For many entrepreneurs in the startup space, pitching must become a second nature. While many inexperienced professionals imagine pitching only in the traditional sense- staring down a long table of executives in suits, armed only with presentation and clicker- but this style of pitching is no longer the only way to get your business seen. Networking events, casual coffee meetings, or even pitching competitions have all become the new backdrop for entrepreneurs to share their ambitious ideas and plans: and nailing these pitches is critical to ensuring funding.
According to top startup publications such as Startup Studio Insider, the pitch is not just a way to receive funding, but a way to reflect how your own presence will benefit a burgeoning business. “In our article The Top 8 Qualities of a Startup Founder we outline that there are certain qualities in an entrepreneur that help best set an organization up for success,” they note. “These qualities should carry over into your pitch, making it clear to potential investors that you have what it takes to take a business idea into a successful corporation.”
Becoming a successful pitcher can take a lot of practice, but anyone who is committed to developing the skills can be sure that with the right investment, they will soon be reaping the rewards.
1) Create a Narrative
No one likes to feel like they are just being spoken to, or worse, at. In order to help listeners and potential investors become and stay truly engaged in your pitch, it is essential to create a narrative. Good pitchers think like storytellers, weaving a tale that helps listeners understand the who, when, and why of your business, a method that is much more likely to achieve success.
A great way to develop a narrative is to place yourself front and center in the pitch, outlining why you developed your company, what it means to you, and where you are hoping to take it. Create an arc where you start at a baseline, then realize the need for your corporation, and then detail the actualization of your plan. This traditional narrative arc not only makes it easier for investors to follow you, but it also gives them a reason to care.
2) Be Specific
Specificity is key to making sure your potential investors are taking away the right details and information from your pitch. Keeping your presentation as short as possible, while still including the most important information, is a critical part of successful pitches. Specificity can look like many different things, but at its core is making sure you’re drilling the essential parts of your business in your pitch. Getting across a mission statement, key business points, as well as a few data points are some of the most important areas to focus on when trying to utilize specificity in your pitches.
3) Demonstrate Value
If you know what your investors are looking for in particular, utilize this to your advantage! Show them how your organization is going to create change and value for them. Being able to concretely explain how you will be able to make change is essential to developing new business, as well as creating trust with potential investors. Use this to show how your organization is different from its competitors. If you can differentiate yourself, you’re one step closer to securing funding.
4) Show Confidence
The unfortunate truth is that when you’re pitching, the flaws you present are often also seen as flaws in your business itself. This means you really need to bring your confidence into these meetings. As long as you’re confident in yourself and your work, you’d be surprised at the flaws investors overlook. They need to see you as trustworthy and experienced, and confidence in the room is the easiest way to make sure you come across correctly. Trust that you are worth listening to, and they will listen to you.
Of course, none of this often comes naturally. This is why practicing is such a critical part of successful pitching. Practicing over and over, both alone and with an audience, is essential to making sure that when the right moment comes you won’t miss your shot!
Pitching is a challenging skill to master, but once you do master it you’ll be well-positioned to take your new business ideas to the next level. For more information on startups and pitching be sure to check out Startup Studio Insider!