The only thing more important for a startup business than the right introduction is having a honed, compelling pitch. Some of the brightest startups can (and do!) fail, not because of the technologies behind them, but because of their failure to shine at the key moment.
An opportunity to pitch may be less than 30 seconds. 30 seconds to convey years of blood, sweat and vision…it’s a challenge for anyone, especially for a sector not famed for its charismatic leaders or extroverted workers.
We’ve outlined some the five key elements to make a perfect pitch sing:
- Passion: You have such a short amount of time to capture the attention of investors and corporates – you have enrapture them with your passion and energy. You have to be willing to put everything you have into making a startup work and demonstrating your drive can be as simple as changing your tone of voice. People want to see that you’re personally invested in your business or idea, not just financially in the game.
- Relatability: It’s not always easy to be likeable, especially if you are nervous, but building rapport is essential. People like to connect with other humans, so being relatable helps a lot – that means bringing a sense of honesty and realness. “Just be yourself,” may seem cliché, but it’s your best chance of conveying that you as an individual will be an honest broker and a good person to work with. Also, keep in mind that investors are people too – You want potential investors to relate to the pain you are solving, so don’t forget to clearly communicate not just your projected ROI, but also how you offer to make their lives better!
- 30-second rule: You need to deliver a big punch early on in your presentation or you will have missed your opportunity. You have 30-seconds at the top of your pitch to deliver the killer blow and hook your audience in. Once they are hooked, they will be much more receptive to the less exciting detail. Keeping things short and to the point is so important. Get their attention, tell them the essentials and if they are interested, they will ask questions!
- Team: Investors funding startups, particularly early stage startups, are investing in a team. It is absolutely crucial to sell the whole team, the strengths of individual members and how they work together. While you cannot, and really should not have the whole team present in every pitch you make (excluding the finals of the 4YFN awards where EVERYONE should be present and cheering for you!), make sure to showcase them in your pitch so that investors understand why your team is the best one to get the job done!!
- SCALABILITY: The elements above mighthook the investors at the outset, but what investors are really looking for is scalability. You might catch their attention with some charisma, but you will only hook them with a real opportunity for growth. Start with a market problem and how big the potential market is. And go through what it will take for your startup to become 1 Billion Dollar startup. It is absolutely crucial to present a plan for your business that demonstrates how you will become the next Unicorn, move into new markets and territories, how you can add complementary business lines or create additional streams of revenue. You may get lucky and find an investor who can identify these things for you, but your chances are greatly improved if you can prove your ability to think laterally about the future of your business. The best you can ask for is an investor who is ideally positioned to help you not just with funding, but also to guide you on your way to scaling up!
The truth is: it’s unlikely that anyone has ever delivered a perfect pitch, but the only way to really hone it is with practice. You need to pitch, pitch and pitch some more to get your smooth, compelling sell nailed down. Pitch in front of the mirror, pitch to your friends and family, pitch to your co-founders and colleagues.
At 4YFN events, we run whole programmes of pitching sessions concurrently. One aim is to make sure that our startups are getting in front of the right audiences, getting the opportunity to showcase their businesses to investors, major corporates, accelerators, communities and the wider ecosystem. But another aim is to make sure that we are providing the right experiences to help our startups thrive, whether that’s honing their pitches, getting mentoring from experts or attending our conference programme curated specifically to enhance and spread bleeding-edge startup knowledge.
Find out where there is in event near you to come and hone your pitch, whether that’s to passing traffic to your stand or on stage to investors: www.4yfn.com