This week, we hosted a workshop on pitching your small business. Many business owners have never taken the time to sit down and really think through their business pitch. Whether you’re pitching to introduce yourself, to promote your brand, to gain a new client, to increase awareness about your product or service, or to ask for investment, knowing how to formulate a great pitch is critical.
A pitch is a succinct and persuasive summary of your business or your business idea. It quickly defines your organization and the product/service that you’re selling and, most importantly, describes the problem that your business solves. There are many different types of pitches, and each is formatted a little differently. For example, an elevator pitch should last between 30 and 60 seconds, while a funding pitch might take as much as ten minutes.
There are seven key components of a good pitch:
- Problem – What is the issue that your business is trying to solve?
- Solution – Why is your business the right answer to this problem?
- Competition & Market Opportunity – Who else is in this space, and how do you beat your competition?
- Traction – What progress have you made so far in solving this problem?
- Team & Business Model – Who will be working on this problem, and how is your business set up to be sustainable and effective?
- Financing & Milestones – What kind of funding are you looking for, and how much do you need? How long will it take you to break even and then be profitable?
- Call to Action – What do you want your audience to do when they leave the meeting with you?
There are also several do’s and don’ts for pitching your business:
- Use a hook to get your audience interested
- Use “the grandma/grandkid rule” – would your grandparent or teenage grandchild understand what you are explaining
- Clearly articulate the problem and why it’s worth solving
- Show passion and enthusiasm
- Be confident and in command
- Make eye contact with your audience
- Consider what questions might arise as a result of your pitch and be prepared to answer them
- Practice, practice, practice!
- Use jargon, industry slang, and acronyms
- Speak too fast
- Go into lots of operations or financial detail that will be difficult to follow in the short period of time
- State that you have no competitors
- Make claims about your growth potential that you can’t back up with data/evidence
- Make your presentation devoid of personality
- Read your slides – tell your story!
In order to be able to articulate all of the information for your pitch, it is important to think through all of the relevant information that might be included. The Alexandria SBDC has resources to help business owners identify the key components that inform their pitches. If you are interested in learning more about these tools, please contact us.