There are endless recipes in order to make the best out of your pitching experience.
Collecting the experience of some recent pitching events with startups, let’s go back to basics.
We won’t mention strategy for today, we want just to lay low. The devil is in the detail, especially in pitching, and you shouldn’t throw away the chance of making a good deal, or just putting the right foundation of your journey to success as an entrepreneur.
There are a few simple things that really can make the difference. Details, you’ll say. But they can make the difference: you know, exactly the difference between a room where it’s all quiet and everybody is listening and instead one where public complains or simply can’t care less (even worst!).
Slide show: please be clear. Drop on the slide a few concepts to talk all around, but be merciless in eliminating the not useful concepts. A few words and crystal clear (sometimes with a skilful use of facts & figures) this is all you need as to why they should remember, in order to make it stick. In facts, what public read shouldn’t be what they listen to. Slides are most of the times too crowded, simply unreadable.
Infrastructure: where are you planning to pitch? It will be organized for a large public, in a small room, or just a few persons? Try to have under control beforehand parameters like: a) distance to public, b) facilities available in the room (fi. Kind of videowall) c) pitching indoor/outdoor d) presentations file format (ppt, prezi, etc). Pitching environment is important, sometimes decisive.
Always respect time: is always one extra point gained for your pitching. Time keeping means respect for the audience, respect the following pitchers and…for yourself. In facts a god pitcher is a superb listener. So having time left means having time to answer questions and interact with public. People identifies (and recalls later on) much more with contents and concepts connected with Q&A moments. Because Q&A is like a game, where your ability to communicate and winging it can also be tested.
The power of a word, the power of your silence: as well as for point 1, don’t fill in your speech with too many words. The time you should give to the audience to adapt to your way of thinking (especially if you are discussing some difficult/highly specialistic subject and/or about some radical innovation) is directly proportional to the magnitude of your innovation. So don’t forget to use short and clear sentences (especially if you are pitching in a noisy or crowded environment) and use frequent effect pausing (that can be used also to test the effect of your words on the audience).
Talk, looking everybody in their eyes, don’t read.
The next 48 hrs: if you were able to break the ice and establish promising contacts with someone, don’t forget to write an e-mail within 48 hrs, providing further information about you and/or about some of the issues you have been asked about
Let’s try to go back to basics. Business planning is nothing but:
- something you simply need in order to explain your business footprint, and therefore the links between your startup business goals, organizational units, business functions and services and the degree to which it supports and contributes to make your business strategy feasible.
- communication! Picthing is sometimes as hard as design your new product or service.
But the it’s strange that the two things are often considered and approached as separate moments.
Therefore here you get a table that tries to connect the 7 crucial topics you shouldn’t give up t in your Business plan, with pitching critical issues on presenting it, time percentage you should invest on it and the ideal number of slides in your pitching presentation.
|CRUCIAL SUBJECT FOR BP
||HINTS ON PITCHING
||TIME (100% is total time)
||AMOUNT OF SLIDES TO PRESENT IT
|Intro: the story begins, tell headquarters, infrastructure, history, start-up plans, previous experiences that led you to this crucial pont. Keep in my mind, in a story of two, you and the firm.
It’s like in good moovies: you just have got time to identify with the protagonist that something happens. If audience will identify with you, it’s likely the same will happen also with the following part of your plan & pitch
|Always balance “images”, “sounds” and “emotions” when creating the pitch/presentation in order to exploit all the communication channels of your audience and maximize the possibilities to connect with them.
VALUE SCALE (when pitching):
Written words 8%
Body language 55%
SHOWING A PROTOTYPE 200 % !!!
||1. “WHO WE ARE”;
2. “OUR STORY”
|The issue and the solution: what you provide, product and/or service, potential customer benefit, competitive advantages, what makes you think you are unique and standing out from you competitors
||Eye contact: KEEP EYE CONTACT.
We all see mainly what we want to see nut at least try as much as you can, using images and graphic contents, to orientate your audience point of view exactly where you want. If the just keep on reading, it will be like speaking for yourself…and you, the protagonist, you will disappear from their screens.
If something is supposed to remain confidential don’t expect they will sign an NDA on this stage: mention just the essential keeping the rest for a possible further deepening (with NDA coverage)
2. IT’S UNIQUE BECAUSE ….
3. CUSTOMER BENEFITS
4. COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES TOWARDS COMPETITORS
|Market Analysis: You need to know your market, its size, estimate time to reach it, customer needs, where they are, how to reach them, etc
|When pitching, a TAM SAM SOM approach proves real useful:
TAM or Total Available Market is the total market demand for a product or service. TAM ≠your revenues !
SAM or Serviceable Available Market is the target segment of the TAM where you can realistically compete with your products and services. SAM≠ your revenue..you are probably not the only one standing in the target segment
SOM or Serviceable Obtainable Market is the portion of SAM that you can realistically capture SOM= your expected revenue!
|| 1. MARKET ANALYSIS CRITERIA
|Go to market Strategy and Roadmap: Be specific. Include management responsibilities with dates and budget. Business model
Do you possibly have an MVP?
If so, it’s time to introduce it
|You are basically talking about time and different time scales: so it’s now that you are using the most precious and scarce resource your audience (and you) have.
||1. THE ROADMAP TO MARKET
2 A SHORTCUT: THE MVP
|Management Team: Include backgrounds of key members of the team, personnel strategy, and details
||GIVE to you and your partners a face and no an organization chart…. In your pitch the main product is you and your staff. You won’t probably remember an org, chart, but you’ll certainly remember a face.
||1. OUR TEAM
2. OUR MAIN SKILLS AND PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE
|Financial Plan: Include profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet, break-even analysis, assumptions, business ratios, etc. key metrics and minimun 3 yrs forecast be realistic!
|Mention at least key assumptions and financial results highlights. Mention the break-even magic moment. If something is supposed to remain confidential don’t expect they will sign an NDA on this stage: mention just the essential keeping the rest for a possible further deepening (with NDA coverage)
||1. FINANCIAL PLAN HIGLIGHTS
2. KEY ASSUMPTIONS AND KEY METRICS
|Final abstract and conclusions
|MAKE YOU SUPPORT AND/OR FUNDRAISING REQUEST!!!! OTHYERWISE WHY YOU WROTE AND PITCH A BP?
||1. IN MY DREAMS…
END OF PART ONE…