Pitch competitions can be a nerve-wracking experience. Standing in front of a panel of judges and a room full of people pitching your business all while under time constraints is not for the faint of heart!
I know – I’ve been there. The good news is that with the right preparation and, most importantly, the right mindset, you can overcome those nerves and do so well on your pitch, you get a standing ovation!
Ok… maybe that’s a little unrealistic But you can dominate your next pitch competition with these 5 tips.
Tip #1: Share your story to engage your audience
Every founder has a story, so ensure you use yours to engage your audience. Displaying passion for your business is essential to convincing an investor they should invest in you.
For example, an entrepreneur pitching a Parkour gym could start with a parkour move, such as entering the room doing a backflip, to grab the attention of the audience.
By connecting with the audience using a unique story, activity, or other means, your pitch will be more memorable and impactful for the judges than that of other candidates who are presenting.
Pitches are your opportunity to showcase the uniqueness of your business and its worthiness for investment. Craft a compelling narrative that highlights the best aspects of your business to really hook your audience and hold their attention throughout your pitch.
Tip #2: Keep it simple and focus on what your business does, its achievements, and its need
Keeping your pitch simple and to the point can be challenging, especially when you have a lot to highlight to investors. However, remember that attention spans are short, so keeping the pitch concise is critical. Focus on highlighting what your business does, its achievements, and its needs. Avoid getting lost in intricate details that may consume valuable time and potentially lose investors’ interest.
Instead, prioritize essential aspects such as revenue, growth, go-to-market strategy, ideal outcomes, and investment needs. While presenting your solution, emphasize your market and how your business differentiates itself from competitors.
This creates the context for your request for investment and provides investors with sufficient information to determine if they wish to explore the opportunity further.
Tip #3: Present your story along with the bigger vision that makes sense for your investment ask
When presenting your business as an investment opportunity, it’s essential to have an ask that is in alignment with the problem you’re trying to solve.
For instance, if in your pitch you are on a mission to solve a problem for 50,000 people in your local community, but you are asking for a $10M investment to solve that problem , you are demonstrating that you don’t understand how investing works. How will an investor ever see a return on $10M by solving a problem for 50,000 people?
Similarly, if you believe you have a $1 billion opportunity and you’re only seeking a $1 million investment, there is a disconnect between your understanding of the resources required to address the problem.
It is crucial to ensure that the story you present is consistent throughout your pitch and that your ask is supported by both a relevant market opportunity and relevant traction you’ve achieved so far..
Speaking of traction, in today’s fundraising environment, having a clear description of your traction is critical. With the abundance of data and analytics available, investors expect to see specific numbers that demonstrate your growth potential and the market size.
By presenting a consistent story with a bigger vision and supporting it with relevant statistics and traction, you can increase your chances of successfully pitching your business tenfold.
Tip #4: Use concrete data to show there is demand for your business
To keep investors engaged and interested, it is crucial to present concrete data that demonstrates people want what you are offering..
Think of it like building a house: you wouldn’t want to invest in a structure that’s just a pile of bricks without a solid foundation.
Concrete data such as revenue growth, customer numbers, and testimonials serve as the foundation for your company’s claims and help build investor confidence. These data points show that you know what it takes to build a business and the market you’re addressing is reacting to your offering in a positive way.
Even if you’re very early on with your business, you still need some indications that there is demand for your offering. Survey responses, 3rd party research, search trends and even growth of competitors can be used to illustrate that potential customers are looking for what your business provides.
Tip #5: The goal is to secure a longer discussion, not funding on the spot.
Take a breath and understand that while securing immediate funding may be of interest to you, it is generally not how things work at a pitch competition.
The purpose of the pitch you deliver to investors should be to open the door for a more in-depth conversation regarding future investments. Think of it as a first meeting, where the goal is not to make a commitment on the spot but to create a connection and generate interest.
The pitch should cover enough high-level information to captivate the audience and leave them wanting more. This will increase the likelihood of a follow-up conversation where there’s more time for Q&A, and both parties can get to know each other better.
Focusing on these five tips will help you feel confident about your pitch and increase your chances of success in a competition.
In addition, a secret to impressing investors is to present in a way that encourages them to ask questions, leading you to highlight some of your most compelling supporting data. While concrete data is essential, engaging with your audience and showing your enthusiasm for your business can make all the difference in leaving a lasting impression.