By Sawmawn Soltani of LIFT Development Enterprises, Inc.
Here we are again, discussing the important tactics needed to succeed during your pitch. Let’s get on with part three of our four-part series: 7 Secrets to Winning Your Next Pitch Competition.
4. Share Your Business Success and Traction:
This next tip is pretty simple: Don’t sell your product or service to the audience, but sell your business as a feasible and viable growing company! So many companies that have come through our program have a sales message that they would usually push onto their clients in their market. This is not the time to try to sell your product to the audience, even if they do fall under your target market. The judges and investors are there to quickly determine, if they gave you capital, could you provide a large return on their investment. They might not even care about your product or service at all personally, but they can see that there is a market for it along with revenue streams that will back up the investment. The whole pitch is about showing the health of your company and that there is potential for major growth. Please do not make the same mistake and try to sell your service, or say that you have the best quality product on the market. Everyone says that. Skip the fluff. Instead, show the cold hard numbers.
5. Know What You Are Asking and Looking For:
With our programs, we have noticed that there are a number of people who do not have “an ask.” Tip number five is that you should come up with an ask from the panel of judges or investors, and back that up with why you need that. This can come in the form of asking for money to help grow your business. Some companies ask for way too much or not enough.
Once you state how much you want, you should be able to illustrate to the judges what those funds will be used for and how you will allocate the use of funds into different aspects of your company to grow. The judges will want to know if the money will be going towards marketing, operations, or even making key hires. Another thing to realize is that you do not have to ask for only money. Judges and investors actually get happier when they see someone is asking for mentorship, connections, and advice. It makes you stand out compared to others because judges will start looking at your company through a different lens of how they can help the company, versus the way they have to constantly critique pitches if they are just asking for money. The judges criticize and nitpick the companies that ask for money more than those that don’t ask, because they are looking for all the reasons why they should not invest. However, if your company asks for advice or mentorship, then the judges are much more relaxed and become willing to help push you in the right direction.
We are almost at the finish line! With only one more part left, you are that much closer to understanding how to conduct a successful pitch. Join us next time as we discuss your numbers and how to successfully engage with the audience.