A guide to pitching your startup
As a startup founder, pitching to potential investors, partners and customers is a crucial skill that requires careful planning, preparation and lots of practice. Here are nine tips on how you can sail through it.
- Understand your audience: Before you even begin to craft your pitch, take the time to understand your audience and what they are looking for. Pitching to investors will differ from pitching to customers. Consider what motivates your audience and what they are most interested in learning.
- Clearly articulate your value proposition: Your value proposition is the unique value that your startup brings to the market, be it experience, expertise, quality, efficiency or pricing. It should be clearly and concisely communicated in your pitch.
- Explain your business model: Your business model is how your startup generates revenue and makes a profit. It must be included in your pitch. This is the information most investors tend to focus on, so make sure you put some extra effort and time into it.
- Highlight your team: Your founding team is key to your startup's success. Highlight the experience and expertise of each team member and how they are uniquely qualified to build and execute your business plan.
- Show your traction: If your startup has already achieved some level of traction, show it off in your pitch. This could be metrics such as active users, revenue and growth rate.
- Discuss your market and competition: As a founder, you should have a deep understanding of the market you want to penetrate and its competitive landscape. In your pitch, explain the size and growth potential of your market and how you plan to differentiate your product or service from competitors’.
- Outline your financial projections: All investors are interested in financial projections, including projected revenue, expenses and profitability. After all, that’s one of the reasons they invest. Don’t forget to include this essential piece of information in your pitch.
- Prepare for questions: Be well prepared to answer questions about your business, your team and market. Learn your metrics by heart and use them strategically to elaborate yourself.
- Practice, practise, practice: Pitching only comes naturally if you practice. Always rehearse your pitch multiple times to ensure you’re comfortable and confident when it comes time to deliver.
Why a well prepared pitch is so important
Pitching is an essential way to communicate the value of your business and persuade your audience to take action. Getting it right will offer lots of benefits, including:
- Attracting investment: One of the primary benefits of a successful pitch is the ability to attract investment. Whether you are seeking funding from venture capitalists or angel investors, a strong pitch will likely secure the capital you need to grow and scale your business.
- Building credibility: A well crafted pitch can help you build credibility with your audience and establish your startup as a credible and viable business. This is especially important when pitching to potential customers or partners.
- Clarifying your message: The process of creating a pitch will help clarify and refine your message, ensuring it is clear, concise and compelling. This is beneficial not only to your pitch, but also your overall marketing and communication efforts.
- Improving your communication skills: Pitching requires effective communication skills, and the process of building and delivering a pitch can help you improve these skills over time. This is valuable not only for your future pitches but also for other aspects of running your startup.
Do’s and don’ts of pitch deck
While it’s important to master the delivery of the pitch, having a good pitch deck is equally so. A pitch deck is how you present your startup to potential investors, partners and customers. It should be used to support and enhance your pitch, not to replace it.
Furthermore, there are certain do's and don'ts that you should follow when creating a pitch deck.
- Keep it concise and to the point, with no more than 10 to 12 slides.
- Start with a strong hook that grabs your audience's attention and clearly communicates your value proposition.
- Use clear and compelling visuals to illustrate your points and make your pitch more engaging.
- Use jargon or technical terms. They may be confusing or off-putting to your audience.
- Overcrowd your deck. Each slide should contain a single key point and not be cluttered with too much text or information.
- Use low-quality visuals that can distract from your message and undermine your credibility.
- Be too generic and not tailor your pitch to each specific audience. Your message should be relevant to their needs and interests.
While it may not be everyone's cup of tea, pitching is vital to the success of any startup and is fundamental to achieving your business goals and laying the foundation for long-term success.
By following these guidelines, you can create an effective pitch that communicates the value of your startup and persuades your audience to take action.