Pitching is an art, and it’s not like any other.It takes practice and a good amount of dedication to master this fundamental skill. It does not come naturally to everyone, and it may seem daunting at first, but soon you will realize it is a fundamental asset to add to your toolkit and have ready when you need it! No need to worry anymore, FEM-START has you covered and ready to go with this Pitching Guide! If you’d like to see a more in-depth version, visit our membership courses, where pitching represents an entire module.
What is Pitching?
Pitching is your kickstart to growth. You will need a solid fundraising deck to raise funds and investments. It’s your chance to tell your story and make people around you part of it.
An elevator pitch, as it is often called, is a popular (almost mandatory rite of passage) method used by entrepreneurs to attract investors and get them interested in funding you! The goal is to pique the interest of the audience enough so that you get a follow-up and more in opportunities.
Different Types of Pitching
There are different types of pitching. As our courses present, we recognise 4 typical elevator pitching techniques:
This is usually a 30-second pitch, in the form of one concise sentence.
This is usually a one-minute pitch that gives you enough time to describe your company and goals.
A general pitch allows you to present yourself, and give some figures, statistics and success marks. This is usually common at pitching competitions.
A pitch with a slide deck, common in investors’ meetings, allows you to present yourself in more depth, and present your company and team as well as what you have achieved and/or plan to achieve. You can also give a better sense of the identity of your start-up.
What to include in a general pitch
- Introduce yourself, co-founders, if you have any and your company.
- Have a sharp and clear description of the social problem your company is helping to solve and who your target audience is.
- Your solution: Why is it unique and new and/or more thorough than other existing solutions
- Add the Financial perspective your company offers.
- Add a concise and attractive call to action at the end.
- Tip: Interact with your product during the demo!
What Investors are looking for:
You know your target audience
- Your audience wants to relate to you, they want to be wowed and want to like you: Who are you addressing yourself to, know who they are and what they understand/won’t understand.
- Be very clear in who you want to target and work on your language, visuals, and tone depending on that audience. You want to attract them, so use what they are familiar with!
That you are your authentic self
- You need to give them a good sense of who you are!
- Go over your story briefly, what do you want them to know?
- Use language that is clear but also that is in line with how your business operates!
- Give them a good picture of how your idea resonates with you!
- You only have a few minutes: go with a bang and be memorable: This means work on your communication and be as bold as possible!
Show you can think ahead
You need to show investors your ambitions and perspectives for your company’s growth!
- Include a summary of your growth plan with figures to help make a good impression!
- Show how solid your team is!
- Make them think you need them as much as they need you!
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do highlight your success: Make sure the audience is aware of what you have achieved, in how long and what you plan on achieving. This also takes confidence to show you are just getting started!
- Do teach them things and share unique evidence: Make it obvious you do your research and thought ahead of a problem and the blueprint! You want to propose original solutions, you want to teach them facts. Come up with striking statements as Stripe highlights in their pitching guide.
- Do use keywords and details concisely and sharply: You need to be clear in your speech. You need to give concrete details as to what you do, what are some keywords that your audience will associate with you? You can use keywords to your advantage! By using striking words repetitively that mean something to your business, people will think of you the next time they hear them! It is about designing a world around your business.
- Do ask for help or review. It is a great advantage to have other startup founders in your network, ask them if they can help you go over your deck or if they have tips for you!
- Do prepare questions the audience could ask you in advance to anticipate! You want to be prepared especially for the Q&A, so go over potential questions the audience and investors might ask you. Answer them and rehearse!
- Don’t be vague. Precise and sharp is the way to go. You would like to provide details and keep them interested.
- Don’t look at it as a presentation. A pitch is there to get people interested and possesses a clear call to action. A presentation takes them through your steps.
- Don’t look at it as a business plan. You don’t want to go over every detail and aspect of your business, as Stripe says with business plans you use a word-filled shallow description. Avoid this, you want to make it fun and energetic: focus on what you are great at, what you can do to change the world and why is your business the answer!
- Don’t go unprepared. If you prepare, you won’t have so much pressure. Investors want to hear what you have to say, they will ask questions. Know your fundraising landscape, this is something to know and think about before you start talking to investors!
Rehearse and get ready!
Now that you know all the basics to pitching and all the important dos and don’ts, you are ready to go and rehearse! Practice makes perfect! Remember to be confident and yourself, as this is a large part of the work! If you don’t believe in yourself or your idea, that you do not highlight why it works and why you believe in it, no investors will either! Show them how truly revolutionary your idea is, investors will believe it too!
If you would like to learn more about pitching and go dive deeper in the art of pitching, visit our courses which will prepare you well to get to the basics of funding and ready to pitch to investors successfully!