Many who had done their management studies would know the importance of pitching. But not all startup entrepreneurs are MBA graduates and neither do all MBA pass-outs master the art of pitching.
However, startups can happen or fizzle out on the basis of pitching. A good pitch is all about being able to tell what your company is all about as quickly as possible to make others intrigued to know more or learn more. Remember, a pitch is not a one-time activity. You have to pitch your startup every day and to everyone, be it your potential customers or clients, your investors, your employees.
While it sounds simple, it is definitely not a natural skill for many startup entrepreneurs and hence one has to hone self to deliver at the right moment.
Some might know what you are talking of, the industry jargon, the developments in the domain, etc, while others might be smart yet unaware of what’s happening in your industry. Either ways, it’s essential to pack the most important aspect of your startup. Also, understand that VCs or angel investors do not listen just to you in a day. There could be hundreds pitching ideas to them. So make the appropriate pitch so they can retain one key element after you have left.
Sell yourself, team
The next important step is to convince the investors that you have it in you to make it despite the hurdles and time frame. For example, if you have made money in the past, talk about it, even if it is through some random tasks. This shows you have the money mindset. Also, any achievements that you can talk of will add value. It gives the investor the indication that you are persistent and will commit yourself to your goal. The same applies in terms of your team. Play up their achievements and successes.
It’s also wise to show that you can pack in a lot within, say, a two-week period.
Spell out concrete details
It’s particularly important that you are explicit about the how the end user will experience your startup product or service. Look at your reviewer/ investor as an early adopter who happens to be a product enthusiast. Ultimately, they would like to know how it feels if they use the product themselves.
Instead of wasting your pitch by saying that you are an e-commerce site that will sell products using AI and machine learning tools, specify the platform you are going to build, the tool you might have developed for the startup. This is help in cutting down or doing away with marketing fluff which utterly bores the reviewers/ investors.
Pick right target audience
Some products or services could have a small market during the startup stage. But they might develop into projects that rake in millions and even billions of dollars. Investors are highly interested in such players. Be prepared to talk beyond mere numbers and projections. Give investors clarity about how you are going to execute your plan. Here, Fermi estimates will be pretty handy to demonstrate not just the market size, but also the quality of your analysis.
Give unique insights
The reviewer might be good at gauging a business, but he or she need not be an expert in your field or domain. You can come up with useful insights to show you have done your research and read-up about the product, domain and related topics by giving meaningful insights.
For example, if you are an interior design startup, you must be able to tell how getting one’s interiors done is no longer a luxury for, say the salaried class in India. Today, it is more of a norm. This will throw open the fact that both white collar and blue collar employees can be targeted as all those in the salaried bracket are opting for customised interiors.
Focus on your unique feature
The investors look for people who can project growth and more growth. They want to take a chance on an idea that will make the startup into a great entity. So, talk of how your product or service can make profit per customer and how you can scale it from time to time. Make sure, your pitch does not read like a business plan with a whole lot of detailing. Stick to specifics.
Show your success
If you have had a milestone with regards to your startup, then project that. The primary objective is to showcase you have a great idea and that you are the right person to do it. Another brilliant way to showcase what you intend to do with your startup is to prepare a link that could convey what you want to do in 2 minutes if it’s a tech product. However, it may not be such a good idea if it is a consumer product.
Try for an introduction, keep going
If someone refers you to the VC, then it projects your networking skills. So getting one from the right person will not harm you. Another vital point is not to stop. You might have lost out on funding during the initial rounds, but pause and simply get back to work.
Now, let’s figure out the key components of a pitch
|Your team, problem you are trying to tackle, your USP, business model, economics or financial model.
Once again, remember, pitch should be:
Interesting and engaging
Realistic vis-a-vis market size
Using notes, pictures
Based on thorough research on competition.
Finally, be prepared for questions from investors.