Pitching

Here’s a quick video that will take you through pitching. It is a presentation I made to a group of entrepreneurs on pitching. Pay particular attention to the market and revenue model slides of both Buffer and Airbnb. Also, the Buffer team slide just rocks!

 

MUST SEE PITCH DECKS AND MUST SEE VIDEO

And here are four must-see pitch decks from some very successful startups:

Click here to see pitches from 500Startups and Ycombinator, two of the best accelerators in the world. https://www.superside.com/blog/35-best-pitch-deck-examples-2017

And, here is one of my favorite pitches. Notice how she uses storytelling doesn’t actually use the “traditional” format but yet still tells the problem/solution/product story. Notice how she does it all in less than 3 minutes (You’ll have 5 minutes)

Pitch video: https://youtu.be/GuMz6_2uejI

Pitch deck: Copper Cow Coffee

 

PITCH LENGTH

I often hear those doing their first pitch that 3 minutes isn’t enough time (even that 5 minutes isn’t enough time). It is! But, it’s hard to use fewer words. Here’s my favorite quote from Mark Twain on writing something short:

He received this telegram from a publisher: NEED 2-PAGE SHORT STORY TWO DAYS.

Twain replied: NO CAN DO 2 PAGES TWO DAYS. CAN DO 30 PAGES 2 DAYS. NEED 30 DAYS TO DO 2 PAGES.

It’s hard work to do something in 3 minutes or 1 or even in 10 seconds but everyone learns how to eventually. Just practice.

 

SLIDES – THEY’RE JUST GUIDELINES, BREAK THE GUIDELINES – SELL

As a reminder here are the traditional slides used in a pitch deck. NOTICE how the Copper Cow pitch doesn’t even show the works Problem/Solution/Product. Tell a story! Don’t feel trapped by the slide titles. They are just guidelines

1) Cover – the hook,
2) The problem,
3) The solution,
4) Your product,
5) The market size,
6) Your traction (ONLY if you have some),
7) Your team,
8) Your competition (and how you compare),
9) Your revenue model (simple financial forecast),
10) The amount being raised or needed (Funding history if any, use of funds),
11) A very short summary and 12) Your contact info (11 and 12 are often combined).

You can certainly add slides if they help make your pitch stronger. Just look at some of the above decks to get ideas.

 

TIPS FOR BUILDING A SLIDE DECK AND SUCCESSFULLY PITCHING

  1. Find a template online. There are plenty of free templates. If your idea is about food, pick a theme that corresponds to your idea. Here’s something I found that might work for you: https://slidesgo.com/. Just do a Google search for “free startup templates” or something similar.
  2. Having less time to prepare a pitch is in some ways to your advantage; you won’t overthink the presentation. Open a text file and quickly start writing what you think you should say. See the above list of 11/12 slides. For example for the Problem slide, quickly write down the problem you are address – do the same for each slide. You’ll see it will go quite quickly.
  3. Quickly do your pitch out loud to see if it is over or under 5 minutes and adjust as needed. You don’t need to use the full 5 minutes if you don’t have to.
  4. Practice, practice, practice making your pitch with all team members participating in the pitch – it shows you can work as a team (better to show than to say that). The more you practice, the more it shows and the better the results.
  5. Make sure all your technology is working. Do a test of actually doing the pitch using Zoom or whatever technologies you may be using. Fix any problems beforehand.
  6. You will be required to upload your pitch in PDF format. Make sure the file size is less than 10MB. Typically, sites that ask you for a pitch limit you on the file size to 10MB. Learn how to compress your files. Check the quality after you compress. If it’s still too big then you will need to take the pictures out, compress them using a program like Paint and then add the compressed pictures back into your PowerPoint. If you are still unclear about this Google “how to reduce the size of my PowerPoint” presentation.
  7. Relax, take your time doing your pitch. Speaking faster is not better, on the contrary. Take your time and make sure the transition from one speaker to the next is smooth and tech-problem free (that’s why you need to practice).
  8. A special note to none native speakers of English. Americans don’t care if you have an accent. But, they do care if you are difficult to understand. So, if you have a thick accent, simply speak slower. The listener will need more time to understand what you’re saying.
  9. And, lastly, have fun with it!
  10. One more thing. Don’t be pitching because everyone else is. Pitch because you really need the money to either accelerate or develop your startup. The best source of money is customers. So, focus on getting customers. If you have customers, you’ll have revenues, and if you have revenues investors will “throw” money at you.

 

COMPETITION SLIDES

It’s amazing how often I’ll see a competition slide with just names on it or worse have someone say they “don’t have any competition”. Even Twitter has competition, maybe not direct but there are lots of ways to shout your thoughts to the world including standing on a soapbox. So, don’t make that amateur mistake, list your competition; but don’t just list them show how you fit into the competitive landscape.

Here are two ideas for you:

French Fries Positioning Matrix

 

Restaurant Positioning Chart

 

Show the audience where you are compared to your competition.

 

I’ll be posting more on pitching so come back here often to see more ideas on pitching.

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