Key Elements of a Successful Business Pitch
Investors live by the “time is money” mantra, so when you make a pitch, you have to make an impression quickly. They’ve seen and heard it all. They will size you up before you finish talking. Know the key elements to creating a successful business pitch, so you’re always ready, whenever that moment strikes.
Prepare for Every Question and Criticism
Although it may sound obvious to know everything about your product, you may get nervous during your pitch and forget things. If you work with a group, you may be more of the salesperson and have less technical or expert knowledge. Therefore, anticipate every possible question. Place yourself in the mindset of the target audience, and think about what you would want to know. Ask friends and family for insight, and practice pitches on them. Record yourself, self-analyze, and review feedback to see what needs improvement.
Research Who You’re Meeting With
Research everyone you are meeting with to learn about their personalities, interests, and any possible conflict of interest. Understand what appeals to them, as well as what may turn them off. It’s also good to familiarize yourself with as many names as possible within your industry because not all business pitches happen through appointments. If an opportunity suddenly arises at a coffee shop or in an elevator, you may not have demos or materials to help grab attention.
During your business pitch, demonstrate the level of excitement that you first felt when you started. Envision the excitement the user of the product or idea will feel. Show its benefits and features in real-life situations, and why those translate to ROI for partners. Own the meeting with confidence and commitment to the business plan.
Connect Emotionally with Investors
Every person has a story as to why they do what they do, and what shaped them into who they are today. This is why research is so important. Investors don’t expect everything to be perfect because they themselves were once where you are. Connect with them emotionally, and share the influences and experiences that have led you to standing before them.
Be an Expert with Your Market and Your Numbers
It’s easy to say that you’re the best and that your product/idea is the future. And no doubt, those beliefs are part of what drives you. But honestly know your market – the competitors, technologies, and pricing comparisons, and set realistic valuations for your business. Highlight successes and learning curves include short and long-term goals. Detail your cost analysis and profit margins. Furthermore, if you don’t already have patents in place, get the process rolling!
Show More to Tell More
Allow investors to handle the product and its variants, so that they can develop first-hand perceptions of colors, sizes, textures, and flavors. If possible, let them keep samples, and include a simple one-page summary for them to review later. Despite the fact that your business pitch relies greatly on the spoken word, writing skills are crucial to entrepreneurs, to further seal the deal. Use descriptive vocabulary that appeals to the senses.
Stick to One Idea at a Time During Your Business Pitch
Unless you already have a multi-product line in existence (pet leashes, collars, and clothes, for example), stay focused on one product at a time. Certainly, talk about progression, but don’t confuse investors with prototypes and sketches of “maybes,” when you’re still launching the initial idea. The same goes for sales – narrow down sensible markets rather than trying for everything (online, big box stores, craft fairs) all at once.
Respectfully be Open to Negotiation
According to Forbes’ October 2016 review of Season 1-7 Shark Tank deals, 73% of the surveyed agreements either changed terms, or fell through. It happens, even when you seemingly do everything right. Know what your minimum terms are beforehand, and be open to negotiation. Quick decision making also shows investors how you respond to other critical operations, such as dealing with suppliers or customer service. Should the pitch not succeed, it still helps to keep that door open.
Be Yourself and Secure a Successful Business Pitch
You never know when the opportunity will come to impress potential investors and partners. Stay up to date about the industry, create that perfect summation, and turn that successful business pitch into a profitable venture.