Crafting a Successful Business Pitch
Building a business is never easy, and one of the most difficult hurdles is getting other people to support your idea. Whether you’re looking for potential partners or an investor, a successful business pitch is crucial for any business starting out. However, even the most extroverted professional may shudder at the idea of crafting an engaging presentation. After all, you’re going into every pitch not knowing the outcome, all the while needing to project confidence, and ultimately get the sale. Therefore, preparation is key when it comes to crafting a successful business pitch. Preparing wisely makes you more confident walking in, thus increasing your chances of success.
Attack the pitch from all angles
In order to be truly persuasive, you have to anticipate potential issues that an investor or partner might point out. Business pitches are, to some extent, a time to show how confident you are under pressure, and investors will likely throw a curveball to see how you’ll respond. Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats technique can be a useful exercise in this regard, as it forces you to approach a topic from different angles. Spend a day doing this thought exercise, and you’ll feel much better about your actual presentation.
Always observe proper etiquette
Pitching your business is similar to applying for a job. Even though you’re working for yourself, frame every interaction as if you’re reaching out to a potential employer. Special Counsel states that the same level of formality when sending over a cover letter is how you should proceed with all business-related interactions. Keep emails brief, only mention what’s necessary, and make sure any attached documents are formatted in the correct manner. Remember to end with a call to action, whether it’s arranging a meeting or following up on a response.
Keep it concise
When pitching your business, get straight to the point. A concise pitch shows that you respect your investor’s time. Fair app CEO Scott Painter says that he never goes beyond 8 slides, so think of breaking your pitch down into its core idea, key numbers, notable assets, and strategies. Practice your pitch in front of your colleagues and make sure to time yourself – do this throughout your preparation stage and not just the day before, as you might end up scrambling to cut down tons of info. Remember to always ask for feedback when presenting in front of people. They may catch mistakes that you wouldn’t have noticed.
Organize your pitch with specific milestones. This shows investors that you’ve thought this project through to completion. More importantly, however, set deadlines for yourself when planning a pitch. In a previous Sane Spaces post, writer Cena Block emphasizes consistency when working on your plans. Whether it’s an hour a day or even just 10 minutes building up this habit creates a sense of responsibility. This responsibility then boosts your confidence, as you begin to see yourself as someone who can achieve their goals (or at least do the necessary work in order to achieve these goals).
Make it compelling
At the end of the day, a successful business pitch is a story. The best way to get people on board is to get them invested in a project. Remember why you started your business in the first place, and think about what keeps you going. How would you explain this venture to a friend, for example? Showing genuine excitement about your product allows you to pick out salient points for your business pitch, as you’ll have a better idea as to why someone would need to back your venture.
How will these tips help you create a successful business pitch?
Please share with us in the comments below! If you have other tips you would like to share, please do! We love learning from our readers.
Post written in collaboration with Michelle Salinas.
Michelle Salinas is a public speaking coach who specializes in helping small businesses succeed. Her most important tip to anyone going into public speaking is to remember that no one else can tell your story.