Pitching for success—whether for a job, a contract, a sale, or anything in between—is both a science and an art. A successful pitch combines a number of skills, which we will go into below.
As an entrepreneur you’re only too aware of how hard it is to come across an opportunity. So you have to be prepared. Here is a brief explanation of what makes a pitch successful, using the example of approaching a potential investor:
Choose your audience
At the early stages of development there’s no point in approaching “big money” right away. It’s much more effective to start more conservatively; identify the key investors who would be receptive to hearing the potential of your idea. What are they looking for? What risks can you mitigate for them? Put yourself in their shoes. Angel investors can help to bridge the gap between your perception and the perception of the investor.
Build a narrative
Investors like stories. It’s not just about showing them the hard data, it’s about creating something that reflects your ambition, values and will to achieve. How hard are you willing to work to succeed? How well have you researched this and planned every step of the way, and how can you convey this to the investors? Work on your story; make it reflect your vision, insight, and drive, and the investor will do the rest. Remember, angel investors are often mentors – they know how to recognize an idea with potential.
Simplicity is the key
The purpose of any pitch is to create excitement amongst potential investors: not just for the idea, but for the concrete strategy underpinning it. Therefore, it’s essential to explain your financial strategy and to avoid waffling and being vague. A successful pitch avoids industry-specific jargon; instead it breaks down all the complex bits into easy to understand concepts that can be grasped by anyone unfamiliar with your particular field of expertise. Practice your narrative until you can summarize it in 30 seconds.
Keep an eye on the competition
Your pitch is about selling a value proposition. Ask yourself, what makes you different? What value will you be adding? Don’t expect investors to fill the gaps; make it clear to them. Investors must be left in no doubt about what sets you apart from other competitors and why your idea will work.
Explain the exit and reward strategy
At this point, you may not envisage ever leaving your business in the future but your investors are not in that position. It is important for them to know the terms of the relationship with the company and this includes the end of the relationship. It is therefore important to take position into account. Describe how they’ll get their money back, compounded and multiplied. Clearly demonstrate that your goal is their success.
Take a look at our infographic on How To Pitch For Investment