Perfecting the business pitch is an entrepreneur’s or business leader’s rite of passage—a measure of expertise and success. This is a hurdle that start-up founders, business owners, CEOs, and other executives must conquer to grow their businesses and ultimately make a difference in their field. If you’re a leader and you’re talking to investors about your business, you need to know what goes into a pitch. Make those precious few minutes count, and leave investors with a long-lasting impression of you and your company’s capabilities.
Bold Business provides examples from experienced entrepreneurs both from the Synapse Summit and through our own interviews including Kasra Moshkani, Southeast US GM Uber Technologies, Nate Lehoux, Co-founder ProveIT Games, Chuck Papageorgiou, Co-founder and CEO International Screening Solutions, Steve Tingiris, Founder Dabble Lab, and Andrew Ackerman, Managing Director Urban Tech, Dreamit.
Understanding the Business Pitch
With very limited time, you must have a concise yet memorable spiel. Consider the elevator pitch as a creative narrative that concludes with a specific call to action in order to get someone’s attention, advice, or investment. The prize of a successful pitch is getting the commitment of your audience.
Four Tips to Perfect the Business Pitch
There are many things to consider when drafting your business pitch. The following tips will help you refine your speech, establish your credibility, and craft an impression that will work for you.
Have a Crystal Clear Message
With only a few minutes, you can’t afford to be verbose. Maximize your time by volunteering vital and relevant information your audience wants to hear. Stick to facts that reinforce your message and give you expertise and credibility.
Start with a catchy introduction. Share information that not a lot of people are familiar with. Make sure your rhetoric is effective. Use a healthy mix of everyday terms to have a relatable voice, and industry jargon to show your competence.
Be mindful of your verbal crutches—words such as “um”, “like”, “uh”, and “you know”. These words spell uncertainty on your part and suggest that you may not be as competent, knowledgeable, and reliable.
Keep in mind that your verbal language isn’t the only thing your audience notices. Your body language, your attention to detail in your clothing, how you engage through eye contact—these are things that indicate the kind of business leader you are. And consequently, this suggests the kind of business you have.
Connect with Investors
Make your audience feel seen and understood by letting them know you understand their business. Do your due diligence in getting a comprehensive picture of those you are talking with, and touch on things that you know will pique their interest. Highlight the solutions, opportunities, and benefits you can provide them, and underscore why they cannot let this pass.
Investors want to hear about growth, market opportunity, execution capability, commercial traction, and how their investment can stand out. These are concerns you can briefly address to let them know that you have thoroughly understood all angles and aspects of the situation.
Practice, Practice, Practice
A business pitch is a performance in itself. And like with any other skill, it needs practice to achieve perfection. For every pitch you’re giving, prepare a script that says everything you need to say and practice pitching to yourself and to others. Learn to get feedback and adjust your pitch based on suggestions. Know which words should be highlighted, master the pace of your spiel, and be confident in how you speak and relate to your audience.
Be mindful of the length of your pitch. If a pitch runs longer than the audience is willing to hear it, you immediately lose their interest. This then comes across as amateur, unprofessional, and disrespectful of their time.
Forego the Visual Crutch
While helpful, your PowerPoint presentations can actually hurt your chances if you rely too much on the slides. If you can’t deliver the business pitch without a deck, you may not be ready to give your pitch. If you are completely knowledgeable about the things that concern you and your audience, you shouldn’t require any visual aids. These could be distracting for you or for your audience, and your deck may not contribute much to your pitch. An excellent business pitch is simple, has sufficient relevant information, and can stand on its own.
Business pitches can go for as short as a minute or as long as an hour. As long as you follow these fundamental tips in your preparation, you can strive to perfect your pitches. When the opportunity comes for you to pitch your ideas, products, or services, be confident that you are expertly communicating and representing your company to investors that will help make a difference.