Principle and objective of the pitch
What is a pitch ?
The first oral presentation of your project is called a pitch. In few minutes, you must have submitted your project and have convinced your audience, in order they want to know more about it.
It’s often mentioned, also as the "elevator pitch", when you have just few minutes. It's as if you took the elevator with an investor and you succeed to create its interest during the trip. In this case, you must be able to convince in less than 3 minutes.
When can I tell my pitch ?
For a pitch, you can be in different situations, as you address to:
investors in a presentation meeting with others entrepreneurs, or in a meeting that is dedicated for your presentation
to partners, as bankers, suppliers, authorities, to mobilize their attention and interest
to other entrepreneurs or future employees to create the desire to work with you
How is it structured ?
The pitch repeats the elements already formulated in your Executive summary with great impact you must create through a relevant content and sharp oral delivery. With this pitch, you have to create create the desire to learn more about your project, and that there is much to gain to continue to deal with you.
With this pitch, you'll also show your ability to express yourself clearly, to be concise and relevant, to create dream while reassuring. And beyond, the pitch exercise will allow you to get feedback on your presentation, which will help you to improve your project, as well as your presentation.
For your pitch, you can do it without a presentation document, or with a very short one. Anyway it must be proportional to the time that is allocated to you. If necessary reserve some slides in case of you have time to answer to more specific questions, or if illustrations are claimed.
Your slides must be highly visual, with little text, but with images, and simple patterns.
Preparing your pitch
You have to prepare carefully your pitch, here are some recommendations:
Identify your audience
Identify those present. What is their role, their history, look what motivates them, their values ... With Internet you can find lots of information: in which projects did they invested? What type of entrepreneurs do they attend to deal with ? When was it ? what are their expectations and criteria?
Prepare a story that create desire
Introduce your project and its importance. Highlighting the obstacles, trials that must go over while demonstrating your ability to overcome them. Put highlight on the innovative and original solutions you found. You can even point out that others have tried without success, while you, you found the right answer. Your audience must appropriate your story, make connections with their own experience and goals. Talk about you, without boasting: your personality, shaped by your personal story.... If people find that your speech get sense, they will be more inclined to support you. Show the steps to conquer large markets with significant sizes, on short and medium term. Your audience expects that you show them how you will build Market entry barriers where you want to play.
Train yourself to convince
Talk to an investor, to interlocutors is a work resulting from a long preparation, already when you wrote your business plan ... You must look for an impactful and relevant presentation. Focus particularly, on your executive summary, that is to say, the introductory summary of your business plan, which will be the cornerstone for attention. To learn more, I remind you that we talk about it, in the chapter regarding the business plan template.
Stimulate your audience
You are there to sell your project to develop your idea as something unique. You will need to stand out of the lot, give a sense to your audience that they will miss something if they do not follow you, and that they should be actors in your project.
Focus on the goals of your pitch
Why are you doing this presentation? Looking for an authorization ? to find a partnership agreement? To negotiate an outsourcing contract? To raise funds? Do not lose your view of objectives, when preparing your presentation and the way you tell your story. Ask questions at the end of your presentation to make sure your audience, understands the story you offer them.
Be sure to prepare the content of your speech. Here are some recommendations:
Be very attentive to details
Investors are particularly experienced in listening a pitch, which has to be concise and effective. Make sure to present a coherent story. You are responsible for the story you tell, you must master it. Do not shelter behind the expertise of those who helped you to write your business plan, it’s your own story!
Master the figures
Introduce reliable datas on market entry costs, wages, external charges. Make your calculations rigorously. Some errors can discredit your entire presentation. The figures must be realistic and specific. You must be able to defend and demonstrate confirm your story. Present what you have already achieved, illustrate milestones achieved, it will be factual evidence of your performance. If you have encountered difficulties with less favorable figures, explain what happened and how you overcome the situation.
Show feasible scenarios
Do not project unattainable figures to appear more credible, be realistic while showing your self as ambitious. Your three-year financial projections should be realistic. Consider three scenarios: pessimistic, minimum target, optimistic. Base your projections on facts, experiences, studies that confirms your numbers and compare them to other stories of close companies. You can, for example, to create a website, build your financial projections inspiring the story of the performance of a website already successfully launched.
Be in the good timing
Do not tell a story that goes too fast, without trials, where you reach too easily successful steps. You will inevitably be facing obstacles, unforeseen events! Allow some trap and delay in your implementation plan. At the same time, do not plan too long plan that would delay too late ROI for investors and decision makers. Show that you are the great guy to create success stories, stage by stage, stories that can be repeated successfully.
Be prepared to answer questions, anticipate them, prepare answers, test them
Anticipate questions at the end of your presentation. What are you not mentioning in your story? On what topic you miss material? How will you answer to not yet mastered subjects?
I propose you to share these few points as conclusion of this chapter on the art of the pitch.
Plan to spend time preparing your pitch. To be clear, concise, relevant, this is a real tough work, a it is a difficult exercise which need preparation. Don’t forget, You have to work as much content than on your ability to impress the audience.
Train yourself to this exercice, do not hesitate, and be convinced of the relevance of your project and your ability to develop it.
Beyond, you must be prepared to speak in public, with insurance and creating a positive impact. We will talk about it in a next chapter on best practices to address successfully when speaking to an audience.