A lot of people I counsel at SCORE lack focus. For some reason, they tend to make whatever they want to do, more complicated than it needs to be. Focusing on your core product or service is far better than the shot gun approach of doing everything. Focus is an important aspect of all things but more important when starting a company. Having a clear vision will allow you and your team to build what you want to build.
Lack of focus shows lack of vision. When you hear a pitch that is all things to all people, it is clear that nothing has been thought through. When you ask, “Explain this to me in a paragraph” and you get “A paragraph is not enough room”, you know focus is an issue. Every idea, no matter how big or complex, can be explained in a paragraph. This is critical to get right because it shows that you have thought through what you want to do and are not caught up in your own world.
Crafting the one-paragraph pitch is difficult but essential. Being able to breakdown your complex product or service into easily digestible bits ensure that your intended audience will understand what it is you are doing. This is also a good exercise because of the time constraints we are all under. People do not have time to read 3 pages of description and have it sink in. You have to grab them, hook them in and want them to read more.
Most big idea people will push back on the “simplification” of their grand invention. They take it as an insult that you don’t understand their baby and that you must be stupid or something like that. That attitude is completely wrong. Your job, as the inventor of the next big thing, is to convenience me, the consumer, to buy it. If I don’t understand what it is, that is entirely your fault, not mine.
The best method to focus the mind on what it is you do best, is to describe it in a paragraph. This elevator pitch is what will hook people into your world and if done right, will leave them wanting more.