At the time, I wasn’t aware that I was pitching a business opportunity. Long before the business reality show Shark Tank, my capstone course assignment in graduate school was to create a Mock business and present it to peers and a panel of instructors. To add to that, we were allowed only fifteen minutes to present. It might not sound like a lot of time to give, but it’s more than you think.
Shark Tank is entertaining. The entrepreneurs seeking an investment might have emotional stories. They might have interesting backgrounds. The sharks might even love the presented products. The sharks only invest if the product or service will make them money.
Pitch Your Business:
Nowadays, you hear about pitch competitions all the time. Business pitch competitions have become popular among entrepreneurs because it’s another source of funding. Another upside to pitch competitions is that it isn’t limited to one business type. Whether your business is a startup or in a growth phase, you can participate (depending upon competition entry rules). There’s also flexibility in terms of how to pitch. Online, onsite, in an elevator, or creating a deck (slides), are ways to present your business.
What is a business pitch?
No matter how good your product or service is, there comes a time to pitch your business. A business pitch is a presentation where you’re telling others about your company. Think about what investors would be interested in hearing. It’s an opportunity for others to learn about a new business. When you pitch your business, remember that investors invest in people, not the product or service. Investment or not, you still are a winner. You get to meet other entrepreneurs and build your network.
Pitch Length and Inclusions:
Depending on the competition rules, the duration of a pitch varies. Ideally, presentations are within sixty seconds. Your pitch needs to include the following:
Who are you?
What do you do?
Who do you serve?
What problem does your business solve?
How do you solve the problem?
Once the pitch is over, someone will have questions, and you need to provide answers. Since investors have to decide whether your business is a good investment or not, you have to provide data. Yes, give them the numbers! Even if your business is a startup, you should do market research.
Numbers you should include:
- Demographics of your target audience (customers): Includes age, gender, income level, location, education level, and relationship status.
- Sales: Include the dollar amount of sales made within a period (monthly, annually), number of customers your business has, average spending amount per customer, and percentage of repeat customers.
- Unique Selling Proposition: You’ve probably heard of this term. USP is basically what your business does that your competitors can’t duplicate. By the way, a unique selling proposition isn’t a logo, website, or free shipping.
- COGS/Price: Know how much it costs to produce your product or service and the selling price. These two numbers communicate how much margin the business has.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): How much does it cost to get new customers (conversions). That includes ads on social media, google, YouTube, Reddit, and other platforms. Also, listings on Etsy and other selling platforms.
Those are just a few numbers to include in your pitch. As you answer questions, be prepared to answer additional questions and further explain your answers.
What makes a good pitch?
Think of a business pitch as storytelling. Start off addressing a current problem and state statistics if you have data. Pitching should communicate the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your business. State the unique factor of your business. Last, talk about how your company solves a problem and how you do it better than your competitors. You know you have a good pitch when listeners ask quality questions or provide good feedback about your business.
Preparing to Pitch Your Business
Always be prepared to talk about your business. You never know when an opportunity may arise. Many business owners are afraid of public speaking. The goal is to make an effort. When pitching your business for the first time, it’s not going to be the best. However, the more you practice your pitch, the better at it you become.
Here are a few preparation tips:
- Keep it short and simple
- Be yourself when pitching
- Write out your pitch and practice speaking it
- Make a list of potential questions someone will ask about your business
- Ask others to listen to your pitch and provide feedback
- Implement feedback and make adjustments where necessary
In summary, pitch your business often. Find different ways to present your business because everyone doesn’t process information the same. Even if most pitches are live, you should still create a pitch deck, just if someone asks that you provide one. Listen to online business pitches and podcasts on public speaking. You grow by learning from others. Last, enter and attend pitch competitions often.
Was today’s blog post helpful? If so, share in the comments what you learned.