to give up rather than continuing to pursue a doomed venture?
Answer: The saying that real entrepreneurs never give up isn't entirely true. If three close friends tell you to give up, listen. Failure is fine as long as you, like that other saying says, try try again.
Of course, what Kawasaki has to say in his book is much more practical than this, spending a good amount of time on pitching, writing business plans, raising capital and branding, in ways that will hit home for anyone thinking about starting something new. But because I know that the process of innovating is as much disruptive as it is creative, I can't help but be intrigued by paying attention to the questions people avoid when they're trying to make something happen.
A long time ago, I learned that conflict itself is a powerful catalyst in the process of starting something new. It can be conflict between team players. It can be conflict within you. Dig into it and find out what it is. That's the action I'd like you to take, the one I mentioned at the start. You just might find something entirely new. If there's something you need and want, chances are there's someone else that needs and wants it too.
Chet Wesley is the director of communications at the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. The foundation makes investments in new growth-oriented companies and commercially driven research.