Not many sleeps until Santa now. Today was Friday, the 3rd last working day before Christmas, for many people the last working day so our office had a very festive feel and was slightly louder than usual, lovely day.

BbzG3qDIEAIZuUP

I was quite taken by the simplicity of the message depicted in this diagram – it perfectly illustrates one of the most important things in business, the need to keep your message simple. Complexity is easy but it’s also confusing to your customer. Sir Richard Branson describes it perfectly “Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It’s hard to make something simple”.

Common-sense aye? surprisingly it seems not. Product companies seem to have understood and digested the message, software-as-a-service product companies especially so. Yet services companies, at least in our local markets, still overcomplicate their key messaging, unique value proposition and elevator pitch.

Shane and I have met quite a few startups recently and are surprised at how few can nail the 60 second elevator pitch message or can tell us in very few words what their unique value proposition is. This is something we have been thinking about and researching a lot recently – so here are some tips to keeping it simple.

1. Rework your messaging, then rework it again and again, messaging should be short and sharp without fluff or surplus words that add no value. Less really is more sometimes.

2. Find your niche, draw a circle and define your boundaries, then you will have a sound basis for deciding whether a feature or a service offering are in or out of your niche. Then stick to your knitting, it might look attractive to chase down work that is outside your circle but it complicates the message and confuses the market.

3. Use Twitter, that 140 Characters really makes you hone your message so use it, trial a new message on twitter – does it work? seek feedback, rework the message and try it again.

4. Ask your customers, can they tell you what you do? do they understand your product or service proposition? a great way to hear whether your message is reaching it’s audience.

There is so much more to write on this topic but that wouldn’t be keeping it simple so I am off to enjoy a lovely weekend of family Christmas festivities – along with chaos and maybe some stress thrown in. Vic.