Let’s face the facts: Pitch competitions are one of the newest and easiest ways to get your business funded with the right capital. However, there is a catch: You will likely have compete against numerous other businesses who are just as qualified as you are. The importance of standing out among everyone else is the key to winning most pitch competitions.
Most businesses decide that they want to get funding quickly through venture capital, but no one wants to just give away equity in their company. Other options include debt financing by going to a bank to get a line of credit, but banks are trying to avoid risks at all costs. By competing in a pitch competition hosted by either a non-profit, third party, or large corporation, you are able to win quick cash without having to sign any long — term debt contracts or give up anything in your company.
LIFT Development Enterprises, Inc. hosts numerous pitch competitions for small- to medium- sized businesses, and it has become clear that there is a certain recipe for being successful. We’ll walk you through the biggest takeaways and tips we’ve learned from winning pitches and the judges’ feedback.
Every pitch competition is different, so it is important to know the rules and guidelines before you pitch. But there are some universal tips that should work whether you are pitching for 45 seconds, 3 minutes, 5 minutes or 10 minutes. The path for winning is the same. Pitch competitions can vary in sizes, prizes and the amount of judges in the audience. All of these factors play a big part in how you approach your pitch. In this four — part series, we’ll take a look at the secrets behind a successful pitch.
(1) Prepare to Present to Your Audience
The first tip is probably the most important one for all pitch contestants whether you are a beginner or advanced. Be prepared! Preparation for the pitch event will show just how serious you are about winning. There are only a select few people in the world who can just wing a competition like this. There seems like there is a major correlation for winning companies that spent a lot of time on preparation, versus those who prepared little to none.
What does preparation exactly mean? Well first off, know your audience and alter your messaging to fit the crowd. Once you know who your audience is and who the judges are, it becomes so much easier to convey who you are and what your company does. You should be practicing your pitch constantly in front of friends and family to make sure you have it down. However, being prepared does not mean memorizing a script and being robotic. It should feel smooth and natural to talk about your company.
Try This: Video recording your pitch practices and turn off the volume so you just notice your body language and what your tendencies are like. Then just listen to your pitch recording and hear if everything sounds right.
We’re just scratching the surface about pitch competitions. We encourage you to subscribe to this four-part series. These keys will help unlock your full potential as a business owner. We’ll see you soon — in part two.