Pitching your startup is like running for a political office. A pitch is basically a speech presented with points that lean towards a particular problem and also declares claims and promises of quality, results, improvement, utility, superiority and any positivism you can think of. There are certain qualities a good pitch must have especially if you want to get the big bucks from investors, prospective clients and the rest of your audience. Take a look at Airbnb’s first ever pitch deck. It gives insight into what a good startup pitch should look like.
Start with strong numbers or points. Key points should be what you noticed that made you think up the idea in the first place i.e. the problem(s) and the solutions you hope to proffer. Also, what your company is about as most investors want to know the problem your idea will be solving.
Tell them the effects of the said problem on the society including them. You want to get them hooked from the start. Once they’re intrigued, they’ll be interested. Your message should be beyond your slides so tell a story around your business idea.
This is very key. No matter the wry looks you get from the room, prove to potential investors and supporters that you know your onions. Your posture, articulation, eloquence are all part of confidence. Try not to rush through words, take your time to remember your ideas as you go. You may stutter, which is totally normal but catch your breath and try to make eye contact. Own the pitch.
3. Visual Representation
So while your presentation should be colourful and catchy, it could become clumsy and confusing if not done rightly. People get carried away while trying to colour separate their points that they forget about balance. Use as few colours as possible with contrast as in light colored fonts on dark backgrounds and vice versa. The fonts should be bold enough so no one has to squint or rush for their glasses. Don’t use too many words, you should just have bullet points up while you do the actual talking.
It’s not how long, it’s how well. As much as you want to elaborate on your values, goals, and objectives, don’t make it a long presentation, you don’t want to bore them. Remember that your investors may not have a clue as to what you want to discuss and even if they do, they pretend not to, just to see how you can communicate it to a layman and to be sure money will be well spent. Make it as simple and relatable as possible. The first five minutes of your pitch is very crucial. This time tells how much attention they’ll pay and eventually if you’re going to close that deal or not. Keep it short, simple and precise enough to convey the message. The pitch needs to be tailored to what you think your investors want to hear, so no need to waste much time.
5. Encourage Participation
Make it a conversation, rather than a lecture. Be open to feedback, discuss questions asked, corrections and accept criticism.
- It shows they listened and their interest was piqued, although, some feedbacks are not always positive or what you want to hear, but you need it to grow.
- On your part, it shows receptiveness and also that you care about their views and opinions.
Before the big day, get a few friends, family or colleagues to present to. Have them constructively criticize your presentation. You need this grasp an idea what the actual one would feel like. It’s not enough to just put in writing. At law firms, in preparation for big court cases, they organize something called a mock trial, where lawyers and other staff act as defendants, prosecutors, witnesses and likely, the most senior partner as the judge. This helps with knowing the right strategy and approach, building confidence and plugging loose ends.
I saw a great pitch in form of a sales ad just recently, the All-New 2018 Jeep Wrangler. In just about 30 seconds, I was blown away. The ad talks about how pitches are supposed to be these big speeches and public declarations but in itself, it isn’t. That‘s what makes it so great; the irony. It’s short but it highlights the problems and solutions simultaneously. It tells a relatable story, spot on, you can almost feel like it was meant for you personally. If you were to purchase an SUV for rough, uncharted terrain, you probably won’t think twice before making that “the choice”.
That’s the effect you want to have on investors, make them believe their money’s no good anywhere else.