6 Strategies for Pitching a New Business
6 Strategies for Pitching a New Business
Your startup has a story to tell, whether you are just beginning to outline your goals and objectives for an effective business plan, seeking operating capital from an investor or lender, your company has a compelling tale to tell. Even if your brilliant product or service can change people’s lives for the better, if you can’t effectively articulate your concept to those who are in a position to help you succeed, it won’t mean a hill of beans.
Statistics for startups are scary, before they have operated for eighteen months, 80% of new business will fail. With numbers like these, startups need the momentum to make it through to their second anniversary and all the tools available to to them in order to effectively tell their tale.
Here are six strategies to pitch your project without selling yourself short:
Yes, you should sell yourself, but be brief
Don’t rattle off your entire resume, the complete history of your education, every job you’ve ever held, or brag about the beneficial backgrounds of everyone on the team. Instead, focus on what accomplishments, successes or educational endeavors that are directly related to your product or service. The rest is just fluff, and basically, quite frankly, no one really cares.
Focus a little more attention on the problem and less on the solution
Not to say that you shouldn’t sell your product or service, but if you come right out of the gate with the solution to the problem, it makes the dilemma seem less important. You should sell the problem, explain it thoroughly, and emphasize the obstacles, pitfalls and consequences. When presented with the solution, it will appear more substantial. If you can create a story around the solution, you’ll also make the problem/solution dichotomy more compelling and memorable.
Be practical, keep expectations realistic
If you have information that shows your venture will skyrocket, with growth from five to five million in just two years, these expectations won’t fly in most boardrooms. Even if you believe them to be true and you have data to back up your claims, these types of unrealistic, impractical projections will likely alienate your audience.
Be prepared to answer questions on the fly
You never know where you might bump into a prospective investor, interested party or possible partner, so be prepared. Some have labeled a strategy known as the “elevator presentation,” where one can give a brief, concise summation of their plan, concept, idea, product or service in just a few, short minutes. At the same time, people will have many questions when presented with your plan, so be prepared to respond to whatever they may throw at you.
Stand out from the crowd, but don’t drown them out
Although you are trying to get the valuable recognition that you and your venture deserves, it shouldn’t come at the expense of your audience. While there is often a tremendous amount of personal pride invested in your strategy, you’ll need to put that aside. People will have feedback and questions, they are not attacking you, merely considering your idea from their own, unique perspective. Take the time to consider each question or comment carefully, as they could open your eyes to a whole, new opportunity or help avoid a potential pitfall.
Don’t make it all about the almighty dollar
You’ve been saving, budgeting, projecting and likely focusing on methods to procure funding for your new venture, but don’t let finances be the end-all to your time and attention. Keep in mind that networking is about building relationships and these can yield more than just investors. You may meet someone who can introduce you to another important business contact or they know about a marketing company looking for a bartering opportunity.
The bottom line is that you never know who you are going to meet, where that conversation will lead and what they have to offer. Appreciate everyone you meet and value their ideas, comments and opinions, if nothing else, it will give you more practice on talking to others about your new venture.
Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.