The One-Sentence Test: Can you say what your business is about in one sentence?

Whether you call it; a quick pitch, an elevator pitch, a concise summary, a 30-second pow-wow intro, or a vision/mission statement… introductions are super important.

So, I ask you, can you say what your business is about in one sentence?

In our busy and bustling world, every interaction counts, so being able to define the essence of your business succinctly is more than just a skill—it’s an essential art form.

Especially for those of you working in the hospitality profession. I often say to others, whether you’re orchestrating the seamless elegance of a boutique hotel, artistically producing artisan products, curating culinary experiences that tantalise the taste buds or crafting cozy retreats that feel like a home away from home…capturing the heart of your hospitality venture in a single sentence is akin to distilling the very soul of your enterprise.

Dame Karen Jones, who co-founded Café Rouge and is currently chair of Hawksmoor, recently said in The Sunday Times that entrepreneurs will be better placed to inspire their staff and customers if they can “define, quickly and clearly, the essence of what their company can offer” through what she calls the one-sentence test. 

“Do you have that clear-eyed vision – the single, simple sentence that contains within it the distillation of all your thoughts? It’s very difficult to pass this ‘one-sentence test’; it has to be memorable, it has to be short, and you must love saying it (you will say it a lot), and so must your people. It is your ‘what’, expressing the essence of what you are as a company – and if you aren’t clear about that, why should customers buy into what you offer?”

What an incredibly spot-on, thought-provoking quote from Dame Karen Jones. The truth is, we aren’t going to create successful businesses and venues, where everyone is culturally aligned and on board, if we don’t know who we are or what we are offering.

As part of the Hospitality Hero masterclass I cover – ‘Leading Mission, Vision and Values’ – and, as part of this module I explain that your one-sentence provides a clear purpose – it answers the question, “Why do we exist?” – it guides actions and decisions.

As a founder and leader, it’s key to practise delivering your one-sentence until it feels natural and effortless. You should be able to deliver it confidently in any situation.

Personally, my one-sentences are communicated regularly with my teams and pinned to the walls of staff rooms within my venues. It’s part of briefings, staff inductions and one-to-one meetings – they create alignment and momentum.

Your one sentence needs to serve as the compass, guiding all facets of your venue, enterprise, startup...

It’s not merely a statement; it’s the nucleus from which all actions radiate, fostering alignment, momentum and a sense of purpose.

Embracing this challenge isn’t just about crafting words; it’s about distilling the very soul of your venture into a memorable, impactful declaration.

So, could you pass the one-sentence test?