Pitching a Business – 8 Tips From Entrepreneurs
Pitching a business to get investors on board is not easy, especially for the vast majority of people who aren’t comfortable speaking in front of an audience. It gets a lot easier if you know what you’re doing, though, and these eight tips on improving your skills at pitching a business come directly from the experts.
Pro Tips on Pitching a Business
“Make The Big Ask.” -- Candace Mitchell
Early on in your pitch, ask for exactly what you want and why you need it. Do you need support? Why? Do you need money? Where is it going? A pitch is, after all, just an elaborate way of asking for a favor. And obviously, you should not ask for a favor without saying why you’re asking.
Why These Investors? -- Reid Hoffman
Even the wealthiest investors don’t want to just throw money at something they can’t offer any non-monetary value to. It would be best to let them know why you want their help specifically and not the help of some other random investor.
Finding investors that fit your business is an excellent way to get expert input and accelerate growth. But also, investors are flattered when your pitch appeals to their expertise, and that makes them more likely to give you money.
Make It Pop -- Kevin Gibbs
Your pitch needs to be visually appealing. Even if you have a great product and a good grasp on your numbers, the pitch is going to fall flat if you’re just giving a straightforward speech. Ditto if you decide to lean on that overrated pitching crutch, the Powerpoint presentation. Not that Powerpoint is always wrong, but it should be used as an accessory for your presentation rather than the bulk of the content.
Wear interesting clothing or bring interesting props to your pitch — just make sure they match the tone of your business.
You could also try adding in some short, snappy phrases that investors will remember.
Get A Team -- Jeff Greenberg
Investors are much more comfortable saying yes to a business run by a team rather than an individual. The reason being that teams can lean on each other, which means the business is much less likely to fail. There are lots of other benefits to businesses run by teams rather than individuals, and they all help create a stronger entity to invest into.
If your business already has a great team, make sure to advertise it in your pitch! Talk about how well your team synergizes, and how dedicated you all are to making the business thrive.
Mention Your Unfair Advantage -- Chris Sacca
Your “unfair advantage” is the thing that makes you uniquely qualified to start this business. It’s something that others cannot replicate. You need to pinpoint your unfair advantage in your pitch.
Maybe you have been working in this industry for 20 years, and very few others have. Perhaps your friends or family provide you with a discounted distribution method that others don’t have access to, and you’ll be using that. Whatever it is, put it in the spotlight.
Focus On Monetization -- Brian Cohen
How are you going to make money off your idea? Exactly how much is it going to cost you to take care of each step of the process, and how much will each of those steps rake in? You need to know this very specific information going into the pitch and let investors know you’ve done your due diligence.
You might have a fantastic idea for a new mobile app, for example. You may even have programmed it already. But if you don’t know exactly what your income streams will be, investors will steer clear of the business.
Know Your Data -- Lindsay Kolowich
There is one word that captures the attention of investors like no other: “data.” When pitching a business, make at least one mention of “the data you’ve collected” and proceed to wow the investors with impressive market research. They love hearing real people are already passionately supporting your business.
There’s also a three-word phrase that investors really don’t like: “I don’t know.” Before you pitch, you need to do your research backward and front to make sure you have data for every question they might throw at you about your business.
Follow The Story Formula -- Chance Barnett
Barnett advises people pitching a business to follow his “story formula,” which goes something like this:
“There is a huge opportunity to do X as a giant business. We’ve cracked the code, and this is how my company is doing it and will dominate this market. Here’s who my team and I are, and why we’re the only people to back in this space. It’s working, and now we need money for X and Y to grow.”
Straightforward, but with so much space to plug in variables about what makes your business poised for success.
According to the US Bureau of Labor, 45% of new businesses fail in their first five years. When pitching a business, you need to make investors feel absolutely sure yours will not be one of them. Employ some of these tips, and I assure you will stand a better chance of receiving investment.