The Do's and Don'ts of Pitching

Without A Clear Idea Of What A Startup Does, Investors Will Not Invest, Reporters Will Not Report, And Consumers Will Not Consume - The Do' s and Don'ts

Guest post by Raphael Grossman - Solicitor at Lehman Walsh Lawyers

One of the most important things for a new startup to get right is its pitch. A good pitch will help you get your foot in the door. An average pitch is not memorable, and you will likely be left in the dust by your competitors. A poor pitch may spell the end before you have even started as it indicates to investors that things are poorly managed, and even if you have a great product you will leave a sour taste, and a poor impression is difficult to overcome.

Every startup is different, and there is no one size fits all pitch that will work for every business. However, there are some distinctive rules that every startup should keep in mind when considering how to make their pitch.

Do know your audience - one of the most important things to consider is who you are pitching to as this will give you the best chance of achieving specific results. If you are pitching to investors make sure you know the key indicators they are looking for in their investments. If you are pitching to reporters, make sure you give them a story they can run with and write headlines about.

Don' t go too long - often less is more, saying just enough will often get you better results and keep audiences more engaged and curious. You may have sold someone on your idea in the first 5 minutes and talking anymore is akin to overselling your product and losing a customer.

Do tell a story - be engaging and create a story that will pique interest, create mystery and will ultimately keep your startup in the memory of your audience.

Don' t be dry - people tune out when they get bored, try to mix in facts and numbers with interesting details and jokes to keep your audience engaged. A pitch that spends 10 minutes going into excruciating detail about its figures will almost always result in yawns.

Do include an exit strategy - investors need to know where the business is heading and how they can receive a return on their investment. This shows investors that you are savvy and have your eye on the bottom line as much as on the idea.

Don' t come unprepared - be prepared to answer anything and know your product inside out. There is nothing worse than not being able to answer a simple question by an investor as it shows you are not 100% committed to you idea.

Do be clear and concise - one of the most important things is to have a clear vision and direction and be able to explain it in as few words as possible. Not being specific and talking in generalities indicates that you do not truly understand your product. No investor wants to invest in a startup that is still finding itself.