The ability to pitch your business isn’t immediately obvious as a vital skill in the entrepreneurial toolkit. When we dig a little deeper, it becomes clear that entrepreneurs are constantly pitching their business and selling themselves. Every marketing campaign, every tweet, even every answer to the age old question, “What do you do?”
Here are 5 key elements that every entrepreneur should incorporate into their business pitch.
Tell a story.
Pitching your business is about more than just the facts (but don’t forget those, too). Potential investors and judges are people too, and should be approached as such. People resonate best with stories, so be sure to include the story of you and your business. Why did you start your business? What motivates you?
Describe A Problem
But don’t go overboard. An important rule in fundraising, which can be applied to pitching a business, is that people don’t want to give money if there is no problem to overcome. Some examples of “good” problems include:
Can’t afford to purchase more inventory to fill orders
Wanting to spend money on marketing to grow the business
Start-up costs in opening a new location, or expanding to more stores
Alternatively, describe the problem your product or service seeks to solve for your customers. Be sure to explain how receiving funding would allow you to grow your business to solve the problem.
Provide A Vivid End-State
Conversely, people don’t want to give money if the problem is unsolvable, or if you don’t have a plan to solve the problem. It’s vital to follow up your description of the problem with a detailed plan of how it will be overcome. By providing a vivid description of what your business will look like after it has solved the problem, you can dramatically increase your chances of winning over your audience.
Be clear and simple.
The phrase, “if you can’t explain something to a five year old, you don’t understand it” comes to mind. Your audience will have questions for you, but ideally, those questions will be to expand their knowledge of the business, not to clarify the information you’ve given them.
A confused audience isn’t a friendly audience. Make sure you present your pitch clearly and logically. This brings us to our final point...
A lot. And then practice some more. Gather some family or friends and practice your pitch to them. It’s important to work on your public speaking skills, as well as your body language and the flow of your pitch. You’ll want to practice until you’re certain you won’t stumble during your pitch.