The SaaS App Startup Journey


1.5: Initial Messaging


Crafting a compelling message that resonates with your potential marketplace constituents is a pivotal step towards establishing a strong foundation for your business. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of “Initial Messaging,” exploring techniques to create an elevator pitch and tagline that capture your value proposition succinctly and powerfully.

Our focus: 

  1. How You Create Value for the Customer: This refers to the ways in which your product, service, or solution benefits and meets the needs of your customers. It’s about understanding the unique advantages and positive outcomes that your offering provides to your target audience.
  2. Revenue Model: A revenue model outlines how a business generates revenue or income. It describes the various sources of revenue that a company relies on to sustain its operations. This could include pricing strategies, sales channels, and different monetization approaches.
  3. Business Model: A business model is a comprehensive plan that describes how a company creates, delivers, and captures value. It encompasses various aspects of a business, including its target market, value proposition, distribution channels, revenue streams, cost structure, and more.
  4. Initial Messaging in the Form of an Elevator Pitch and Tagline:
    1. Elevator Pitch: An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that’s designed to spark interest in what you or your business does. It’s called an “elevator pitch” because it should be concise enough to be delivered during the time it takes to ride an elevator, typically 30 seconds to 2 minutes. An effective elevator pitch succinctly communicates your value proposition, key benefits, and what makes your offering unique.
    2. Tagline: A tagline is a short and memorable phrase or sentence that encapsulates the essence of a product, brand, or company. It’s often used in marketing and advertising to create a quick and lasting impression in the minds of the audience.

Start with “Why” Framework 

This framework begins by articulating your purpose, followed by how you fulfill that purpose and what you offer. Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” methodology is a powerful tool for creating a message that resonates with your audience’s core values.


  1. Discover the Why: Begin by identifying the core purpose or belief that drives your product, service, or organization. Ask questions like “Why does it exist?” or “What problem does it aim to solve?” to uncover the deeper meaning and motivation behind what you do.
  2. Clarify the How: Once you have a clear understanding of the “Why,” articulate the unique approach or methodology through which you deliver on that purpose. Highlight the differentiating factors, values, or principles that guide your actions and differentiate you from competitors.
  3. Define the What: Finally, determine the tangible products, services, or solutions that you offer. This is the most visible and easily describable aspect of your offering. However, it should be presented in a way that aligns with the “Why” and the “How” to create a consistent and compelling narrative.
  4. Craft the Message: Develop a concise and impactful message that communicates the “Why” in a way that resonates with your target audience. The message should inspire and connect with people on an emotional level, rather than focusing solely on features or benefits. It should answer the question of why someone should care about what you do.
  5. Communicate Authentically: Ensure that the messaging is authentic and reflects the true essence of your purpose and beliefs. Avoid generic or exaggerated claims that may come across as inauthentic or insincere. Be consistent in all forms of communication, whether it’s in marketing materials, website content, or customer interactions.
  6. Connect with Emotions: Emphasize storytelling and narratives that appeal to people’s emotions and values. Create a sense of belonging, meaning, or aspiration that aligns with the “Why” and resonates with your audience’s desires and aspirations. Emotionally engaged customers are more likely to become loyal advocates.
  7. Inspire Action: Use the “Why” messaging to motivate and inspire action. Clearly communicate the intended impact or transformation that your product or service can create in people’s lives. Encourage your audience to join your cause, support your mission, or benefit from the value you offer.
  8. Iterate and Refine: Continuously assess and refine your messaging based on feedback, audience response, and market dynamics. Test different variations, gather insights, and adapt the messaging to ensure it remains relevant and compelling over time.

The Three-Minute Rule

Structure your pitch with an engaging opening story, an explanation of your idea and its mechanics, and a callback to your opening story. This technique creates a memorable connection and addresses doubts by revisiting a pivotal moment that inspired your startup.


  1. Opening – To start your pitch, you should begin by telling your audience about your reason for being. This is the story of how and why you became interested, invested or involved in the idea, product, service or company you’re pitching to them. Now, you can’t tell the entire story; you’re just looking for a sentence or two here. With that in mind, try to remember your “aha” moment – the moment everything clicked and you realized you were onto something with whatever it is you’re pitching. 
  2. What is it? – You should now consider related questions your audience might have about the nature of what you’re pitching. If it’s a service, they might want you to explain what problems it solves, who it can help or what makes it unique. If it’s a business venture, they might ask about the potential payoff, or why this is a good time to pursue it.
  3. How does it work? – In the same vein, the question “How does it work?” should lead you to anticipate other questions about how you’ll deliver on what you’re promising. For example, if you’re pitching a project, how long will it take? How will you accomplish it? What resources do you have at your disposal? 
  4. Callback – A quick and compelling anecdote to tell your audience about the moment you became convinced you were onto something, when your belief turned into a conviction. 
  5. Are you sure? – Likewise, the question “Are you sure?” encompasses any concerns your audience might have about whether you can back up your claims. For example, if you said your service was the best in the industry, what do your reviews say about it? What kind of stats do you have? 
  6. All is Lost – Tell your audience about a problem that jeopardized – or continues to jeopardize – the viability of the thing you’re pitching. Then, you tell your audience the way you overcame or plan on overcoming the problem.
  7. Can you do it? – Finally, the question “Can you do it?” relates more broadly to your ability to deliver on your promises. For instance, if you claim you’re the right person to lead a project, your audience might want to know about your training and background. They may also ask how you’ve dealt with similar challenges in the past. 

Risk Mitigation and Execution

Acknowledge potential risks and have a well-defined plan to mitigate them. Investors value a comprehensive understanding of potential challenges and your strategies to overcome them. Highlight tangible milestones and accomplishments to showcase your ability to execute and deliver on your promises.

Application of Frameworks

Example 1: Michael Dell’s Pitch (1984)

Imagine Michael Dell’s pitch for Dell Computer in 1984. He emphasized the untapped consumer market, contrasting it with the established business market. This approach illustrates the “Start with Why” and “Jobs to be Done” frameworks, focusing on the underserved consumer segment and their needs.

Example 2: $12 Million Startup Pitch

A real-life pitch that secured $12 million utilized elements of the three-minute rule. It highlighted market opportunities, strategy, and anticipated returns. This pitch structure showcased the entrepreneur’s ability to articulate value and demonstrate a clear path to success.

Condensing Your Message: Elevator Pitches and Taglines

Crafting compelling messaging involves refining and condensing your message into different versions. Start with a broad overview that incorporates various frameworks, then gradually narrow it down to an elevator pitch and tagline that succinctly capture your value proposition.

Continual Refinement and Feedback

Messaging is an ongoing process. Continually gather feedback and make adjustments based on the responses and reactions you receive. As a startup founder, your ability to adapt and refine your message will greatly influence your success.


In the world of startups, initial messaging is a cornerstone of success. By mastering these frameworks and techniques, you can effectively communicate your value proposition, engage your audience, and set the stage for meaningful connections with potential customers, investors, and stakeholders. As you move forward, remember that initial messaging is not a static entity; it evolves as your business grows and adapts to the dynamic marketplace.

Thank you for taking the time to explore the art of crafting compelling initial messaging with us. If you have any questions, comments, or insights to share, we invite you to join the conversation below. Stay tuned for future resources and steps to refine your messaging journey.

Action Items:

  • Craft clear and concise messaging that emphasizes how our product or service directly addresses customer pain points and fulfills their needs.
  • Develop a strategy to showcase how our offering positively impacts the economics for customers, emphasizing benefits without adding costs.
  • Prioritize and prominently feature the time and cost-saving aspects of our solution in our messaging to effectively communicate these advantages to customers.


Here are some frequently asked questions

How do I know my Idea can be invested in?

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How do I know what my idea is worth?

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When do I start pitching to Venture Capitalists about my idea?

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