The Art of Pitching
Great ideas need a clear voice
Talented people may have great ideas but may never get heard or public exposure, that's exactly why presenting skills are essential.
WHAT IS A BUSINESS PITCH, WHY HAVE A PITCH DECK?A business pitch is basically delivering a business plan verbally.
A pitch typically takes the form of an entrepreneur or group of entrepreneurs presenting or describing their ideas to prospective investors.
If you need to raise funding from VCs for your startup or innovative SME, the first step is to create a pitch deck. A pitch deck is a brief presentation (usually based on slides) that provides the audience with an overview of your business. It is often created using PowerPoint or Keynote, or lately with Prezi.
Regardless of the means chosen to pitch, the aim is typically the same; describing a business opportunity with the intention of securing funding to develop the idea further.
Typically, entrepreneurs commence the pitch with a description of the market and the need, and how the team intends to respond in an original and unique way to that need. The presenter then describes the opportunity and motivates a request for a certain amount of funding in return for a percentage of equity in the business. He/she then concludes with a Q&A session.
If an offer is made by an investor and it is accepted, due diligence will be undertaken to ensure that the investment opportunity is as it was described and that the key financials stand up to critical examination.
LEARNING TO PITCH!Personally I have quite some experience pitching myself and I have seen even more, and unfortunately the level of preparation always shows through. Or, may be, fortunately, it depends on how you see it and how well prepared you are.
Should Pitch training then be made mandatory, before startups are invited to appear before investors? What do you think?
Doing a good pitch is no rocket science, but you must do your homework!
First of all, explain yourself in the first minute.
Explain what you do, why you do it, why they should listen to you for the rest of your pitch.
Then know your audience.
The foundation of a great pitch is the research you do before the meeting starts.
- Learn what’s important to your audience.
- Do your research. Visit the organization’s Web site, use Google searches, read reports and talk to your industry contacts to gather core information about the audience and their background.
- Third, brainstorm with your team to find the connections, hooks and angles to make the pitch powerful and meaningful.
Your pitch deck is just your tool, Use slides to lead, not read. They should paraphrase and enhance what’s coming out of your mouth.
Come in early and check everything, have your backups. Be prepared for all possible situations.
So you can focus on your audience, of which you now know the expectations.
Remember also, that your pitch doesn’t have to be pretty, just effective.
What not to do:
A common mistake many entrepreneurs make is to pitch their product to investors, but investors don’t invest in products, they invest in businesses, and in the teams that manage these businesses. Obvious?
So, why do many pitch decks then miss the point?
So you could see it like this:
A well-structured pitch deck and a superbly executed pitch are the fastest and easiest way for you to explain your business to investors.
This improves the odds, right?
Investors see many pitches!
Therefore your task is to convince them that your business offers a greater return, with less risk, than all the other businesses that they are looking at.
And that you have a team able to execute.
THE LANGUAGE BARRIERSo one thing is learning to pitch, and another one is pitching in English.
We might already say that pitching in your mother tongue to investors and other stakeholders isn't easy and requires preparation, imagine how difficult it is if English is your second language?
So when our startup friends go to pitch in London (or NY or Bay City), in a foreign language (typically in English) we should help them and train them because "Practice makes Perfect".
Pitching over and over again is the only way to learn to do it well.
Twenty-five times is what it takes for most people to reach this level.
If you don't know anybody speaking English well enough, and you have to go to pitch, you can always follow the link below.
Link to learning to pitch.
We do have the experience to make you perfect, it's up to you, we will train you and we will help you.
So, to conclude, you first need to be able to pitch well in your own language. And then to rehearse to do it up to perfection.
Once we're ready and can pitch extremely well, we can go to the second stage and start doing it in another language (English).
Pitching in English also involves:
- Pitching clearly and with the right vocabulary.
- Pronouncing accurately, so people understand your message.
- Master public speaking to a live audience in English.
Picture of an actual pitch in London performed by Joshua Priore (digital startup Worldz) at an event organized by iStarter with the Italian Trade Agency.