By Eric Rice
Founder & CEO at TrepScore
Much like baseball, building a business starts with a pitch. Whether it’s explaining to your boss (or your family) why you’re quitting or convincing someone to join your team, you are pitching your business idea. Considering how important it is, I’m astounded at how many entrepreneurs neglect to craft and practice their startup pitch and do it poorly.
I have been crafting pitches for years, hundreds of them, and I’ve come to learn a few approaches that work very well.
Respect the formula:
Every pitch has very distinct parts to it. For investors, there are popular ten slide templates, which are great, but here are the three that matter: 1) the problem that you are solving; 2) your solution; and 3) the market that it relates to. And you need to really refine the market (no one likes hearing about 2 trillion dollar markets)
Keep your startup pitch simple:
This goes for all of your pitches but it is especially critical to state the problem and your solution as simply as possible. You frame the entire pitch, and the ensuing conversation, at that moment. If you get that point across and it resonates, you can fill all the details later. Trust me, there will be time. Albert Einstein said it best, “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough”
Convey your idea visually:
Remember the old cartoon with the cat and the mouse, Tom and Jerry? In each episode Tom (the cat) would construct a plan to capture and eat Jerry (the mouse). What does that have to do with pitching? Well, Tom was a master ideator but he could also create a one page blueprint that would clearly show what he was planning and how he was going to achieve his goal. Though he never got to eat Jerry, Tom certainly did catch him quite often. Tom showed his entire business plan on one sheet of paper and humans ranging from age 3 up got it in an instant.
Begin your startup pitch journey with this simple goal; try to illustrate your business in pictures. People understand and love images, use them to your advantage.
Let personality and passion show:
A pitch can convey to potential investors that you have a great idea that solves big problem in a big market. But after that is established, investors look for reasons to NOT do a deal, like evaluating the entrepreneur to see if he or she truly enjoys what they are doing. Make sure your pitch reflects your personality and passion, which mostly involves remembering why you started the business in the first place business. If you aren’t passionate about what you do, no one else will be either.
Take Batting Practice:
Never forget the power of practice. Just like a baseball player takes warm-up swings before a game, an entrepreneur should practice ways to pitch their idea every day. Grab a co-worker, a team member, a cab driver, a co-founder and give them the pitch as often as possible when you aren’t pitching in front of actual investors. You should also just pitch yourself, recording or filming some of your practice pitches. It will help more than you can imagine.
You must be able to convey your idea verbally, in writing, and even visually. Apply these 5 simple tips, improve your pitch, and become the Startup CEO or Co-Founder an investor wants to work with.