I was with a client for a day recently, preparing six Startups to ready their pitches for an upcoming pitch competition.
It was a good day, and I believe I was helpful to all the teams. We had some fun while I helped them be more confident about the upcoming event.
My message to the Startups was that they needed to answer the questions they were tasked with answering (see below), but that it could be achieved while telling an interesting story that would engage their audience and themselves.
– What is the product or service?
– Who will be paying for your product/service?
– How will you make money and scale?
– Tell us about the startup team:
I started my session with them by explaining that it was not my job to tell them whether their business idea was good or bad. But, as I am sure, other mentors have discussed this with them over the last three months.
My job was to help them prepare and deliver a story that would engage an audience, particularly the judging panel and potential investors.
I believe that in a pitch competition, the best presenter always wins, not necessarily the best business idea.
A pitch competition is a snapshot in time.
On the day, Judges hear the pitches for the first time and must make up their minds there and then.
If they met the entrepreneur over a more extended period, they would have the opportunity to understand and evaluate the business potential.
They would be more likely to choose the best business opportunity.
The pitch I help Startups create must do the following:
1. Get attention immediately by telling a story explaining the problem they solve and indicating the market opportunity. [who is their customer]
2. Introduce the speaker plus the team in a brief but positive light. [people invest in people]
3. Describe what your business solution is, e.g.
An App, a platform, a piece of technology, or a product that disrupts/transforms how things are done currently.
Keep this part of the pitch short and easy to understand.
There will be another time to explain in greater detail to the people who have expressed an interest in your idea.
Other business questions need answering, but only after your audience has realised that this problem needs solving and that you are the person/team with what sounds like an exciting business opportunity.
By Executive Coach Andrew Keogh of Aristo.ie