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How to Write a Startup Company Description and Why It’s Important

With ever-shrinking attention spans, it’s critical for your health tech startup to have a concise, straight-to-the-point description that your target audience cares about

2023 is still fresh, so it’s a good time to revisit your go-to-market strategy and reassess your website’s effectiveness. What better place to start than your company’s description?

Your description is the most basic part of your company’s positioning. This short, right-up-front introduction sums up who you are, whom you serve, and why they should care.

At Green Room Technologies, I spend a lot of time identifying health tech and medical device companies on Linkedin and websites that may need our help with their market, technology, and investor readiness and how they can go from a good idea to a successful business.


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It’s a real pleasure to find a company description that leaves me wanting to learn more. More frequently, however, I have to wade through several paragraphs that ultimately leave me uncertain about what they do. And I move on. Imagine what your potential customers are doing.

As Green Room Technologies’ Chief Medical Office and long-time investor Bob Teague, MD has observed, “The sheer volume of pitch ideas demands an understanding of the ‘what it is’ in the first few words. This requires work and practice and unfortunately seems to occur infrequently.”

Poorly conceived and written descriptions are lost opportunities to move your prospect down the sales funnel. A great description, on the other hand, gets to the point and conveys urgency, purpose, and confidence. It indicates you have really thought through your value proposition which is critical for early success.

Description vs Elevator Pitch vs Mission Statement

You might first ask what’s the difference between a company description, elevator pitch, and mission statement?  Good question.

There is a lot of overlap. A company description and an elevator pitch are similar; both are short descriptions that provide a concise explanation of your company, product, service or solution. Both typically explain who your product or service is for, what it does, why it is needed, and how it will get done.

The distinction I make is that elevator pitches feel like they are on a timer — as in the time it takes to ride an elevator between floors and explain your idea, typically to an investor. There may not be a clear buyer–seller relationship. A description in my mind keeps the customers’ needs front and center.

As for a mission statement, I look to wikipedia who defines it as an expression by a company’s leaders “to communicate their organization’s purpose and direction to its employees, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders.”

Mission statements often have an internal focus and do not typically change over time, since they define a continuous, ongoing purpose and direction. A company description evolves regularly to reflect changing market opportunities and conditions.

Common Description Mistakes

So what are common mistakes that companies make in crafting their descriptions?

Consider these examples gleaned from Linkedin. There are countless others.

  • “exists to improve and empower the health of individuals and communities through innovation.”
  • “innovative disruptive digital technology designed to improve communication between healthcare staff and patients.”
  • a performance and growth marketing agency on a mission to help health and tech companies achieve global success by delivering innovative marketing and growth strategies.

First of all, lots of filler words that don’t clarify what you do. Who isn’t focused on performance and growth? What does innovation really mean?

And when was the last time healthcare staff wanted their routine disrupted?

This example is better but I would jump right in and flip the order of these first two paragraphs

Close to 50% of kids who need mental health care don’t get it due to the shortage or zero mental health support in their community. This is contributing to the rapid rise in suicides and self-harm and is also impacting society and costing the healthcare industry billions of dollars.

TQIntelligence’s Clarity AI ”voice technology uses short voice recordings, AI and machine learning to help therapists quickly and effectively diagnose mental health issues.”

I think this one hits the mark — free of needless fluff, targets an audience, and describes a need.

CBOH is a female-led digital health platform that makes it easy to control and share health information. We serve as a clinical aggregation tool that organizes health information from disparate sources and facilitates communication between patients, caretakers, and providers.

Our proprietary ML provides decision support to physicians, reducing costs and improving quality of care. CBOH is deploying this technology in the under-solutioned $4.5B concierge medicine market.

As marketers, we can fall into basic bad habits:

Myopic:  Making sure all your internal constituencies are represented and not paying attention on the specific needs of your customers. Focusing on what you think is important, not what the market does.

Marketing Speak: Stringing buzz words together. Bad company descriptions include needless marketing speak (“best in class,” “comprehensive,”  “bleeding edge,” “market disruptor,” “synergy,” “innovative,” etc.) or industry shorthand  (“platform,” “AI-driven,” “data-driven,” “cloud-based.”)  You may in fact be a platform, are driven by AI and have a solution in the cloud. But these words lose their punch when they are thrown in assuming your audience understands your meaning.

Techno-Jargon: Speaking in very technical terms resulting in company descriptions that are more like an engineering manual — focusing more on the how than the why. As Steven Pinker writes in “The Sense of Style,” jargon is like the “curse of knowledge.” We are so accustomed to using certain terms and phrases in a certain way within our companies that they become a short-hand that your audience may not understand or assign a different meaning to them.

A Company Description Template to Get Things Started

So if you really want to attract customers and pull in investors, consider the following template for getting your target audience to dig deeper and contact you:

  1. State whom you’re serving (patients, providers, payers) and your solution to their specific need
  2. Next list your benefits (primary and secondary).
  3. Then explain the magnitude of the problem you’re addressing and how your company is qualified (not “uniquely”) to serve your target customer
  4. Lastly, explain simply state how it works (secret sauce)

Granted your company may have multiple product lines and separate target audiences. Fair point, but your job is to find unifying features that underlie your value proposition and point of differentiation.

Some More Do’s and One Don’t

Tip:  Ask some of your best customers to describe what you do and why they use you


Dos

  • Respect Your Readers – Make sure every part of your description is there to serve your customer
  • Be Specific – Use concrete examples to illustrate your key differentiation
  • Be Consistent – Use the same or similar language on your website, social media sites, marketing collateral, pitch decks, investor presentations, and press releases
  • Include a Call to Action – Typically where your reader can get more information or a demo
  • Check Out the Competition – Review the competition to compare descriptions and sharpen differences

Don’ts

  • Don’t Belabor Pain Points – Focus on your solution
  • Avoid Superlatives – Words like “best,” “only,” and “biggest” are hard to prove, or worse, not accurate
  • Avoid Needless Adjectives – Words like “comprehensive,” “expert,” and “experienced,” strike me as filler. Where you can, let action verbs do your talking.

What Next?

Need feedback on your company description, mission statement, or elevator pitch? Drop us a line. We’re happy to review your marketing materials and offer initial recommendations.

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