Pitching - the Basics
- Story others relate to
- Evidence of a problem
- Vision of the world without the problem
Investors such as venture capitalists and angel investors have very limited time, given the number of proposals they look into on a daily basis. That leaves you with a 15-min presentation slot (no more than 12 - 15 slides) and 15 extra minutes to answer questions.
Your first slide solely consists of your logo; that is when you introduce yourself, your company and any other essential team member.
PROBLEM STATEMENT – TELL A STORY
Begin your pitch with a compelling story to engage your audience better. State the problem you wish to solve in the marketplace and back it up with numbers.
Share what is unique about your product, and how it will solve the problem you have mentioned, in a short, concise and easy way. This is where you tell your audience the name of your product/service, and summarize your business in 2 to 3 sentences; these are your key messages.
PRACTICALITY & SUCCESS
Now that you have introduced the solution, explain how it works. Is it an app? A webpage? How do customers select the product/service? Do they pay for it? If so, how? Have users already used it, and if so what were the feedbacks? This is the part where you blow your own horn by showcasing your prototype, the progress and accomplishments your team has made so far; sales contracts, product launches, stress management and so on.
TARGET MARKET & FACTS
Be realistic as to whom you are building your product for; research the market and break it:
- TAM (Total Available Market – everyone you wish to reach)
- SAM (Served Available Market – the portion of TAM you will target)
- SOM (Share of the Market – subset of SAM you will realistically reach)
This will help you strategize better.
Make sure to interview customers and conduct surveys beforehand – facts can then be used with respect to satisfied customers, as well as quotes.
What is your revenue model? How do you generate income? Be specific about your products and pricing.
Who is your customer base? How will you reach them? How much will it cost? You should be able to calculate your customer acquisition costs.
How large is the market? Do you have competitors? Who are they and how are you better than them? You can list your competitors and show your competitive advantage by comparing features/benefits.
State your market-entry strategy, entailing how you will reach out to early adopters, acquire and expand customers, etc.
Show why your team is the right one for the job, and include the skill sets you are missing.
- Projected revenue: what you expect for each product, over the next 3-5 years. You must back-up your numbers by explaining your assumptions.
- Funding needs: Say how much money has been invested in your company so far, if existing, and by whom; if no money has been invested so far, state your needed initial investment. Show who owns equity and how much more money is needed to go to the next level, as well as your pricing strategy, break-even forecast and so on.
- Exit strategy: Do you plan on getting acquired, going public or something else? Be prepared to answer how the investment will be monetized through, among other things, licensing agreements with larger companies or a strategic sale of itself to a larger company
Summarize by stating that you have identified a problem, created and developed a solution for it, and that you have a clear and winning market-entry strategy, to which you require a certain amount to start.
This should be shorter than a minute; if longer, you will not have enough time to make a compelling investment case. This is the kind of opportunity that comes along in an elevator, at a party or a quick meeting via acquaintances. You must make it short and to the point, but showcasing what you know. Craft a pitch in advance and practice it; condense all of the information in your PowerPoint presentation and business plan into an extremely brief summary.
Spend weeks, if not months, perfecting a business plan – otherwise, the time spent on your elevator pitch and PowerPoint presentation will not mean much.
- Do not procrastinate
- Do not overload with content
- Practice your presentation until perfection
- Understand your audience before you step on stage
- When delivering your presentation, make sure your posture is comfortable and controlled
- Use hand gestures effectively to enhance your presentation
- Avoid standing behind a podium while delivering as to not be separated from the audience
- Make eye contact
- Do not stick your face to your notes.
For further tips on pitching, you may check this article.
Pour all that you have into creating these documents, for they constitute your door into a new world - do not procrastinate and be prepared. Good luck!