What are the key elements to a successful business pitch? Join us for the Center for Creative Economy’s Swerve meetup on Thursday, April 20 to find out. Three Swerve members will pitch their business and get feedback from industry professionals. Bruce Maxwell, owner of Maxwell Consulting, is just one of many seasoned business coaches who will be onsite judging. Bruce has assisted more than 84 companies formally and hundreds informally. He has pitched to over 650 venture capital firms, and has raised $78 million in equity. The program is taking place at the Center for Design and Innovation, located at 450 Design Avenue, Winston-Salem. The program starts at 11:30 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. Lunch is included. Admission is free for Swerve members and $20 for non-members. Registration is required and may be made online at www.SwerveTriad.com Register here
According to Bruce Maxwell, knowing how to pitch is an essential component that all business professionals must perfect. However, are you one of many who find pitching overwhelming and downright scary? Here are a few tips to ensure you are pitch perfect.
Practice, practice, practice
If you’re like most people, the thought of speaking in front of a group of people can be downright terrifying. Practicing your pitch at least twenty-five times in the mirror or before a small group of people will help. Make sure you don’t sound like a used car salesman. You don’t want to come across as “slick”. It’s important that you come across as someone that is genuine and trustworthy.
Have you ever wondered what you look like when you present before others? Grab a video camera and videotape your practice pitch sessions. What is your body language saying about you? “It is important for you to project your own self confidence when you talk with people. You have to be comfortable in your own skin and get over your public speaking fears. As an entrepreneur, you will live or die by your pitch. Investors and consumers invest in people,” said Maxwell.
Know your audience
“Knowing your audience is critical to your success. One of the classic mistakes people make is that the pitch is about the story and not about the audience you are pitching too? What does this person wants? Be audience centric instead of story centric.
When pitching to investors, be prepared
If you are pitching to investors, think through carefully how you intend to manage risk. “Far too often inexperience entrepreneurs try to maximize the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Investors are trying to minimize risk on the road to cash flow breakeven. Don’t make the mistake of talking about how much money they will earn from investing in your company. Most investors are worried about losing money, rather than making money. Tell them how you’re managing the risks you see. The language of risk is so much more important than the language of “green”, said Maxwell.
Get comfortable with adlibbing. “Investors will likely pressure test you by asking a series of questions that will likely knock you off script.
Make sure your pitch presentation includes the following essential topics:
- A business or service logline
- The market opportunity your business is targeting
- A description of the product or service
- Customer segments and target audience
- The size of the market
- Competitors and the advantages your product or service has over its competitors
- Descriptions of intellectual property and trade secrets
- Company business model
- Financial projections
- Short bios of management team
- Milestones the company has accomplished
- Capital raised
To become a member of Swerve hosted by the Center for Creative Economy, and to learn more about our programs, please visit us at www.SwerveTriad.com.