Entrepreneur 17.02.2016
By Niels Vejrup Carlsen

How to nail your pitch as a startup!!

We often participate in different pitching events, where entrepreneurs present their business and receive feedback both in terms of their idea, but also how they present the idea. It is not uncommon that a frustrated entrepreneur goes “why do you focus so much on how I present…and not what I present? The most important must be my business…and not whether or not I am good at explaining it?”   

Ok, so why is this so important?

As an entrepreneur, it is important that you are able to communicate your vision and infuse enthusiasm about your business. If you are running your business from a garage it is very hard to attract top talent from established players like Google and Microsoft and convince them to come work for you for little money, a lot of work and a high risk that everything might go wrong. You have to be able to convince them that embarking on this journey with you will be worth their time and efforts. Make them believe in you.

After convincing them to come work for you, it is important that you are very clear in your messaging so your employees can adapt your company’s DNA and become you and your product’s ambassadors. If you and your employees can sell customers your vision they will be much more forgiving when it comes to shortcomings of your almost finished product. Same goes for investors – make them fall in love with you, your vision and your company’s future. Lastly, it is essential that you are able to tell your story in an appealing manner to get press coverage. Paint a picture of the potential that you and your company have and leave the journalist with an impression that they do not want to miss out on being the first one to write about your amazing business.     

So, yeah it does matter how you tell your story.

Luckily for you there are plenty of good tips and tricks in terms of content, structure and layout, if you are not already a champion in the art of pitching. If you google ’great slide decks’ or ’best investor pitch’ you will get plenty of good hits, references to books and sites like pitchenvy.com, where you will find a collection of good slide decks from startups, who have already gotten funding using the slide deck when convincing investors.    

Remember to also download our guide: How to  get our attention with your pitch deck 

You might be thinking, that you already got your pitch down. And you might just be right. But the truth is that practice makes perfect. Try to explain your business and your vision to someone who knows absolutely nothing about your industry at a dinner or other type of social gathering without them loosing interest! It is harder than it sounds. Be especially attentive in regards to what exactly makes them loose interest and how they perceive the different elements of your story. Listen to what clarifying questions they are asking – they might be the key to a perfect pitch. Be humble – if your conversational partner doesn’t get it, it doesn’t have to be because he or she is thick, it might just be because you are not communicating it in a clear and interesting way. 

Use your energy to make your presentation look outstanding and make sure there are no grammatical errors. It would be a shame if your investors have trouble focusing on what you are saying, because they just can’t get over the fact that you misspelled value proposition. It is energy and money well spent making your presentation look perfect. Remember to use graphics and images that support your overall storyline. Use your network. Your probably know a good art director or talented graphic designer – ask them! A good dinner will get you far.      

Finally, remember to have others check your presentation for grammatical errors and other linguistic errors. In Denmark we are good at English, many of us actually believe that we write and speak English almost perfectly. This is rarely the case. It never hurts to have a native speaker look through your slide deck. It is about keeping people’s attention and make sure that they will fall in love with your project. The fact of the matter is that if the title of your slide is misspelled, people are not listening, to what you are saying.    

There are only 24 hours in a day and as an entrepreneur you have so much you need to get done. It is hard prioritising something so seemingly superficial as a pitch deck. But seriously, get it done and prioritise your presentation. You won’t regret it.

Download our guide:  How to get our attention with your Pitch Deck

Oversat fra dansk. Original bragt på Finans.dk

 

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