As a startup founder and an entrepreneur, the most important asset you need in the beginning is to be able to clearly pitch your business to investors and venture capitalists. You might not be after funding or investment, but, whatever the circumstances are, you will need a solid pitch to explain your startup to many different audiences. This pitch needs to prove one thing above all: That you know what you are talking about.
For a startup founder, a short, concise, and well-articulated pitch will be useful for a number of occasions; even when you are explaining your business to family members—which is a great exercise to put your narrative to test.
Oftentimes, especially if you’re after funding, you will only have a few minutes to pitch your startup to investors and VCs. Here’s a few pointers on how to make your pitch a good one.
Start off by asking the questions most important to you and your startup, then answer them by presenting your vision in a simple, clear and concise manner. Have the right numbers to back your pitch, and present your startup in an effective way that aligns with the stage of the startup and its product. It is the job of your angel investor or VC to consider your pitch, as opposed to you, so listen carefully, because you could get out of your current deal and lose a lot of cash. For this reason, it’s crucial to prepare a logical, carefully designed pitch and make sure you stick to the key message in it. Avoid jargon at all costs, especially when you’re going for a VC or angel investor.
Crafting Your Message
When it comes to pitching, knowing your message is everything. In the short amount of time you have to explain your business, you don’t want to look like you’re coming across with heavy jargon. That’s what many first-time entrepreneurs fear. You’ll want to avoid using jargon, but you also don’t want to come off sounding like you’re coming across with ignorance. Below are a few questions that can help you craft your messaging, depending on whether or not you’re seeking funding for a business or for a personal project. If you’re seeking funding: What problem are you trying to solve? Is it one that’s endemic to your industry, or is it something you’ve discovered on your own? What difference can your product or service make?
The Elevator Pitch
You’ll be pitching investors for a wide variety of reasons. The list of possible pitches is as long as your arm. In reality, you’ll be pitching to investors to raise as much capital as you possibly can. If that’s not the case, then your potential investors are probably here for a number of reasons. Some may be looking for contacts for a possible partnership in the future, others for new venture capital funding, and others may want to invest in your company for an equity stake. Regardless of the reason you’re pitching, it’s important that you know your audience inside and out. Doing so will help you turn your pitch into an engaging experience for the investor or entrepreneur that’s sitting at the other end of your pitch.
Preparing For Your Pitch
To start, you’ll need to have an idea of what your elevator pitch is going to say, and you’ll want to know who you want to present it to.
Before you embark on the pitch, make sure you have everything you need:
+ A working draft of your elevator pitch or market analysis
+ A table of contents that’s accessible to you; Relevant business data that’s easily accessible
+ A demo or prototype of your product that demonstrates its features and functions
+ A background on your business to present with your pitch
Ideally, you want to be prepared to be persuasive on all of your points. Next, you’ll want to prepare and rehearse your pitch by having someone else read it to you.
Everyone eventually pitches a business, so there’s no need to be alarmed if you suddenly feel overwhelmed. To sum it all up, being fully prepared with the knowledge you need to pitch effectively is one of the most important skills you’ll need to become an entrepreneur. The 10 minutes you have will fly by, so don’t lose them by fluffing it up. Sometimes the best pitch you can give your business is a simple one – have confidence in your message, and be concise.