Why the success of your startup can depend on a great tagline.

I often come across business pitch decks, or even company websites that have fancy set of words that don’t really communicate what the company does. For example, a tagline like “Redefining Healthcare” feels grand, but does not give the reader any clues on what your company does. 

Instead, if the tagline were to be specific saying “Your neighborhood childcare clinic’, there is specificity in communicating what you are offering. If your tag line can also communicate your value proposition, it is ideal. E.g. “Affordable cardiac care”.

It is important to get the tagline and headline right because it is on the basis of these that your potential user/customer will decide if they want to explore your website/product further. Even if your consumer / customer desperately needs what you do, they will not bother to read the details on your website or brochure if the headline does not appeal to them? Your brand name/tagline and/or headline tells them exactly what you can do for them. 

A good tagline is important even when pitching to investors. VCs and angel investor networks get 100s of business plans every month. And a few individuals in VC firms have the task of sifting though these pitch decks to shortlist those that they think are worthy of more time. Because it is impossible for anyone to go through 100s of pitch decks very, very diligently, it is often the first impressions and the clarity of communication  of the first couple of slides that will decide whether the deck makes it to the ‘shortlisted for further review’ bucket. 

Also remember, the tagline you have for consumers/users/clients may be different than the description of the business that you have when you present to investors. Consumers need to know your value proposition for them, while investors need to know the business behind that value proposition. 

E.g. your tagline to consumers may be ‘Your neighborhood childcare clinic’. And that line may go below the logo. But when pitching to investors, you may want to add a headline to the title slide saying: “Raising Rs.2cr to scale up a chain of affordable, high-quality childcare clinics from the current 3 centres to 25 centres in Delhi NCR in 2 years’. This is important because an investor would like to understand the following:

  • What do you do 
  • How much funding are you asking for 
  • How long will that funding last, and what will you achieve with that funding 

If the answers to these three excite them, then investors are more likely to review the rest of your pitch deck with a lot more focus and seriousness. 


I urge startup founders to share their tagline (and other marketing collaterals, including website, with a few folks from outside their circle of family & friends and ask them what they understand about the company from that material. If you get multiple interpretations and inferences of what you might be doing, then go back to the drawing board and repeat the exercise till you get a sharp definition of your business that helps everyone instantly understand what you do. 

And often, it is the tagline about your brand that often has to carry the load of communicating what your business is all about. 


(This article is an adapted version of a chapter from my book, Starting Up & Fund Raising, a compilation of insights to help startups become better prepared for business and fund raising. The book is available on this link. When you buy the book, you also get vouchers worth over Rs.100,000/USD 1500 from our partners.)


Author: Prajakt Raut

Prajakt Raut is the founder of Applyifi.com, and author of the book for startups - ‘Starting Up & Fund Raising’ Prajakt personal goal in life is to encourage and assist a 100,000 people to become entrepreneurs. _____________ Prajakt is the founder of Applyifi - an online platform that provides startups a 36-point scorecard and assessment report on the venture's investment readiness [www.applyifi.com], and helps them improve their odds of getting funded. Prajakt is also the founding partner of The Growth Labs, a platform where growth-stage companies get sharp, incisive advice from senior professionals and experienced entrepreneurs. [www.thegrowthlabs.in] Before starting Applyifi, Prajakt was the head of operations at IAN, founding member of a leading incubator, and the Asia-Director for TiE (2004 - 2007). Previously Prajakt had co-founded Orange Cross, a healthcare services company, and was part of the founding team member of Idealake Technologies. While in college Prajakt had founded a printing business and has spent over 10 years working in leading advertising agencies. Prajakt’s book, ‘Starting Up & Fund Raising’, helps startups understand an investor’s perspective, and helps them improve their odds of getting funded. The book also helps entrepreneurs understand the building blocks of a business.

2 thoughts on “Why the success of your startup can depend on a great tagline.”

    1. ‘pets clinic at your beck and call’ …..can also be said as ‘its raining cats and dogs in the neighborhood’ but sometimes especially during that 30-sec elevator pitch you need to use a tag line to not just get their attention but also to make it stick, so that you can follow it up later on (or rather your cats n dogs might just as well do the job!!)

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