Pitching experts Billy Webber, COO, and Jill McKinney, Training & Delivery Manager, from incubator hub Sunderland Software City (SSC), share their top tips for companies or founders trying to create the perfect pitch.
Without realising it, we probably pitch to someone most days in one way or another, whether it’s at a networking event, in a meeting or pitching for investment. For that reason, it’s important that we’re comfortable with what we’re pitching and can explain it so everyone understands.
Timing is everything
Having something prepared that fits within a 30-second timeframe is ideal – that’s long enough for a networking event or an introduction. In these situations you don’t need all the details. Say just enough so that the person or people you’re talking to have a clear understanding of what you’re pitching, but remain open enough to encourage questions if they want to know more.
Most pitching competitions allow around three minutes. This doesn’t sound like a long time, but compared to the 30-second pitch, you’ll have loads of time to get your message across.
Preparation really is the key to success. Plan what you’re going to say and in what order, say it out loud, and practice with a colleague, or better still with someone that doesn’t know your business.
If you’re using a slide deck, first check how many slides you can use. Don’t over complicate them – as this will only distract from what you’re saying – and make the most of the opportunity, ensuring your logo or brand name is clearly visible.
To create the perfect pitch, you’ll need to consider the following things:
Drop the ego! You may be the founder of the business, but are you really the right person to be pitching?
Be clear and concise, don’t use too many words and avoid any jargon.
Identify the problem your company solves (problem-solution-impact).
Show validation through your customers (case studies, examples, recognised brands).
Emphasise your key points – pause and repeat.
Show your strengths and highlight what makes you different.
Make it memorable – you could be the first of 20 pitches, and you want to be remembered for the right reasons.
With a wealth of experience, and as the pitch training provider for Tech Nation’s Rising Stars competition, SSC provides support to companies wanting to nail their next pitch. If you’re a founder in need of help, or require some honest, unbiased feedback and guidance, you can get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
SSC also gives free mentoring sessions to anyone who has completed four or more courses on Tech Nation’s Digital Business Academy – offering even more of an incentive to brush up on your startup skills.
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