When people come to me for advice on their idea, startup, app, or whatever I often have a hard time concentrating because I haven’t been convinced yet that their idea is actually a big deal. It may seem like it’s a big deal to them (and it might really be) but they haven’t been able to express or articulate it in a way that makes sense or that will convince me (or others) that it’s worth pursuing.
Principally, most ideas are fantastic but failure to execute can often be found in a failure to communicate well. Sad, but oftentimes very true, especially if you’re trying to convince people to follow you, to invest in you, to partner with you, or especially if you’re interested in someone buying your product.
Here’s what I’m generally looking for – what I call the “Mountain Story”:
- You need to help me climb up this mountain (your idea) with you. This means that you must describe it in ways that make sense, using layman’s terms. Technical jargon and contextual vernacular bore and confuse me. And it doesn’t impress me or anyone else.
- You need to tell me what happens at the top of the mountain and why that’s such a big deal. What happens when you accomplish the said goal? Why does that really matter, not just to you but everyone else? What would the world lose if you didn’t make it to the top?
- You need to tell me with clarity where you’re starting your climb and why that is the very best place to start. You need to convince me that you have a plan, a strategy, or at least something that looks like it was intelligently thought through.
Sounds like a narrative, right? Sounds very much like a story.
Your failure might be because you’ve failed to communicate your mountain clearly to others. Again, in principle, your idea might be genius – but everything in our own heads when shared with ourselves is genius, right? Express it terribly in public and then it sounds like jibberish; foolishness.
Sadly, you’ll find yourself climbing alone.