As a startup or a small business, you are pitching your business or project at every turn. Being able to pitch a project is an art that takes time and practice. Everyone on the TECTERRA team agrees that pitching is a skill, and one that should be learned and practiced. A pitch is a clear and concise narrative about your project that ends with a call to action. Throughout the pitch, you should be building a case, supporting your call to action and, hopefully, securing funding.
After our CEO, Jonathan Neufeld, put out a Twitter thread about what he thinks makes a great pitch, we went ahead and captured his thoughts with six points to practice and consider when preparing your next pitch:
1. Be clear on the value your project brings: lead with the big picture, and then plunge into the details.
Within the first two minutes of your pitch, you should clearly communicate the value of what you are creating, the problem you’re addressing, and who is benefiting from your solution. Establish the framework and context of your project in the minds of your audience then provide the details throughout the rest of your pitch.
2. Refine and pinpoint who your customer is and demonstrate with real examples.
Clearly communicate who your primary market is and identify them in a real-world example. Better yet, you can showcase a current customer to position your solution as a fit for the problem you are solving and demonstrate demand. Pinpointing the exact customer profile or persona shows a clear need in the identified market and that your solution is solving a real problem.
3. Be clear, concise, and catch yourself before you ramble.
When you are pitching, less is more. Practice, practice, practice until your pitch flows! Condense your delivery to clearly communicate your idea and market with ease and emphasis. Remember: if it is effortless to say, it is effortless to hear.
4. Don't fly through the financials.
Your parents might have taught you that it is rude to talk about money – but they likely weren’t pitching a project! The financials for your project are critical. How much are you spending? How much are you making? How realistic are those numbers? Details are crucial in this section of your pitch. Your business model should be clear, along with the assumptions and validations being made with your numbers – and be prepared for questions!
5. Capture your market size by showing value, not numbers.
It is essential to communicate that you are entering a large enough market to sustain substantial growth. However, data on market size can be cherry-picked or boosted, and often provides little benefit to your pitch. When you present the market size, it helps to show that you have customers ready to use your solution. Connecting the dots between your current customers and the overall market opportunity demonstrates your initial market entry point and how you plan to grow.
6. Illuminate the power of your team.
Painting a picture during your pitch of how your team can reasonably complete your proposed project is critical. When pitching, illuminate the framework of your team and how the team will work as a system to deliver a finished solution. If there are gaps within your team, answer how you will navigate them, giving you a critical edge during the pitch process. Your audience wants to know that your team has the skills and experience to successfully complete the project you’re pitching. Additionally, if there are gaps, your audience will pick up on them. Being self-aware and proactive in discussing those gaps shows you know where they are, and you have a plan of how you will mediate those gaps.