Redefining digital enterprise
At one time or another, every entrepreneur has to make a business pitch.
Now, to say this is important would be a huge understatement. Your business pitch will determine whether or not you’ll secure the investment you need to get your enterprise off the ground. Failing to deliver a compelling pitch may hamper your chances with a critical investor, and potentially cost you a life-changing opportunity.
Like many of my fellow entrepreneurs, I know just how hard it is to create a powerful, persuasive pitch. Not only do you have to engage your audience, you have to show how and why their money will be well spent.
To help you make the best pitch you can, here are five expert tips – your future may well hinge on them …
Let’s be honest: even the best pitch can go on too long. The last thing you want to do is outstay your welcome – get in, wow your audience, get out.
While it may sound impressive to use plenty of technical terms and lengthy explanations that make you sound smart, you can impress your potential investors more with compelling facts.
Your audience wants to see how your business attracts customers, keeps them satisfied, and generates revenue. If you can’t make your listeners understand who you are, why they should work with you, and make it difficult for them to say no within ten minutes or less, try to trim your pitch back a little.
Remember: if your potential investors want to know more, they can always ask.
Chances are, your audience will be experienced, intelligent, and have a stronger grasp of business than you. While it can be tempting to stride into that conference room and claim your venture will bring in billions by the end of the first year, unrealistic projections can scupper the pitch before it’s begun.
So, demonstrate that you have a sound grasp of realistic business-growth. Explore the best, decent, and worst possible outcome of the business using your own research – and show how you’re taking steps to avoid anything BUT the best results.
Again, be brief when presenting evidence with data, charts etc.
Today more than ever, narrative is a crucial part of selling. Think of all those advertisements you see that tell a story or present believable characters you’re supposed to care about: stories engage us, and they can make all the difference when pitching your idea.
Tell your audience where your idea came from, how much hard work you’ve put in to achieve your dream, and what you can offer them (and your prospective customers) that nobody else can.
Keep it short and sweet, but keep it sincere. Investors will likely know if you’re lying or over-exaggerating your story – and they’ll wonder what else you may be willing to lie about.
It’s all too easy to be vague when discussing customers. You need to explain explicitly who your target audience is, using research you’ve conducted.
For example, if you’re selling a new type of chopping board that’s self-cleaning, show evidence to support how much faster and safer your product is. Try to set-up a trial session with professional chefs and domestic cooks, and get their feedback.
Present key data that shows how and why your product or service belongs on the market. If your investors can see your business is worthwhile instantly, without having to dig deeper, you’ll already be on their good side.
This is a given, but you absolutely MUST be professional during your business pitch.
If you become flustered, if you get frustrated with your audience’s incessant questions, or if you simply need a break, don’t lose your cool. Snapping at your potential investors or showing that you may difficult to work with will only damage your chances.
Dress to impress. Speak clearly. Smile. Be confident. Make it easy for listeners to like you. Otherwise, you could end up as your own worst enemy.
I hope these tips help you make a killer business pitch in years to come. Finding the right investors for your venture can be a long, difficult, exhausting process – but keep at it! When you finally launch your company and start generating that all-important revenue, all that hard work will only make the reward even sweeter.