10 ways to correctly pitch your business idea
Sometimes it can feel like getting an investor to sit down and listen to your business idea is half the battle, but you’d be wrong. All of the real work comes down to communicating your business idea effectively.
Before we head to the 10 ways to correctly pitch your business idea, know that there really is one overall way: make sure that the result of your pitch is that the investor can repeat it back to without having to think. It’s the same as why it is so easy to use an iPhone. It’s intuitive. Your pitch must also be intuitive, allowing your investor to repeat the idea back to themselves and know the benefits for them without having to think too hard.
1. Is it a new idea?
If your idea isn’t new, then go back to the drawing board. This is the first thing a potential investor will be looking for when you begin your pitch: is it original? If not, then how are you going to maintain a passion for it or break away from your competitors? Because you have a great marketing idea? This may not be enough to get you an investor but may be enough to get you a job as a marketer.
2. Engage by telling a story
How would you like to be sold an idea? By being told the facts, the potential ROI, the risks, the benefits, the market specifics, the audience, followed by a polite thank you? No, you want to hear the story of how this idea came about and why it promises to change an industry or even the way people think about or use a product.
It’s perfectly understandable that you may not be a great storyteller, so seek help. Seek help from writers, public speaking classes, writing classes etc. Learn how your story can be best told and then learn how to do just that. Storytelling can be learned, so start the process of turning into a storyteller.
3. Look beyond the idea to yourself.
How do you present to the investor? Will you relate with them? Research the people they have previously invested in. Do they share anything in common?
Make sure the investor can see how you think, or in other words, how your mind works. As excited as you can get them about your idea, the other half of their interest is in you, and just like judging a book by its cover they will make a judgment about you within seconds. They can’t help it, it’s human nature. Both your personal presentation and your mind need to be on display. Demonstrate through your storytelling how you plan to approach problems (by relaying how you have approached problems/challenges to get to the idea) as well as the opportunities in your business.
4. Break up the business plan into its core essentials
A pitch is by nature short so you need to communicate ideas that someone can repeat back to you. Identify how the idea is different from other products/services, identify the market, the audience, the marketing approach and finally, identify the growth expectations for the business. This ‘growth’ extends to where the business will end as well as where it will start. How will you approach the selling of the business and will this affect the investor?
5. Practice your pitch
You cannot practice enough. Do it until the words lose all meaning and then take a break before going back to it to identify any weaknesses. Once you are confident you know your pitch like the back of your hand, you can begin to play around with it and have fun when pitching your business idea.
6. User test your pitch
Just as product designers test new products with strangers, try to get your pitch heard by as many people as possible. Look outside of you close friend circle or family, as they will find it hard to be truly honest with you, while the fact that they are your friends and family will mean they probably share many of the same opinions and approaches as you do. Find others to test with so they can begin to poke holes in your pitch so that you can make sure the armour is ready.
7. Learn the investor’s language
Be aware of the language they relate to, especially when it comes to marketing, growth, returns and the state of the market.
8. Produce various business idea pitches
An investor may love your 3-minute pitch, but what if they ask for some visuals? You want to have a presentation of 5-10 slides ready at hand either on your phone or tablet that you can immediately show them. What if they want more? Have a full multiple page report ready that outlines every single tiny detail that could never all fit in a pitch. Don’t make them wait or leave time for them to forget your idea.
9. Research your investor
Does your business idea suit your investor? What is their history of investing, i.e. how much have they invested, is what you are looking for far less or far more than they typically invest, how long do they stay investors, is there evidence of their involvement with a company after investing?
10. Communicate with passion
This comes from the culmination of all the above points. Having a story to tell, being prepared and practiced, knowing your idea back to front, knowing your investor, speaking their language and simplifying the message to its core principles will all result in giving you the opportunity to communicate your idea with a passion. However, if you have to fake that passion, then it isn’t the right business idea for you.