We’ve all seen the TV shows where a person or team pitches a business idea to a group of potential investors, and after the harsh criticism and ruthless negotiations, a flawless pitch is awarded with great investments. Although most of this is made-for-TV excitement, there is a format to delivering a great pitch to investors.
What’s the secret to giving such great pitch presentations? Hours of practice, understanding some essential elements, and learning the Art to telling a story are the key! A great pitch is one that can tell that story, while keeping the audience engaged on the solution your product or company provides. Here are 10 essential elements that must be included in a business pitch.
The first two elements are identifying a problem and a solution. Explaining these first two elements is key to grabbing the audience’s attention and telling them why they should care. Maybe they didn’t even know it was an issue. Maybe it’s a known problem, but no one has come up with a good solution until YOU pitch your idea.
The next part of the pitch is where you get into the heart of your idea and discuss the details of your product or service and explain what the market size and opportunity is and why now is the ideal time to launch your idea. This is where the Art of pitching comes in. You’ve heard it said, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” right? Well, showing the audience an actual picture of your idea can help them visualize how it solves the problem you identified. It’s the “Ah-HA!” moment that shows why now is a critical time to launch this product or service and convinces the audience to act now. Time is of the essence!
The next step is all about finances and how your company is differentiated from all the other options available. One important note: Even if your technology is disruptive to the market or you have a patented product, there are almost always alternatives which provide some level of competition to what you offer. Don’t make the mistake of seeing your company as unrivaled. During this part of the presentation, include details on how you make money (business model), your target audience and how you plan to reach them (marketing and growth strategy), and be sure to discuss your competition, because you likely will have some. Include background on your team, their experience, and how they will ensure your success. This is also the time to show projected financials for the next three to five years, which should correspond to your business model. If this area seems daunting, don’t fear! Many founders struggle with the financial aspect of business. There are many business accelerators out there that were founded for this very need, and you can find the resources needed at the Launch Network.
Lastly, the final essential element to a successful pitch is the “Ask!” What are you asking this audience to do for you? Invest in your business? Help you find a strategic partner to sell your product or service? Provide business advice? All of these are appropriate things to ask for, but if you do ask for an investment, be sure to explain how the money will be used. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to let your passion and excitement show! This is part of the Art of pitching; know when to appropriately show your passion during your pitch, and how to get, and keep, your audience’s attention.
These steps may feel like a lot to include in one presentation, but that’s why it’s necessary to carefully plan out your pitch, and practice, practice, practice! Don’t forget that you have a time limit and need be clear and concise. Practicing with a friend, family member, or total stranger will help you become more comfortable. If you need any additional information, there are tons of available resources on the Launch Network website that can get you ready to pitch a masterpiece.
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Julie Gilley Milam/EAP