Giving startups confidence is my mission. While this is related to design because that's the medium I've experienced these phrases through, it's applicable in other areas like pitching and sales.With that in mind, here are two phrases that make your startup sound desperate.
I just need...
This is a red flag as it implies that you are unaware of the gravitas needed for whatever you're asking for, or that you are aware and are trying to belittle the investment needed from whoever you're asking.
What to say instead:
I need to (task goes here), how can make it happen?
Damn, look at you and your confidence. This phrase is what would come from someone who is ready to partner up. They know what their goal is and they aren't trying to make it seem insignificant. Because if it was insignificant, they wouldn't care.
It's a simple site/logo/brochure/investment/whatever...
If it was simple you'd do it yourself. Don't bullshit. The truth is that simplicity is the greatest form of sophistication. Making something simple is hard and the fact that you're asking for help shows it.
What to say instead:
I need to (task goes here), how can we make it happen?
Notice a pattern forming here?
Look, the point is that asking for stuff is hard and it takes courage. But trying to belittle what you're asking for makes the results you want to achieve seem far fetched and not worth the effort.
Ask for things with confidence and be ready to accept answers you don't like. It will get you to the good ones.
Full disclosure, I am a Webflow Affiliate and I get monies for sending people to Webflow. Full story, I didn't start out that way and after using the platform to make epic websites for three years, I was given affiliate status.
The website of a startup is like a 24/7 sales person and it's the most extensive component of your branding efforts. It's the only place where investors and customers can experience your company and get a feel for who you are. It stands to reason, then, that if you cannot keep it alive and make it a pleasant experience, it becomes a crutch.
Before you even get started on building a site, chances are you'll do some research figuring out what platform to use. You'll probably explore options like WordPress, but, in my not-so-humble opinion, WordPress sucks compared to Webflow. For these three reasons: time, functionality, and creativity.
Time is your most valuable resource and while WordPress was great in being a first mover into making the web more accessible for makers, they fell off the tracks. It's still time consuming and difficult to make a WordPress site look and function exactly the way you need it, even with the help of developers. Webflow's designer tool allows you to skip over the back-and-forth between design and development. This saves time and it also cuts down on costs, since you are no longer dependent on developers to make design changes.
Any time the development team is taken out of the picture, the question of compromising functionality arises. Blanket statement: whatever you are looking to do Webflow can handle it. If you're worried, just ask these giant tech startups how much Webflow helped their marketing teams.
Furthermore, if you do need to bring in your dev team after 99% of the site has been built, they can add custom code with ease.
Lastly, creativity. New ideas come on quick and you have to move quick as a startup. Can you afford to wait for a designer to put something in sketch, pass it to the dev team, go back-and-forth to make sure it's right, have your marketing team edit it, and then launch? NO! You've gotta move and at the speed of creativity.
As if that wasn't enough, WordPress templates are rigid as hell and can't be molded easily. Certainly not without developer help. Startups can't afford to wait that long or have their developers doing rudimentary coding like front-end website building.
Point being, if your startup is not on Webflow, you are missing an opportunity.
Luke Skywalker is the greatest example of the "hero" archetype. He has humble beginnings and does not understand his full potential. At least, not until he is called to adventure after the murder of his Aunt, Uncle, and the desperate call of Princess Leia. Facing down this behemoth of a journey, you gotta wonder what was going on in his head at the time.
"I have no skills beyond moisture farming and I'm a decent pilot, but taking on the Empire? I need help."
That's where Obi-Wan Kenobi comes into play. The old wizard who sees the greatness within Luke and helps him to overcome his own, self-imposed limits. Despite the fact that Luke is lost without him, Obi-Wan never lets it be known. He's not focused on his own success, he's focused on the success of Luke. If Luke succeeds, that is his victory. Granted, he does all he can offering mentorship (guidance and knowledge of the Force), tools (lightsaber), instruction and feedback, and, most importantly, honest encouragement.
Here's the thing:
Most companies see themselves as Luke.They think they are the hero, that saving the world depends on them. They are wrong and their self-interest will not inspire others to be better. To quote Marty Neumeier "the best brand builders see greatness in their customers, and figure out ways to enable it."
Unleash your inner Obi-Wan, you rebel.