A Little Song & Dance Goes a Long Way

One of us from Idea Cafe is at a family party or meeting with people we want to work with. And it never fails — just as we pop a yummy dessert tray cookie in our mouth, some innocent soul says, “So, what do you do? What’s Idea Cafe?” All of a sudden we’re on the spot. We’ve only got a minute or so (tops!) to introduce Idea Cafe and get them interested in the concept. Some Net-naive family members still think we’re running a coffee shop, not a website!

Even if your business concept is more familiar, chances are you get put in the same spot. You often have to give an impromptu one-minute presentation that says who you are, what you do, and why anyone should bother. Many kinds of presentations are useful, but before you invest in PowerPoint and videoconferencing, it’s invaluable to master the One-Minute Presentation Schpiel*.

*Schpiel is Yiddish for a song and dance routine. As with any song and dance, it helps to rehearse. Get it ready before you’re on the spot.

Four Questions to Help You Create the Most Effective One-Minute Presentation Schpiel

1. What do you want them to remember most? They won’t remember everything — so choose carefully! Maybe you’re the leading manufacturer of your product. Or the first to have designed it. Or the only one in the tri-state area.

Example: Idea Cafe is the leading small business website on the Internet.

2. Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) This is a phrase or sentence that describes your biz in a nutshell. (Check here for more on creating your USP.)

Example: Idea Cafe offers a fun approach to serious business.

3. What would add credibility to you? Have you been in business five years? Do you sell stationery to Levi’s? Were you recently featured in a trade magazine?

Example: Idea Cafe is a pioneer on the modern Internet, having gone live in 1995.

4. What benefits can you offer this person? If you know what the need of the person is, tie that into your description. What can you do for them?

Example: If we were talking to potential advertisers, we’d say we create an atmosphere where advertisers can show a great commitment to the needs of the small biz community.

Another example: If it were the chamber of commerce, we’d say Idea Cafe provides a hearty banquet of great biz ideas for free — ideas that help when you’re feeling alone with a problem.

Things to Avoid

* Telling people how you do your biz. Don’t explain the process. The natural inclination is to talk about your workaday goings-on, anecdotes, extraneous info, industry-specific facts. Avoid jargon!!

* Prices or costs unless it works to your benefit or it’s part of your positioning.

Selling yourself short with qualifiers.

Example: We have just nine employees. We’ve been in business only three years. We’ve just started. There’s no need to bring our insecurities into the formula. Don’t highlight the things you don’t/can’t do.

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Author Amir Esmann

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