Pitching your startup is more than just a presentation. In a presentation your goal is to convey information clearly and to be understood. In a pitch, your goal is to sell your startup to your audience.
We have pitched a good amount of startups, and we have helped many entrepreneurs build their pitch. Through all that experience, we have developed three core principles of a good pitch. If you follow these, you can make your pitch stand out and be effective.
But first, some basics.
Pitching is more than a presentation, but good presentation skills are necessary.
- Know what you’re going to say, but don’t study a script. Keep it natural, reading a script, even one that is in your head, will make you sound like a robot.
- Speak slower than you’re used to. Of course you want to keep the energy up, but don’t ramble on too fast. Clear communication is the goal. A great example is Barack Obama, any speech of his is slow and deliberate, but really effective.
- Smile more than you’re used to. Keep your smile natural, of course, but generally being cheerful and enthusiastic will rub off on the rest of your pitch.
- Eyes on the audience, not the slides. You should know what’s on them, so don’t stare at them while you talk.
Focus on solution
The business model is not central to your pitch. The solution is. Business models are dry, boring, and uninspiring. The goal of your pitch is to leave the investor with confidence in your startup. To inspire confidence, your idea must be good. Build your pitch around the problem-solution paradigm. Sketch the problem that you’re trying to solve early, and explain how your startup solves it.
When you are passionate about solving a problem, everything can be linked to it. From your mission statement to your financial projections, it can all be related to the solution. Being inspired to solve the problem will show in your presentation. Your boring due diligence will still be good, but it will now also sound like it has a purpose.
Sell the team
Investors are looking for a good startup, but a startup is more than the solution it sells. A good team without a good solution is nothing, but the inverse is equally true. Team is one of the central puzzle pieces that investors look for. So don’t just sell the solution, sell the team.
Go over your strengths, especially the ones that make you qualified to tackle your problem. Mention relevant experience, if you don’t, the assumption is that you don’t have any.
You do the talking, not the slides
This is as much about the deck as it is about your presentation skills. As we mentioned earlier, you’re not supposed to look at your slides. Equally, your slides should not do the talking for you. Minimal text on the slides is what you should aim for. If there is detail and information missing, you can fill it in as the speaker. If all the information is there you have done something wrong.
Our favorite example is a slide where you introduce the team. You could have a picture, name, age, title, experience, expertise, and a whole lot more on there. Or, you put up a picture, a name, and you tell your audience about yourself in your own words. Not only does this keep the focus on what you’re saying, it lands better. People get a better idea of who you are if they hear you say it, instead of having to read it off the screen. This goes for pretty much every slide. The slides are there to aid the speaker, the speaker is not there to explain the slides.
We’ve all made mistakes when presenting in the past, feel free to share your biggest lesson for a good presentation, perhaps we can learn from each others mistakes. And build these core principles of a good pitch into your pitch. By following these core principles you will know that your pitch is built on a sturdy foundation.
A lot goes into making a pitch successful, you just need to know what to work on to make your startup shine. If you need guidance in getting investment ready, and finding investors, check out the Inner Tribe membership program, where we give you everything you need to get the investment you need. Learn more at https://innertribe.eu/