How to pitch
Learn how to pitch your product or service in the time it takes to polish a pair of shoes.
In the time it takes to find the black boot polish and scrub off all the scuffs, we’ll teach you about different types of business pitches you’ll find yourself doing.
We’ll also tell you exactly what you should include in them, so that you and your shiny shoes can make a good impression on potential investors.
We’ll get this article scrubbed up in about five minutes.
Something that tends to surprise business owners is the amount of time they spend trying to sell their product or service.
One of the most time-consuming activities business owners find themselves doing is getting people interested in what they do, whether those people are potential customers or potential investors. That’s why it’s important to have a good grip on pitching.
Pitching is essentially just telling people about your business in an appealing way. For the most part, pitching skills are useful in making sales, as well as convincing people to invest in your business.
Pitches generally come in two forms: an elevator pitch or a formal pitch.
Although they’re unlikely to happen in elevators, the idea behind an elevator pitch is that they’re short and sweet – just like riding in a lift.
Elevator pitches should only last a minute or less and should include the most important facts about your business. You can find our five tips for crafting a stellar elevator pitch here.
The aim of an elevator pitch is to get your potential investor interested in your business – enough so that they agree to a follow up meeting. That’s when things can get more formal.
Other more formal pitches you might have to make generally involve pitching to financial institutions for loans, or angel investors or VC firms for capital investment. This involves a more detailed breakdown of all aspects of your business, from your business plan to your team to what you’ve achieved up until this point.
Depending on who you’re pitching to, the requirements of what to include in your pitch may change. While banks and other financial institutions may require detailed reports or presentations about your business plan, VC firms or angel investors might have different requirements. You can read more about that here.
Things to include in your pitch
Whether you’re keeping it succinct with an elevator pitch, or looking to engross your audience in the details of your business plan, there are five key elements that you should include in your pitch.
1. The problem
What’s the problem your business is trying to solve? How and why is this problem making things difficult for people?
2. Your solution
How does your business solve the problem for people? Is your business’ solution better than what your competitors offer? How? Why?
3. Your team
Who’s working with you? What skills and talents do they bring to the table? While this may not seem important, businesses are more likely to succeed if there are a few co-founders who have a variety of relevant skills between them.
4. Key milestones
What has your business achieved so far? Have you developed a sample product, found some potential customers, or written up a business plan? Showing that you’ve made some progress will impress whoever you’re pitching to.
5. Next steps
What’s next for your business? How can the person you’re pitching to help you reach your next goal? This is often called the ask or the sell – it’s the part of the pitch where you convince your audience to buy what you’re selling or to invest in your business.
Top 3 takeaways
- Pitching is all about getting someone interested in your business.
- The aim of an elevator pitch is to get your audience interested in knowing more about your business, while a formal pitch is usually about getting someone to invest in your business.
- Your pitch should include five key elements: the problem, your solution, your team, key achievements and your next steps.
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