Learning the Art of the Start – Part 2

4 04 2008

This is the second in a series of posts on The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. Part one was on “why you’re starting” and part three covers “getting cash and getting going”.

As I mentioned in part one of this series, the second section of The Art of the Start (articulation) is basically a guide on how to describe what you do as a business. The first part of this section covers positioning, which according to Guy should “represent the heart and soul of a new organization”.

The first question posed in this section is simple: What do you do?

The answer to this question should be (among other things) self-explanatory, customer-centric, positive, relevant and empowering. Here are a couple answers that I came up with:

We make life easier for climbing gym managers through intuitive software to centralize and streamline indoor climbing operations.

We provide peace of mind for climbing gym managers by enabling them to centralize and streamline their indoor climbing operations.

Making the above positioning statement customer-centric for me was a bit of a challenge. As a geek I tend to talk more about the product than about the people it helps and how it helps them. Guy suggests making the positioning statement personal so that it truly connects with the intended customer. In my case that might mean my positioning statement could include phrases such as “Enables you to grow your climbing gym”, “helps you know your wall”, or “Keep Frank the first time visitor from slipping through the cracks”.

My positioning statement also contains a few words that are positive but not specific, such as intuitive, streamlined, and powerful. Guy suggests further explaining these to give them real meaning. For example, intuitive means that you can set it up in less than an hour, and users need no training. Streamlined means that only the features you need to see are there, and there is no confusing or complex program to learn. Powerful should convey the idea that all the features you need to run a climbing wall are included.

Guy also covers pitching to investors and customers in this section, along with how to name your product and churn out a business plan. I’ve got the name covered (that was quite an ordeal), and I feel prepared to give a product pitch…but I don’t think I’ll formalize my business plan, even though there may be some value in it.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a business model and haven’t thought through a realistic estimate on the number of sales I could generate. Check back next week for a few of my thoughts on the third section of The Art of the Start (activation), which has some great tips on raising capital and getting going.

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11 04 2008
Learning the Art of the Start - Part 1 « Another Startup

[…] 28 03 2008 This is the first in a series of posts on The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. Part two is on “describing what you do” and part three covers “getting cash and getting […]

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