7 tips for a successful business pitch from an entrepreneur: Pitching your business idea to potential investors can be intimidating. That’s why it’s important to be prepared long before you step into that first meeting. These seven tips will help you get a start on crafting that perfect pitch. Once you’ve got that business in motion, give us a call at Safeguard! Our strategists are ready to help you solve your pressing business needs.
The business of pitching to investors can be intimidating. For many in the UK, it conjures up the bright lights and steely glares associated with the BBC’s “Dragon’s Den,” the hit show in which budding entrepreneurs get three minutes to pitch their business ideas to multi-millionaire investors.
But the success of small businesses can often rest on success or failure, and especially in the competitive world of venture-backed startups, getting it right has never been more important.
Kelsey Skinner is an engineer and investor at VC firm Imperial Innovations. Currently, she sits on Shell’s “Springboard” programme, which awards funding for low-carbon innovation UK entrepreneurs — and in that capacity, she has sat through enough pitches to know what separates a great one from an uninspiring one.
Here are some of Skinner’s tips for making a successful startup pitch:
1. Tell the story of your business — and how you’ve improved.
Skinner said that the most successful pitch she has listened to was made by a low-energy lightbulb company who told the story of their business — including the things they’d got wrong.
“What stood out during their presentation was the way they built their company,” she said. “They spent an entire slide on what went wrong with their prototype and the lessons learned — they told us, ‘we made the light bulb too heavily and our customers didn’t like it,’ and said ‘our manufacturing cost is too high’.”
“It showed a growth mind-set and thoughtfulness around what are they were doing right and wrong, and how to make it better. In that way, it didn’t feel like a sales pitch, it felt like an open honest conversation about growing their business,” Skinner said.
2. Give a clear and thorough presentation.
“Overall the main thing we look for is a clear, well-structured pitch,” Skinner said.
“If it’s a formal presentation, that covers all the key areas — what is the key differentiation, what really makes this different from market competitors, why is this a company that has really differentiate itself from others from having this idea?” Skinner said.
If it’s a less formal environment then Skinner looks for someone “with the ability to dive in and out of the different sections depending on the questions” she asks them.
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