Just because you aren’t pitching for funds doesn’t mean you don’t need a well-developed pitch delivery plan to get your mission and traction across. Conveying information about your venture when trying to onboard new users, cultivate valuable brand partnerships, and bring people around to your idea should be just as clear as your investor pitch deck. Here are a few tips that I put to work when educating people about how and why my startup can and will work for them:
1. Introduce yourself. Starting a pitch with confidence sets the tone for the rest of the pitch. The easiest thing to do is introduce who you are and what you are representing- it will help kill the nerves.
2. Keep information on slides to a minimum. A pitch is different than an investor presentation. Keep slides visual and engaging. Have the least amount of information required to get your message across. Use any wording as prompts for you to speak about.
3. Always stick to the time frame given. Keep your points clear, concise and to the point.
4. Keep to the general guidelines of articulating the six steps. These are:
5. Practice, Practice, Practice! I recently heard Hello by Adele playing in a taxi, and I thought to myself, she must be so sick of singing this song. Simultaneously, it dawned on me that what makes these singers so successful is their professionalism to portraying the same passion for a song every time they sing it. An entrepreneur is no different, and there is no replacement for practice!
6. Come prepared. Expect the unexpected. Prepare for different questions. The last thing you want to happen is to be caught out about a question you should know the answer to. However, note that the worst thing to do is to lie. If you don’t know the answer to a question, just acknowledge the fact and say you will revert back. Honesty will go a long way!
A few more general points that entrepreneurs should remember:
1. Listen; don’t react. I have learnt that feedback is the most useful source of support for any startup. At the same time, it can also become overbearing. Avoid the urge to react to each piece of feedback you receive. Internalize the feedback, let it settle in, and then work out how to use it. Too many entrepreneurs feel the need to immediately defend or react to advise.
2. Take time and persevere. If you believe you have a successful venture, be ready to commit a minimum of five to seven years (if not more) to making it happen. Unfortunately, too many people naively believe you can make a billion dollar company in a year or two- it actually takes a year or two just to work out which direction you are walking in.
3. Be agile.An entrepreneur’s biggest advantage is their ability to be agileand change course based on feedback. If a lot of people say something is wrong with your offering, then it may not be a bad idea to address it. Don’t stay overly dear to any given concept. At a minimum, explore the implications of changing and how it will affect your proposition.
4. Solve a problem. Always challenge as to whether something is an actual problem, or if you are finding a problem that matches a solution you have come up with. Test the concept with users. The best people to test with are people you don’t know. Friends and family are likely to have a bias towards making you happy!